Twitter for project managers (3 of 4)

Parts 1 and 2 were about Twitter and it’s conventions, Part 3 suggests how to find useful information and collaborate on Twitter

Hash tags are seen as a mystery but are really simple ways of finding those people who are interested in them same thing. They start with a hash symbol # followed by a word or a group of words without any spaces between them. This is then included in the 140 character messages. Anyone can create a hashtag, encourage the world to use it and then search to see the results.

TV programme fans tweet their comments about what is happening on screen while it is happening using hash tags. Organisations will also tweet about their involvement in a programme before and while it is on. Live concerts and events will have similar tweets and can have live reviews from those people there.

People at conferences can share information, record useful quotes or insights. #pmosig is the hash tag used at a series of conferences (usually twice a year) by the PMO special interest group. If you search that tag while it is on, you will get a stream of reviews an quotes from keynote speakers.

Product launches have been accompanied by tweeted previews, reviews, experiences and opinions #iPad2 was used from the start of the rumours about a new product by industry insiders, press and fans. Early reviews could be found within minutes of the press embargo being lifted because of tweet announcements that contained URL links. After the launch, fans made comments about the queues to buy the iPad 2 and their first impressions.

Tweets about a company can be really useful in a project to find out what is happening and these will often have hash tags included in the tweet. Some companies actively ask their customers to use their hash tag to talk about experiences of the company, good and bad, so they get real information about their market.

Tweets aimed at a group of people who may or may not follow you use hash tags too: #pmot is used to get the attention of “project managers on Twitter” for announcements, networking or to draw attention to news of interest.

Use Twitter to have a virtual meeting to discuss a topic with interested professionals: #ocpractitioners is the hash tag used for a group of organisational change professionals to discuss an issue in their area of practice. They announce a time slot a few weeks in advance using Twitter, emails, a LinkedIn group and other communication routes. A “host” is nominated to make sure the discussion stays on topic. Those who can’t be there sometimes post tweets early to start the discussion with their thoughts and then add comments after. Those participating set up a search for the hash tag #ocpractitioners to watch for tweets from others. They add their own comments including #ocpractitioners in the text so that it included in the search. 24 hours later, after participants and others have had some time to reflect and add final comments, the host saves the search results to a document which is posted on a web site for those interested to read later. The resulting report from these virtual conferences can be as good as any international symposium of experts but without the time commitment and the travel bill.

Those involved in other events and news can have information identified so news service can report them. The royal wedding in London and the revolutions in North Africa are obvious examples but this also happens for major business news events too. If Warren Buffet comments on the USA economy he will be quoted on Twitter by someone there and reported across the world within minutes.

Tweetups or flash mobs are real life meetings arranged through Twitter. The tweetup is generally a social for local tweeters: picnics, coffee shop or bar gatherings. The flash mob has more purpose and involves active participation, e.g. a protest, dancing in a public place, a product launch event or a litter pick. The date, place, time and any other instructions will be tweeted by the organiser, their followers will retweet it and so on. An organised crowd can be generated very quickly through this.

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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