There are no hard and fast rules – you bend social media to suit you – but I’ll take a leap and say 12 hours on Twitter a day requires intervention.
I’ve been accused of tweeting too much, and with more than 45,000 tweets under my belt I can see why people might make a case for that. I’ve had one young man approach me to say he’d unfollowed me on Twitter because I tweeted too much.
[Segue way: everyone’s Twitter experience is different. Your Twitter experience has been set up by you, and can be tweaked and changed if you’re not enjoying it. If you’re only following a handful of Twitter accounts, and one is more active than others, it will stand out like a child having a tantrum in a silent supermarket aisle. If you’re following many prolific accounts, they balance each other out and your stream doesn’t tend to focus on one person].
I’m happy with my level of tweeting and with the many things I use Twitter for, it makes sense.
I use Twitter for:
Business tweeting – promoting myself, sharing knowledge, reminding people of the work I do and what I can offer
Friendships – chatting to ‘real life’ friends, arranging to meet, checking on how they are, having conversations with them
Learning – reading, responding to and retweeting educational links
Conversations – joining in on regular hashtag conversations like #commschat or #SMOchat to talk about social media, PR, communications, marketing and so on
Keeping up with breaking news and sharing newsworthy items
Sharing what I’m doing with other social media tools – sometimes checking in on Foursquare, sharing what I’m watching via Miso, sharing Instagram photos and so on
This means there are ebbs and flows with my tweets – and probably yours, too. For example:
When you’re taking part in a hashtag conversation, you might send off 6, 8, 20 tweets on one topic within half an hour
When you’re chatting to a few friends and trying to settle on a place to meet on the weekend, you might have quite a few back and forth tweets about that somewhat ‘mundane’ topic
When it’s the working day and you’ve got a tonne of tasks to get through or a deadline to meet, you may be quiet (and even unresponsive to tweets) for hours and hours
The best Twitter connections, or friendships, are like the ones in real life. They stick with you, whether you’re in a particularly talkative patch, or whether you’re quiet and need to withdraw for a while.
Good tweeps will understand when you’re at a conference or other event and madly tweeting away on the hashtag. Good tweeps will understand that sometimes it takes 30 hours for you to respond to their tweet (of course, expectations of brands or organisations on Twitter will differ from the pressure placed on individuals). Good tweeps will be blind to your lengthy conversation with one pal.
That’s another thing that networks like Twitter have helped me to develop: speed reading / content filtering / tuning out skills. But don’t forget that social dashboard tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck also enable you to filter out a hashtag or topic for a period of time. So if you don’t want to know about #auspol or #respill any longer, you can block those tweets from appearing in your stream.
The best gauge of whether you’re tweeting “the right amount”?
The answer is whether you’re happy with your current Twitter experience. If it aint broke, don’t fix it.
If “it is broke” then consider joining more conversations, initiating conversations, asking people how they are, joining hashtag streams. Your tweeps will appreciate that – that’s part of why many join Twitter in the first place.
Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? But I won’t be behind a desk, I’ll be up front as a lecturer in public relations at the University of South Australia.
Preparing for the role has had me hitting the books again. I haven’t pondered over PR theory for a long time, but revisiting some of PR’s evolution has had me thinking, again, about the similarities between “good PR” and “good social media” practice.
The two have a lot in common.
Both PR and Social Media are somewhat misunderstood.
Both can be powerful tools within any formal communications program or strategy.
And like PR, social media can be the ‘boundary spanner’.
What is a ‘boundary spanner’? Within PR theory, it pertains to someone that works in the internal and external environments of an organisation, dealing with both internal audiences such as employees or board members, and external audiences such as customers or the general public. A boundary spanner might gather information from outside sources and bring that inside, represent an organisation at public meetings and return with feedback, and so on.
Now, replace a PR officer with an online Community Manager – the person(s) charged with managing a company’s customer online forums or Facebook brand page. It is clear this is another boundary spanning role, where feedback and community sentiment can be absorbed.
So social media and PR professionals can act as conduits between an organisation and ‘the outside world’. And that’s not to say that they’re the only professions to do this – customer service staff, marketing staff, HR staff and so on, will do this too.
