Image of a sticker that says Twitter
Photo: Andrew Mager

The point of Twitter is not to read everything that everyone writes, but to take a look at the flow of updates and see what is going on right now. That is why people can follow several thousands of other tweeps (slang for Twitter users). Twitter really shines when it comes to events. As a bystander, it is really easy to see what the important questions are, what topics are discussed and what the general feeling is. Some tweeps are also happy to go into a polemic and taking a public battle in some questions, making it even more easy to follow debates and get arguments from both sides.

Another strength with Twitter is the hashtags. Writing a # follow by a phrase, in our case #openalmedalen, makes the text linkable. By clicking that hashtag, a user can see all other tweets marked with that hashtag.

If you want to report from an event, Twitter is a great tool to do so with. You can write rapid and short updates, and a established way to do so is by writing out quotes that people in an event say.

But talking is only goes so far, you need to engage as well. If you want to spread the word from an event, try to identify tweeps that are active in that subject, and try to mention them in your tweet by writing a @ followed by their username. By doing that, the user will get a notification that you mentioned them, and they will hopefully be more keen to respond, bringing more attention to your subject. Before you start with Twitter, there are some things you need to do:

  • Choose a username. It’s a good idea to use your real name, bringing humanity (and by that, credibility) into your account.
  • Upload an profile picture. The default image on Twitter is an egg. The egg is probably the most devastating factor for your trustworthiness. If you don’t bother to upload an image, why would other people bother to listen to you.
  • Update your bio. Write some information about the account. Where are you or the company located, what are your matters, do you have a web page or blog? Everything that makes your account alive is a good idea to write out.
  • Before following other people, write some tweets. It doesn’t have to be more than five, but they need to be relevant to you and your matters. When you follow someone else, that person will get a notification. Usually, people take a look on the person that followed them to see if he or she is worth following back. If you haven’t wrote anything yet, it will be hard to people to judge if you are interesting, and probably not follow you.
  • Start following people, at least a couple of hundred from start. One good idea is to find a couple of tweeps that you like, and see what people they follow, and follow those. You can also do a search and follow those that writes about the keyword you searched for.

Twitter have great guides to get going, you can start here:

Also: Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn