Twitter Primer For Friends and Family

Recently a lot of my friends, family, and co-workers have asked me about using Twitter. My Customer service instincts kick in and I follow up with, “what are you looking to get from the platform”? The answers are always different, but that’s one of the wonderful things about social media, there is not a single right way to use it. Here are some suggestions that I have come up with, written to answer some specific questions, and the list is definitely not complete and your opinions may vary. If they do, please comment below, I am always open to learning more!

Personal Connections

Twitter, like many other social media platforms is a great place for family to stay connected. Facebook is perhaps the preferred method of communicating with family by many, but with smartphones and the immediacy of alerts Twitter is a great on-the-go platform, Twitter is a great alternative to text messaging. A big advantage over text messaging is that Twitter can be used from the home computer and does not require a phone. I have family spread around the world and Twitter is a great way to chat when calling would open a long conversation when just saying hello is all you really want to do. I have met some great friends online that I have had the great pleasure of meeting offline as a result. It’s OK to butt into conversations and get involved, Twitter is a social media platform, so keep it social! Look for hashtags (#) that interest you. Many television programs and radio shows have created associated hashtags to build communities and it’s fun to live-tweet with others during shows you are watching at the same time but in different places.

Professional Development

This what I use Twitter for the most. I seek out other professionals in fields of interest to me and follow them. I watch what they say, how they say it, and engage with them to share my opinions. Look for hashtags that interest you to find the communities you want to participate in. I personally participate in a weekly Customer service chat with other thought leaders in the field (#custserv on Tuesdays nights at 9ET). When I am able to I also drop in on #leadwithgiants (a leadership community), #tchat, and #cmgr are also great professional groups to watch. #cmgrhangout is a cross platform hashtag that goes with a Google+ hangout for sharing ideas about being a community manager in business. Twitter can be a great source of new information. I am constantly seeing news articles and professional blogs that I read and share that I see on Twitter before reading them. I confess, I do not have enough time to search the internet for new items to read, but when other professionals and people I admire share them, I am very likely to read them too.

Best Practices

Get engaged! No, I’m not talking about virtual dating, but if that’s your thing, that’s cool too! I mean tweet! Tweet to other people in the twitterverse! Build a group of followers you want to tweet with. One thing that all the ‘experts’ agree on is Twitter is about being social and communicating with other people.

Remember: Twitter is a public platform on the internet! What you tweet about becomes a part of the public record for ever and ever! If you are worried about how others perceive you, think before you tweet! Make sure you know your company’s social media policies, you do not want to put your lively hood and source of income in jeopardy just because you are angry or that you had a cute picture of your desk at work.

Worst Practices

I leave this part up to you. I prefer not to tweet pictures of my food, or selfies from anywhere, but if that’s how you want your followers to know you, then have at fun! I don’t drop f-bombs or other cuss words, I try to tweet how I speak. If you keep these simple things in mind when you tweet, then you should be A-OK.

Well, there you have it. There’s no magic bullet or secret wisdom that I can impart. Just be careful how you tweet, but enjoy your time doing it. I do!

-Al

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