Twitter for project managers (2 of 4)

Part 1 was about Twitter, Part 2 is about the habits and traditions Twitter users have.

Twitter was started by some friends who wanted to tell each other what was happening. As others joined, habits and traditions started.

As part of their friday routine, some users would review the contributions made and those who had joined that week. Follow Friday was created. The #ff hash tag is used to suggest to your followers who they might follow and why e.g. “#ff @fixing_projects blogs on project management” or “welcome more-than-a-gameshow-host @stephenfry to Twitter #followfriday” Recently, automation and misunderstanding has made this less useful as some accounts indiscriminately post follow friday messages for all their new followers as a list of names without comment. However, if you discover someone useful or insightful on twitter tell your followers with a Follow Friday mention.

Like #ff the tradition of acknowledging someone joining or following you is well established. The debated point is how: should your thank you or greeting be a public tweet or is a direct personal message more appropriate? It depends on what the greeting or thank you is for. The best way to decide is to ask the question, do all my followers need to hear this? A direct message will only go to the person concerned, so there must be something worth shouting about to send the message to everyone.

Retweets are simply passing on an interesting tweet to those who follow you. It is as natural as retelling a story you heard but quicker – two clicks of a mouse will send the message. A retweet tells the person who sent that tweet that you found their comment worthwhile and you are paying attention to what they say. It also tells your followers that you think they should see that tweet because it adds value to the information stream. It is worth remembering that not all information published on Twitter can be substantiated. Retweeting a rumour could damage your reputation for giving good information to your followers. Re-tweet with enthusiasm and care.

Responding to news is an implicit part of tweeting. You will get some news announced first on Twitter. Organisations and individuals use Twitter to announce the posting of news on their websites, fresh blog postings (a tweet will announce this blog publication) or comment on things happening to them. World events can be scooped by a Twitter user spotting something happening and posting a tweet. Comment on it if you feel inspired too. Congratulation, encouragement, condolences or remembrances are part of the Twitter stream.

Following people who follow you is a habit advocated by some. Others exercise more choice about who they follow: only those who give them useful information. Is that a way of saying that you are not interested in your followers? No: it is a recognition that your tweets inform your followers but only some of your followers will tweet things you are interested in.

Letting people know what you are doing is what Twitter is about. Some post about their latest blog entry, others about their planned events, what they are witnessing and others what they have for their breakfast. Getting the balance right so that your tweets add value to the stream of tweets while not being bland is something every Twitterer has to work through. How interested are your followers in your blog, product launch, the conference you are at or your breakfast? Their interest level should guide your choice of what to tweet and what you keep to yourself.

About 3triangles
Helping organisations make change happen in 3 key areas: strategic change, deliver tactical impacts, efficient and effective processes. All blog content (c) 2009 - 2012 Carol Long and Three Triangles Performance Ltd

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