Tweeting their hearts out
Stanley Tang is a first-year student at Stanford University in California. Josh Lam has just begun studying architecture at the University of Hong Kong. Yet it's on Twitter that these two academic high-achievers really stand out.
Stanley, who turns 18 later this month, holds the top spot in Hong Kong on wefollow.com's list of most followed Twitter users. He boasts more than 107,000 followers. Josh, also 18, is second with 97,000.
The tech-savvy pair, who both graduated from King George V School, prefer Twitter over more popular Facebook. Twitter, Stanley says, is better for instant messaging: 'It's a great place to broadcast your thoughts, engage with a lot of people, and make new connections.'
Josh agrees. Twitter, he notes, makes it easier for users to build a following in a more private setting. Celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Ashton Kutcher are avid Twitter users.
Josh adds he particularly likes the 'real-time element' of tweets, which can be done on mobile phones. And as tweets are limited to 140 characters, it doesn't take much time to browse through a lot of them.
The pair can teach newcomers to Twitter a lot about how to earn a loyal following. The trick, Josh explains on his website, joshlam.com, is to try to appeal to a wider audience by tweeting about funny and interesting subjects. You could also tune in to a niche topic that attracts lots of regular users with similar interests.
Stanley's own website, stanleytang.com, has a post under the heading '41 Top Tips to Growing Your Social Media Presence'. The top three are 'Be remarkable,' 'Become a resource to others' and 'Have your own unique personality'.
He himself scores high in all three. Early on in his teens, Stanley was inspired by self-help books - such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter - that urge people to make their own fortune.
He began trying at age 14. By the time he was 15, the young blogger had published two e-books and made US$10,000. A year later he published eMillions, a book of interviews with 14 internet millionaires. It became a bestseller.
His physics professor father and doctor mother, Stanley adds, 'gave me freedom to develop my passion and encouraged me to try out a range of things'. Despite blogging, tweeting and writing, he never neglected his schoolwork. On his blog he explains why budding entrepreneurs should finish college - despite recent hype that many high-flying young Internet entrepreneurs like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are school dropouts.
Josh, who started his own blog when he was 16, seconds that opinion. He recently tweeted a link to a TechCrunch article with the headline: 'Students: You Are Probably Not Mark Zuckerberg, So Stay In School.'
But that doesn't mean the two Twitter stars will quit building their following. Stanley plans to launch a new website soon. Josh is trying to find time for Twitter despite his heavy college course load.
Twitter, Josh said, has turned him from a 'pretty quiet' boy into a 'confident' young entrepreneur.
Now that's surely something worth tweeting.