To Tweet or not to Tweet
27 February 2009
“I don’t get Twitter,” is what some people tell me when I mention that I have been twittering. On its face, Twitter allows you to answer the question “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less. You follow people and people follow your Tweets (aka messages). Each tweep (aka user) will have the “@” character in front of their username. (eg. @montythree.)
Twitter is much than just status updates. I have found that Twitter is a great way to connect with people who share the same interest. I use it to get real time information about my world which is technology public relations. It is a community where people public relations, technology, human resources and media folks hang out. It was also another way for me to understand another medium that is used in public relations to promote their message.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to be on Twitter:
- Real time news – Get real time and breaking news updates.
- Chat or follow journalists - Pitch to journalists via Twitter. Some journalists only accept pitches through Twitter. If you can not condense your pitch to 140 characters or less, then they are not interested . Follow journalists on Twitter. They will tweet if they need help on ideas, sources etc.
- Online portfolio – Brand yourself and use your tweets as an online portfolio.
- Job postings and resources – Resources for the job hunter such as JobAngels that tweets jobs openings and people looking for jobs.
- Tweetups (aka meet up) allow for you to network in person with other tweeps. (This goes without saying that you should always be cautious about who you meet up as there are crazies out there.)
- Connect with recruiters – Network with recruiters before you need a job. Here is a list of recruiters who are on Twitter who will post about their job openings.
- Free access to candidates – Find candidates on Twitter such as this list of web designers who use Twitter.
- See other recruiter’s followers – The one downside to Twitter is that it is open and you can not hide who you are following or who is following you. The upside to Twitter is that it is open and you can not hide who you are following or who is following you.
- Build a community – Meet candidates as well as other human resources professionals.
- Recruiting trends – Learn about interesting new tools and trends through Twitter.
How to get started on Twitter
- Determine your goal - Do you plan on using Twitter solely for professional or personal reasons? Perhaps both?
- Follow a few Tweets – Start small and follow a couple of people who might be interesting to get your bearings. You can use Twitter Search to find people. Here is Forbes’ list of most influential tweeple. There are different thoughts on whether you should follow everyone who follows you. I personally belong to the school of thought that you should follow people with similar interests. Other tweeps use Twitter as a twool where having a large following makes sense for their goals.
- Fill out your bio – Other tweeps will follow you if you share similar interests. Go to account/settings.
- Add a link – Provide a link to your blog or your LinkedIn profile. Go to account/settings.
- What to say - There is no right or wrong way to use Twitter. As David Pogue said in his New York Times article, ”Use Twitter the way you want to. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong.” Personally, I do not really want to follow someone who talks about what they are having for lunch or what TV shows they are watching 100% of the time. Don’t get me wrong. I think that your tweets should inject a bit your personal style. Check out other people’s first tweets.
- Use tools – Twitter can become pretty overwhelming really quickly. There are many tools out there to help make Twitter more manageable. Brian Solis provides a list of interesting Twitter tools.
- Hashtags – Are tags that you add to your Tweets that allows tweeps to track what is happening now.
- #PRinterns – jobs for interns
- #PRpros – jobs for public relations professionals
- #entryPR – jobs for entry level public relations
- #PRadvice – advice for public relations professionals
- #career – advice about careers
- Know the lingo – There are certain terms used in twitterverse that you might want to understand so make sure to have a twictionary handy.