In Thing 6, we set up Twitter accounts. Now it's time to talk about what to do with them.
|Image via Iconfinder.com|
Activity: Three tasks do to right away
When most people join Twitter, they don’t know whether they’ll stick with it or not. For this reason, they often start following a few people before they’ve really set up their profile, and this can actually end up being detrimental to their twitter experience.
The reason is, when you start following someone, in most cases they get an email saying ‘X is now following you’ – this email includes your bio, your pic, and a link to your profile. If you don’t have a bio, your only tweet is something along the lines of ‘Don’t really understand this twitter lark!’, and your picture is the default twitter egg, chances are they won’t follow you back. And seeing as you’ve gone out of your way to identify key people to follow first of all, this is potentially a huge missed opportunity to engage with people who you’d get a lot out of chatting to.
So to avoid this, and generally get off on the RIGHT foot on Twitter, here are 3 very simple things to do right away, as soon as you join, and before you do anything else - it should only take you 5 minutes:
- Put in a picture, preferably a head-shot. If you’re really camera shy then put in a picture of a robot or whatever, but put in SOMETHING – lots of people refuse to follow anyone with the twitter egg, right off the bat. Twitter is a personal medium – even if you’re only using it for professional networking, you really need a picture of yourself up there.
- Put in a proper, engaging bio. Remember, people get emailed when you follow them. Oh, who is this new follower and shall I follow them back? I don’t know who they are because they’ve not put in a bio – so I won’t bother. Twitter is about connecting with people – use the bio to say something about yourself, which will make the kinds of people who you want to connect with, want to connect with you. Try and avoid ‘reluctant twitterer’ or similar as the last sentence.
- Write a couple of tweets. I know it seems silly to broadcast tweets to no one, but you need to give people something to go on when they’re deciding whether to follow you back. Everyone’s first tweet is roughly ‘Am trying twitter out – hello world!’ or something along those lines, and that’s fine, no one expects your first tweet to be a work of 140 character genius. But follow that up with something more meaningful, perhaps about what you want to get out of Twitter, the types of professionals you want to tweet with, or maybe a link to a really useful article or piece of information.
Some tips for new Tweeters
Once you're there, the absolutely key thing to remember is that Twitter is all about conversation. Getting the most out of it means developing a network of people you want to converse with. Run searches on the things you're interested in to find out who is saying stuff worth listening to. If you see someone talking a lot of sense, start following them!
You never know who may end up reading it. Or who may end up not seeking you out to give you an opportunity later. Generally speaking, unless you are going to tweet anonymously, discretion is the better part of valour when it comes to criticism of all kinds – by all means give an opinion, but always run this test before you tweet something harsh about an individual: would I say this to their face?
Finally, you may come across terms to do with Twitter with which you're unfamiliar - the glossary included as part of the Twitter for Researchers guide produced by the Library, may be useful:
If you want to, write a blog post about whether you think Twitter will be useful to you, what you want to get out of it and, if you use it already, what works and what doesn't.