5 tips for using Twitter

Twitter is a topic of discussion in quite a few forums beyond Twitter itself.

News organizations attribute to sources who have posted tweets. People of all ages report learning of news events first not from TV or online news but from Twitter.

On Twitter, you can follow politicians (@BarackObama and @MittRomney), athletes (@TimTebow or @Candace_Parker) and sporting events (@USOlympic or @KentuckyDerby), companies (@cocacola or @pepsi), and maybe even your friends, relatives and neighbors.

On a personal level, you may find that you can get a faster response from a family member or friend if you DT (direct tweet) rather than calling, texting, Facebooking or emailing.

You can create your own Twitter handle and have your own following – of people you know and don’t know.

But in conversations with all ages and in all settings (from classrooms to family reunions), people often want to know, “If I had a Twitter account, what would I do with it?”

I asked Lauren Gonzalez (@Lauren_Alexa), a former students who is tech savvy, to offer tips on using Twitter.  Lauren is an intern this summer with Laird+Partners, a creative agency in New York City specializing in strategic marketing. Last summer, Lauren was an online editorial with House Beautiful in NYC and used Twitter as part of her job, including live tweeting from a kitchen expo at Rockefeller Center. During her internship last summer, I asked her to write a guest post about how our class had helped prepare her for her House Beautiful internship. This time, I invited Lauren to write a guest post as a DT (direct tweet).

Here are Lauren Gonzalez’s Twitter Tips:

1. Think of your Twitter as an extension of you, a part of your brand. Sure, it can be a fun way to communicate with friends, but it’s also a representation of yourself. Take Twitter as seriously as you want others to take you.

2. That leads to my next tip: If it’s public, EVERYONE can see it. Be yourself and have fun, but realize you’re tweeting to a global audience. That audience now includes future and present professors, coworkers, employers, employees, family, etc. If you wouldn’t say it, you probably shouldn’t tweet it.

3. Make use of following other accounts. I consider Twitter to be a great source for the latest news. Top newspapers, magazines, websites and their editors are great accounts to follow. Bloggers and people like you have a great point of view. And, you know what, if they don’t? Unfollow them.

4. Vary your tweets. Retweets, replies, RTs, FFs, links, pictures, hashtags. Use them all! Each has a purpose and will make you an all-around better account to follow.

Engage with others, don’t just self-promote your articles or your blog. Keep things fresh and make it worth reading.

5. Use your creativity. You only have 140 characters (and even less if you want someone to respond with a RT). No one will click your link if your tweet is boring, lacks info or is poorly written. Twitter is constantly moving, you have to stand out… How you do that is up to you.

Thanks, Lauren.

You’ll see that she puts her tips into practice in her own use of Twitter. She included retweets from Esquire Magazine, styledotcom, and TechCrunch. She has hashtags to trending topics (#rules) and uses links and photos to go beyond just text.

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