Twitter is an amazing networking tool, but for many people, it’s hard to “get” Twitter at the start. My experience is people (including me) struggle with the benefits of Twitter and the value in using the tool for 3-6 months, sometimes more. Many just give up before reaching the “a-ha” moment. Last night I had a great time introducing Twitter to 8 eager students in my first ever public class. The goal of the course is to reduce the time to get value from Twitter, and to get productive right away by bootstrapping people with tools and know-how.
Overall, I’m satisfied with the experiment. We covered everything I had hoped to in the allotted two hours. People had lots of great questions. By the end, everyone was active on Twitter and had learned the basics of posting links, replies, re-tweets and direct messages. We used PeopleBrowsr so everything they did in class would be available to them at home or work.
A few lessons learned:
- Double-check that you’ve packed the power chord (battery expired with few min left).
- Class of 8 worked well for assisting people. Beyond 12 or so, have an assistant.
- Use high contrast colours on slides when you can’t turn off all the lights.
The slides from the course are at the bottom of the post. I’ve posted references to items mentioned during the course:
Twitter examples mentioned:
- @cnnbrk – CNN breaking news, over 1 million followers.
- @DellHomeOffers – deals on Dell products for the home
- @conceptshare – Uses Twitter to post product news, and get feedback for ConceptShare product. Based in Sudbury, ON
- #flood09 – Hash tag to gather news on Red River Valley flooding. Star Tribune newspaper has a page on their site dedicated to #flood09.
- News of Hudson River plane crash posted on Twitter by guy traveling to crash site by barge, well in advance of any coverage by media.
- @Pistachio‘s charitable campaign to raise money to build clean water wells, by inviting her 10k+ followers to donate $2 each through Twitter.
- @Freshbooks is very active in engaging, supporting and nurturing it’s community through Twitter.
- Post content to Twitter automatically using Twitterfeed.
Tools for building your Twitter community:
- Twittgroups has all kinds of groups by topic or location. I set up a Sault Ste. Marie group a few months ago. Find new people to follow and add your own Twitter profile to the page so others can follow you.
- Use Twitter advanced search to do specific searches by location, keyword, person, time line. I find people in the Sault area on a regular basis
- Mr. Tweet looks at who you follow, what you tweet about to come up with a relevant list of new people to follow.
- We Follow is a user-generated Twitter directory. Find people to follow by topic. Add yourself to the directory under three topics using hashtags. You can find me under Agile, Sault, coach.
- Twubble is a simpler version of Mr. Tweet that looks at who your followers are following and recommends people.
Tools for improving your Twitter profile:
Gerry recommends PeopleBrowsr Twitter app for managing your tweets. To get the most out of PeopleBrowsr, click on the Tutorial link at the bottom of the screen after you log in.
Come meet other Saultbies on Twitter at the next Sault Tweetup event, May 19 @ Cafe Natura.