What sets PR and social media professionals apart again, is that ideally they will also be the organisation’s “conscience”.
Seitel provided a definition of PR that said the role can be a “corporate conscience”. I like that definition and I think it’s important for professional communicators to consider that within their practice.
The good PR practitioner will ensure that management is aware of community expectations, social responsibility, ethical considerations, and environmental impacts and so on.
Again, Community Managers or Social Media Managers are also in a position to bring knowledge of community expectations and impacts to the management table. They can point to where things may be going wrong for a brand, where a community is feeling let down or what they want from an organisation.
Whether organisations and boardrooms are in a position to accept advice from their PR and social media colleagues is another story …
Twitter has become the place for not only keeping up with celebrity news, but watching and waiting to see what celebrity couples will say post-split. There have been articles published revolving around that first ‘singleton’ tweet. It’s a bit sad, which is why it’s nice to have Warnie and Liz to keep us grinning. I wonder what they’ll be tweeting on Valentine’s Day?
But I’ve watched Charlie Schmidt’s keyboard cat many, many times. It’s a YouTube clip that I share during social media presentations, during a mythbusters segment. I like to confront the social media cliches (which audiences also happen to enjoy – a lot) before demonstrating some other ways that social media is being used.
Haven’t seen the keyboard cat yet? See the clip below.
It’s garnered thousands and thousands of views – YouTube has many versions. There are also parodies, including the one below. (By the way, isn’t that the guy who plays Burger in Sex and the City?)
But all of this is an aside. What I like to remind clients is – don’t forget YouTube as a potential communications tool.
If you’ve made a company video or TV commercial, put it onto YouTube. If you have some knowledge to share, it might be best done visually. Make a ‘how to’ video showcasing your expertise. ‘ How to videos’ thrive on YouTube and in fact channels such as Howcast are dedicated to the genre.
Or you might give regular updates to camera, treating YouTube like your own TV segment. Examples include blogging expert Darren Rowse, aka Problogger. And spend time on YouTube finding and ‘favouriting’ other videos that your customers or target audience may appreciate.
One of my past clients took to social media with a passion and made a fantastic YouTube clip with FlickR images (after gaining permission from the photographers). His ‘Apostrophe Song’ clip became quite popular, with Stephen Fry tweeting about it, and the Huffington Post featuring it on its blog. If you have more viewing time up your sleeve, enjoy the clip below. Can you spot the apostrophe errors?
(Set to the tune of Damn, Wish I Was Your Lover – feel free to play the Sophie B Hawkins clip below as your reading soundtrack).
With Valentine’s Day approaching, I’ve been pondering one of my loves (social media) and I couldn’t help but wonder* what social media sites have in common with our past romances.
Twitter would be the girlfriend who:
Bursts into the room to breathlessly share news like “There’s been a shooting and North Road is shut to traffic!” and “Did you hear that they’re started rioting in Zuzuland?” She shares rumours without checking first. She actively supports worthy causes and makes you feel guilty and lazy. She embarrasses you with the way she laughs out loud in public and she also winks a lot.
Facebook would be the boyfriend who:
Keeps changing the terms of the relationship. He takes copious photos of you to show to his friends. He pops in unexpectedly for a chat while you’re in the middle of something; and also keeps asking you if you’re interested in weight loss or bicycle insurance. (Insert obligatory poke joke here). He is really, really hard to reach by email.
LinkedIn is the boyfriend who:
Sought you out and initiated the romance, yet you probably only see him once every two weeks. He spends all his time at corporate networking functions, swapping business cards, and likes to remind you he has a Bachelor degree, Masters, Diploma, Certificate … He obsesses over the pay level that his former colleagues have achieved.
YouTube is the girlfriend who:
Really, really loves cats. Can show you how to do anything like how to connect your new television system, change a tyre, tie a scarf, use a compass, you name it. Really, really loves giggling drooling babies. Owns tonnes of versions of the same song.
Instagram would be the girlfriend who:
Always looks good no matter what she’s wearing. Looks even better in fuzzy light.
*savvy blog readers will note the Carrie reference there