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Sunday, 3 November 2013

Make a little birdhouse in your soul - Thing 7: Twitter

I'm trying desperately not to fall too far behind with the 23 Things schedule though it's been a busy few weeks, and often the last thing I want to do after a day in front of a computer is spend the evening in front of one!

Thing 7 of 23 Things asks you to look at Twitter. I have a few friends who use Twitter, both in a personal and professional capacity. Amusingly, a friend who frequently uses it can be quite bad at keeping in touch via conventional methods (email, text etc). In the past, text messages have gone unanswered for days with only an "Are you still alive?" text eliciting a response. I do occasionally look at people's Twitter feeds (usually those of 'celebrities' or people I find amusing/interesting) but until now, had only used Twitter via a work account.

I mentioned previously that my work claimed a space on various networks/platforms after comments from prospective students that we were a "Google fail", a search for information returning little or nothing about us, or else generating results for the multinational company that shares our name. Our Twitter account started in August 2011 and since then has tweeted quite prolifically and amassed over 1,000 followers. It may be, though I haven't checked in any great detail, the most active of the college accounts. That's thanks in no small part to the persistence of one of my colleagues who spearheaded it's use and had until recently, been the main user of the account whilst we awaited a Communications Officer. It was she who tweeted and retweeted the serious stuff, my input was largely confined to disseminating messages to the student body and posting messages about what was for lunch (in my defence though such tweets had their fans!).

Our account draws attention to our events and seminars, the output of our research centres, and retweets pertinent notices from other accounts in the University community. A number of our Fellows are also prolific tweeters sharing details of their research activity, programmes they direct, papers they've written etc. 

I don't think you can be an occasional Twitterer can you? I think you could also Tweet too much? A balance surely needs to be struck between tweeting too little and too often. Tweet too little and people will surely unfollow, tweet too much and people are put off. I created a personal Twitter account as part of this exercise and, as advised by the schedule, found other users to follow. I added @guardian (the account for The Guardian newspaper) but found their output overwhelming so I quickly unfollowed (I've added them to my Feedly account though, more on that to come). 

I remember a conversation I had with my mum regarding a mandate that her organisation's communications office had issued to members who use Twitter, advising them to limit their use of it to once or twice per week - how we laughed! If you are tweeting in an official capacity for an organisation/employer then you need to do so in a tone consistent with said organisation/employer, of course, many people may identify their place of work but with the caveat that "all views are my own". There have been times that I've thought of a tweet for the work account and then discounted it, if you think it's a bad idea then it probably is but it's surprising how many people don't have that filter.

I'm following a couple of friends, a couple of feeds for magazines I read, cultural/art organisations that I like and some people in the public eye who I admire and find interesting or funny. I don't know if I'll continue to use Twitter personally once 23 Things is over but I'm going to see how things unfold over the coming weeks. If you have any suggestions on who to follow on Twitter, let me here them.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, the balance between the personal and professional on a Twitter is a hard one to strike. Auden wrote about "Private faces in public places..." but it's easy to go too far.
    I also think we might be part of the same college. Is there a Twitter list of the fellows who tweet, or even a college blog roll?