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Around the Twitter World in 60 Minutes March 16, 2010

Sponsored by

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Around the Twitter World in 60 Minutes

Presenter:Allen Gunn, Executive Director Aspiration

Sponsored by


Today’s Speakers

Allen Gunn (Gunner)


Kami Griffiths


Assisting with chat questions: Kevin Lo & Elliot Harmon, TechSoup and Matt Garcia, Aspiration

All presentation content is Creative Commons licensed :)

who is this webinar for
Who is this webinar for?

This is an overview of essential facts and best practices regarding Twitter

Focus is on organizational accounts

“Stuff we wish we'd known at the start”

Most valuable to folks starting out on Twitter, or those with accounts that want to learn how to better use it.

Less valuable for Twitter “power users”, though we welcome your feedback

what is twitter and how is it used
What is Twitter and how is it used?

Twitter is a messaging platform hosted at

Often referred to as “micro-blogging”

Severely over-hyped, but often useful

Users “Tweet”140-character messages using a browser, cellphone or app.

Other users “Follow” tweeters of interest, and see others' tweets in real time as they are posted

what s the big deal about twitter
What’s the big deal about Twitter?

Twitter is a new way to engage your online networks and keep allies updated on your work

Lighter-weight, more instant than email

Social network features propagate tweets

Mobile support can reach new audiences

3rd parties can extend the platform

Unique, incremental step in online comms

It is not The Revolution.

what s the big deal about twitter1
What’s the big deal about Twitter?

Common follow-on questions

Is Twitter going to be around in a 2 years?


Do we need both Facebook and Twitter?

Likely, it depends on who you target

Will Twitter replace email?

Nope, it complements it

Is Twitter useful for our nonprofit?

Ask again in 55 minutes :^)

customizing your twitter account
Customizing your Twitter account

How can you make it your own?

Supply a URL and short biography

Upload a profile image (your “icon”)

Select a theme and/or background image to better brand your page

Link your account with your mobile phone

Add geographic location to your tweets

Change your privacy settings

essential twitter nouns
Essential Twitter Nouns
  • Username: your Twitter identity
  • Tweet: a single Twitter status update
  • Follower: user who gets your tweets
  • List: collection of Twitter accounts which can be followed as a whole
  • Trend: A commonly tweeted keyword over the past hour, day or week
essential twitter verbs
Essential Twitter verbs

Tweet: post a status update to be seen by all your followers

Follow: add another Twitter user the list of users whose updates you receive

Retweet: post a tweet from someone else for your followers to see

Direct message: send a private tweet to a specific user

how do we get followers
How do we get followers?

Tweet good stuff :^)

Timely announcements

Program updates

Action alerts

Existential musings

Retweet others and hope they reciprocate in kind

Twitter is an “attention economy”

Barter is the norm

add to email signatures
Add to email signatures
  • Add to signatures
how do we get staff to tweet
How do we get staff to Tweet?

Integrate Twitter into organizational workflow. Encourage tweets about:

Event announcements

Press releases

New staff and staff recognition

Programmatic wins

Web updates, blog posts, eNewsletters

News, news, news about allies, allies, allies

how do we get staff to tweet well
How do we get staff to Tweet well?

Have Twitter guidelines

Establish a consistent organizational voice

Snarking about old milk in staff room refrigerator is not a good public tweet

Follow and study others

Note what you like about others' tweets

Trust your gut, use common sense

It's a brave new world, but it's not brain surgery, rocket science or pastry cheffing

how can we scale our twitter use
How can we scale our Twitter use?

Start out using Twitter as a simple announcement service

As followers grow, engage other users as time permits

Respond to direct communications

Thank people for retweeting & mentions

As your following becomes interactive, do intentional engagement

Action alerts, surveys, petitions, questions...

what else should we know
What else should we know?

Frequency of tweeting

It's okay to tweet once a day or several times a week, just keep it real and sincere

Pay attention to your follower count

Visibility of Tweets

Tweets are public by default

Treat them as permanent public record

Direct messages are private

You can “protect” your tweets, but...

who should own the account
Who should own the account?

