Monday, November 12, 2007

Guide to Twitter for PR students

During the Connect conference, a bunch of UGA students got hooked on Twitter, so I thought I'd provide a few tips on how PR students can use microblogs like Twitter to the best effect.

1. Don't take "What are you doing?" literally, at least not all the time. Use it for networking by providing links to interesting posts, podcasts, video, news stories, etc. that others might also enjoy.

2. Don't Tweet too many times in a row (thanks, @AdamDenison) -- if you have that much to say, consider doing a blog post instead. Or updating your Web site (thanks, @ashleyb33).

3. Keep it professional. Like any other social media, use it to help build your online reputation.

4. Security measures apply here, too, just like on a blog or Facebook page.

5. Twitter helps create conversation, which means you have to follow (and be followed by) other people for it to work. Set aside some time to find people to follow-- start by adding PR educators like @prprof_mv, @rdfrench and @kmatthews (and, of course, @KarenRussell!), then look through the people they follow to find their students and professionals who are interested in PR education. In addition to the Twitterati mentioned throughout this post, I can recommend @vargasl, @paullyoung, @jspepper, @bryper, @LukeArmour, @prblog, @michaelallison, @ceubanks ... just for starters. Just read their most recent posts and see if they're writing about things you're interested in, and if they are, click Follow. And if someone starts following you, consider following them, too.

6. Twitter is unreliable (thanks, @kamichat). Learn not to be annoyed.

7. Read about why some people don't like Twitter and 17 tips for writing Kickass Twitter Posts, in which B.L. Ochman recommends asking and answering questions on Twitter, advice I followed to help me write this post!

Update (19 December 2007): 8. Use Tweetscan to make sure you've seen any posts replying to or concerning you. Just type in "@yourusername" and it'll search for all references to you.

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Comments:
I'm one of those students who got hooked on Twitter during Connect, and I love it. After the conference I convinced five of my friends to join and now they're hooked too. Well, two of them are, the other three "don't get it" (common problem) and only tweet to appease the three of us who do.

Also thank you, Dr. Russell, for the link about safety. I feel like I'm pretty conscientious about my online life, but I hadn't been to careful about Twitter. My tweets are now protected!
 
Yeah, that post actually inspired me to write mine. There's a lot to think about beyond just "what you're doing now." Glad you're taking it seriously.
 
Karen,
I love twitter. Unfortunately My students are reluctant to use it, but I´ll share with them your post to see what happens... I'll let you know if they start using it in a different way, as you suggest.

On the other hand, I´d like to share some experiences with you regarding PR teaching , so if you like we could get in touch by e mail. I am starting a study and maybe we could do it together with our universities.
Regards
Fernanda Grimaldi

fgrimaldi@ucaecemdp.edu.ar
 
Fernanda, I'll be in touch. Let me know what your students think.
 
Great. I'll keep you updated
 
Dr. Russell~
Thanks for the heads up on the safety issue. Sometimes I get so caught up in feeling like part of a trusting community I forget about the precautions I need to keep in mind.
Appreciate you looking out for me! :)
 
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