Entrepreneur sends TwellWishes to Twitter users

Yahya Henry (left) meets with public relations representative Anthony Sweat at New Moon Cafe. "Being able to adapt and being a part of social media shows that you're relevant," Henry said.



Yahya Henry's idea for a new Twitter application came to him on his 30th birthday.

"I noticed I was getting a lot of 'happy birthdays' because they saw my tweets," Henry said.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter users are not prompted in their profiles to enter their birthday. So Twitter users would learn or be reminded of someone's birthday only if the user mentioned it in a tweet.

"It's kind of a little knowledge gap," Henry said.

He saw an opportunity to fill a niche. He created TwellWishes, which launched in January.

Social media is all about community and engagement, Henry said. Sending virtual gifts or wishing someone a happy birthday is a way to do that.

Henry is very social media literate, with accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Blip.fm and Foursquare, among others. However, he has been on social media sites for only about a year.

"I was really one of the many who didn't understand it, didn't see the value in it," he said.

Now, he consults for social media. He moved to Augusta in July from Norfolk, Va. He also has a real estate consulting business and a Web site focused on sustainable development.

TwellWishes co-developer Tiffani Bell lives in the Washington, D.C., area, but technology allows Henry to keep in touch with her and other business associates outside Augusta.

Henry says the growth of social media locally is important.

"Being able to adapt and being a part of social media shows that you're relevant," he said.

Social media adds visibility to businesses and people, and many could take advantage of the direct way to interact, he said.

"If you're invisible, you're irrelevant," he said. "Social media kind of allows the walls to be broken down."