Thousands of Imad Naffa's digital devotees are mourning the Sept. 6 loss of the industry social-networking pioneer whose Twitter posts seemed omnipresent. Naffa, a civil engineer, building-code software developer and entrepreneur, had a fatal heart attack in Fresno, Calif., at age 49, according to a post by Loretta Naffa, his wife and the office manager of his firm, Naffa International.
Dubbed the “Twitter King” by BusinessNewsDaily.com, an online publication for startups, Naffa claimed more than 56,000 followers. He was second among construction tweeters, says Wefollow.com, a website that ranks registered Twitter users based on the number of followers and “influence.” Matt Handal, business development manager for Trauner Consulting Services Inc., a Philadelphia scheduling and claims firm, says Naffa sent more than 119,000 tweets in the past three years.
The Jordanian-born Naffa was president and senior engineer of Naffa International, a Fresno building-code and plan-review consulting company he founded in 2001. Naffa's Building Code Discussion Group (BCDG), a free online forum, has nearly 1,000 daily users, according to the firm. “[The site] is an invaluable source of information and has greatly improved the understanding of building codes and laws for countless professionals,” says Paul N. Miller, founding principal of The Vernal Group, a Visalia, Calif.-based architecture firm. “Imad also moderated the site and provided many answers to questions posted. I can only hope it will continue to be an excellent source of information without his incredible guidance. The loss of the BCDG would be huge.”
Miller also cites Naffa's software development expertise, first gained as a vice president at CMA, a Fresno consultant. “His Code Buddy software provided code-related information in an easy-to-access manner,” says Miller. “It was very intuitive and easy to use.” Naffa also had been deputy city engineer for Sanger, Calif.
Naffa said his social-media emphasis generated bottom-line results, noting hikes in firm revenue “due to traffic and exposure from Twitter in the last 24 months,” he said in an interview on Google+, Google's social-network site. He pointed to business links that “you couldn't have [found] otherwise in a lifetime.”