A Semester with Sonnhalter

Interning in Public Relations

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

The Short and Easy Blog, Micro-blogging

Posted by sonnhalter on March 13, 2009

twitter-logoRecently, the Web has been flooded with the uproar of Twitter. It seems to be the new hot item in social media and has been featured all over the news. I have been on Twitter for about a year and I am addicted! I have not ventured into other micro-blogging sites other than Twitter but the concept of micro-blogging really fascinates me. Here is everything I know about micro-blogging and Twitter!

What is micro-blogging?

Micro-blogging is a form of blogging that allows users to send short updates from about 140 – 200 characters (depending on what site you use) to other users. Micro-blogging is more topical than blogs and less strict on what you talk about always. It can be more portable because the texts are shorter and can be managed through a variety of devices (like cell phones). Also, some micro-blogging incorporates video or audio clips into the messages.

I think micro-blogging has really caught on because it is quick. You only can write 140 characters easily and quickly and you can also read 140 characters quickly. You can see what people are talking about, what the hot topics are, and what is going on in people’s lives in a matter of seconds. In today’s busy world this is an ingenious idea. Micro-blogging can also be more casual. You might micro-blog with someone you wouldn’t e-mail, IM or text normally allowing users to expand their networks and learn information they may not have had the opportunity to otherwise.

Now my expertise is in Twitter so let me explain what I know about the site. twitter1

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a micro-blogging site which allows users to answer the question ‘What are you doing?’ for followers (those who have signed up to receive the updates) in 140 characters or less. These updates are known as ‘tweets.’ Updates are displayed on the user’s and followers profile pages. You can personalize the site by uploading a picture of yourself, adding a short line of information about yourself, and personalizing your homepage format.

What can you do with Twitter?

Now from a personal view twitter is just a short way to keep in touch with friends and to share ideas but it can be so much more. Twitter is used by almost every major person and organization out there from President Obama to Dell Computers.

Businesses have really begun to understand how Twitter can help make an impression and help grow their customers and business. I really like this case history for how to use Twitter. It is for bbgeeks a small company that owns a Blackberry related Web site. When a business’s name is known like Dell it is easy to get followers on Twitter but when you have to build your name on the network it becomes a challenge. Bbgeeks was very successful in doing this and they lay out how they did it step by step.

Tips on being successful on Twitter:

  1. Update on a regular basis
  2. Tweets should be helpful and useful to your followers
  3. Reply to people, engage in conversation with other people
    1. Retweet when you can (posting someone else’s tweet)

Ex: @reply RT: The message!

  1. To be followed, you must follow (at least at the beginning)
  2. Make it about what you are personally interested in
  3. Have fun with it!

Tips for a business account on Twitter:

  1. Be Professional
  2. Monitor keywords (tweetscan or tweetbeep)
  3. Reply in a timely fashion
  4. Remember it is about engaging the customers not shooting out self promoting information
  5. Design the page for the company

Some other micro-blogging sites:

  1. Pownce
  2. Tumblr
  3. Jaiku
  4. MySay
  5. Moodmill
  6. Hictu
  7. Frazr
  8. IRateMyDay
  9. Emotionr

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Social Networks Offer Great Opportunites Beyond Making Friends

Posted by sonnhalter on December 18, 2008

socialnetworks1Most people, especially people my age, think of social networks like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, as places to just make friend connections. While this is definitely true, these networks can be utilized in so many other ways also.

Connections beyond your friends

One of the really valuable elements of social networks is the ability to connect with people in your profession without ever having to leave your house. There are professional groups, pages, causes, etc. for every topic imaginable and now a days you can find most people with an account, including professors and professionals.

When I was working on the “Do It Now” campaign for a class a few semesters ago, I went on Facebook and became ‘friends’ with other people working on the same campaign in different states. I became connected with people across the nation who had participated in the same project and could help me with it. I was also able to join many groups that supported our cause and get opinions on the topic from a broader audience. These ties were vital to our work; two of our main tactics were developed from the connections made through the social network.

Meet the professionalstotalpercentages

Most professionals have caught onto the social networking wave and have made accounts for themselves. I am ‘friends’ with both my professors and co-workers on Facebook and Twitter advisors, professors and some people.

First, by doing this you really get to know a person. My professors who update their page or status often are seen in a completely different light now. Making connections with my professors on Facebook has made me feel more connected with them. Because I can read their interests and opinions online I haven’t been as intimidated by them in the classroom.

When I started at my internships becoming friends with my co-workers online helped me connect better with them in person. You can find things in common even though you don’t have the time to get into extensive conversations during work hours. I felt like it really helped me feel more part of the team.

It can help you learn an organization

Social networks can help you learn about an organization too. A lot of organizations have taken advantage of Web 2.0 and have Facebook pages or MySpace accounts, where people can find information about the organization.

Before I applied for my internship with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, I went online and checked out its Facebook page. Komen is a great example of an organization taking advantage of social networking. They utilize about every tool available to them and as I discovered when I started working there, have someone monitor Web 2.0 and update their various elements.

On Facebook alone, they have a pink ribbon application, causes within the cause application, several pages, Facebook accounts and several groups. All the elements are updated and each has received an enormous response from users.

I was able to learn a lot about the organization before I even accepted the internship and was ‘friends’ with several employees before I ever met them in person.

So next time you browsing your social network of choice, keep in mind how you can use it to your advantage professionally.

I do want to make a note that I am specifically talking about just social networks that are typically used for friend connections not professional networks like LinkedIn.

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