A nonprofit's Twitter account should be owned by the organization

Contact email should be something like

Forwards to one or more staff members

Don't use a specific staff address

Don't use a non-work email address

Plan for different staff managing the Twitter account over time

what is url shortening
What is “URL Shortening”?

One of the most useful things you can do in Twitter is share or publicize links

But with a limit of 140 characters, URL's can take up the whole tweet, or not even fit

There are many “URL Shortening Services” that produce tweet-friendly URL's

what is url shortening1
What is “URL Shortening”?
  • Example
  • Can be shortened to
    • Tweet: Read our manifesto!
  • Shortening tools
    • – Great analytics
    • – The original
    • ...and dozens of others
what is a hashtag
What is a “hashtag”?

Hashtags are specially marked keywords inside of tweets that indicate the topic of the tweet

Not unlike a subject line in email

Use # to indicate a hashtag,

#nptech, #costarica or #healthcare

Example from

#Haiti Update - 1st long-distance WiFi Internet link up for @SaveTheChildren, second one coming up soon

what are twitter lists and do i care
What are Twitter lists and do I care?

Lists are collections of Twitter accounts which can be followed as a unit

Why do I care?

Good way of grouping what you follow

Establish thought leadership in topical areas

Unique, valuable lists build higher visibility

Being on other users' lists increases organizational visibility

twitter conventions
Twitter conventions

Twitter has many conventions that have been established by users

When you mention a user, precede their name with @

“listening to @aspirationtech give a groovy webinar”

To complain about something that doesn't work properly, use #fail

“#sfmuni 24 bus 45 minutes late #fail”

what about phishing on twitter
What about “Phishing” on Twitter?

Phishing: tricking users into divulging passwords and other personal data

Phishing tweets might try to

Impersonate a friend or organization

Get you to click on malicious links

Visit a Twitter look-alike page and supply user name and password

It's a brave new ever-changing world

Think thrice before you click

how do i know if it s working
How do I know if it's working?

Use “listening tools” to see where your tweets are propagating and how your issues/keywords are trending

Examples of listening tools

tell me about other twitter tools
Tell me about other Twitter tools

Many tools are built on top of Twitter

Client apps to manage messages

Search tools to explore content

Tweet schedulers to queue up tweets

Petitions to build network support

Fundraising tools to accept donations

Analytic tools to track how you're doing

twitter tools
Twitter Tools
  • Client applications
    • Work like email clients, only for Tweets
    • Tweet without a browser or phone
    • Group users and filter incoming tweets
  • Examples
    • HootSuite
    • Tweetdeck
    • Seesmic
    • Brizzly
twitter tools1
Twitter Tools
  • Search tools
    • See who's Tweeting about your org, your issues, or other terms of interest
  • Examples
    • ...and dozens of others
twitter tools2
Twitter Tools
  • Schedulers
    • Let you pre-load Tweets in advance
    • Schedule Tweet times in the future
  • Examples
    • Twuffer
    • FutureTweets
    • Hootsuite
twitter tools3
Twitter Tools
  • Petition tools
    • Propagate petition themes through the Twitter network
    • Impact and value subject to debate
    • But, good awareness raising tool
  • Examples
    • TwitPay – take donations via PayPal
    • GiveATweet – via NetworkForGood
twitter tools4
Twitter Tools
  • Analytics
    • Track how users and topics are trending
    • Track geographic patterns
    • See what specific users say on #topics
  • Examples
    • Tweetmeme
    • Hootsuite
    • TwitterAnalyzer
good nonprofit twitter examples
Good Nonprofit Twitter examples
  • Three nonprofit tweeters we follow are
    • @kabissa
    • @wiserearth
    • @inveneo
  • Other good nonprofit-relevant tweeters include
    • Beth Kanter, @kanter
    • Ash Shepherd, @tacs_npower
    • Britt Bravo, @bbravo
good nonprofit twitter examples1
Good Nonprofit Twitter examples
  • Our criteria
    • Tweet useful materials interesting to the audience
    • Reply and retweet often to build community
    • Good use of lists
  • Also check who they follow and who they retweet
  • Twitter toolboxes on Social Source Commons
  • Idealware – Good social media review


Submit your questions using the chat box.

continue the discussion
Continue the Discussion…

Additional questions can be answered by posting in the Emerging Tech Forum:


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