Monday, May 13, 2013

Some free Twitter advice

I am not be a social media guru, but I do have some advice for information professionals (and others) who are starting to use twitter.  I know that there is no right or wrong way to use twitter, but I think that some uses are more courteous than others.
  1. Say "Thanks" in tweets.  I tend to follow people more if I see that they are thanking others for help or advice.
  2. Look at your @ replies.  Someone is trying to talk with you or say something to you.  Respond to them, or favorite their tweet to let them know that you saw it.
  3. Retweet the good things that others say.  Don't just send out your own messages.  
  4. Use MT for a Modified Tweet instead of an RT in some cases.  In order to get information to fit into 140 characters, and if you want to RT what someone else has said (or make a short response), you might have to modify it a little bit to get the URL to work, or to have space to put in a hashtag.
  5. Use standard hashtags so that others can follow along a topic or discussion.  (And, spell the #hahstag correctly, otherwise, people won't find it.)  For example, I follow the #openaccess hashtag.  While I could follow or tweet about this with the #OA hashtag, I figure OA probably has lots of other meanings--#openaccess is unique, and lots of other people use that.  If you are arranging an event (conference session or whatever), make sure that you have a twitter hashtag announced beforehand.
  6. Don't feel that you have to send out the same information numerous times.  Some people who think they are social media gurus say they send out the same information multiple times a day, so that people in different parts of the world will see.  If you are sharing such wonderful information, people will keep track of what you say, no matter when you say it.
  7. Schedule a tweet or blog post only when needed.  I really don't care to time my tweets or blog posts to get posted during the right time of the day or week, but there are some times when it is good to do so.  For example, for the library twitter account, I will schedule a tweet about an event to go out an hour or so before the event to remind some people.  If a library service is going to be under maintenance, I will schedule a tweet to let people know that service X is down about 15 minutes before hand.
  8. Use a URL shortener like or
  9. Use a dashboard like hootsuite to keep track of replies, conversations, hashtags, what messages you sent, etc.
Of course, there are times when rules are made to be broken, but this is what I try to do.