Using Twitter Professionally

I read this interesting post from Brandon Grasley yesterday.  My original intent was to tuck it away until Friday.  Then, I rethought…it’s a good post and deserves a little better treatment.  It’s his fourth revision of how he uses Twitter in his professional life.  I felt badly; I don’t think I’ve ever thought about my own use that deeply.  Maybe it’s time I did. 

He didn’t phrase the post in terms of a blogging challenge but it certainly could be.  As I started to ponder his points, I realized that we’re not on the same page.  This diversity is what makes the service so rich.  Here are my thoughts about each of the points that he raises.

My tweets are public.

We are totally on the same page here.  I don’t think that I have any regrets to anything that I’ve ever posted.  I welcome interaction and I don’t think I would ever post anything that I wouldn’t say to anyone face to face.

I don’t follow a lot of people.

I’m completely different on this.  I’m a hoarder, I guess.  If someone posts something of interest, I’ll follow them in the hopes that they’ll do it again.  These days, I don’t always do the formal Twitter follow; I’ll add them to a list like Ontario Educators, Ontario Educators 2, Over There, … so that I can make things easier to manage.  I’m bad for not culling the herd though.  I’ve only explicitly unfollowed/blocked one “educator” – the guy works for a professional organization in the US and is a great source on one platform and a total jerk on another.  I want no part of that.  I’d hate to be tarred by association.

I accept anyone as a follower, pretty much.

Ditto.  I’ve only blocked one other person but it was just for a moment.  I blocked @zbpipe because she said that someone had blocked her.  I didn’t even know that I could be done!  Of course, I’ve unblocked her immediately … she provides such good insights.

I don’t follow back as a courtesy.

Ditto.  In order for me to follow someone, they’ve got to interest me.  While on the topic, one of my big grrrr moments happens when I follow someone and get an immediate message back to this effect.  “Thanks for following me…buy my book”.

I don’t accept Direct Messages (DMs) from people I don’t follow.

This is good advice.  I actually don’t use direct messages much at all.  I find discussions get better and more inclusive if they’re open to everyone.

I follow hashtags for a while.

I do follow a few hashtags – #csforstudents, #CSTA, #OnCSEd, #csk8 – it’s an organizer for me.  I’m not a fan of Twitter chats in general. 

I don’t cross post to Facebook anymore.

I do!  Many of the people that I work with have used that as their professional learning platform so posting in both places gives me more bang.

I use Tweetdeck; it rocks.

I don’t!  I use Hootsuite and have standing columns for lists, hashtags, etc.  I like that it’s developed in Canada and it just fits my style like a good pair of shoes.  I try others periodically but always come back to the Owl.

I say things for myself, and I say things for others.

Brandon’s description of this is perfect and absolutely identifies the powerful learning experience that is Twitter and available nowhere else.

I talk a lot, but not too much

This is, of course, very subjective.  I do a lot of sharing very early in the morning.  It’s just me, Flipboard, the morning news on television, and a coffee.  I’ll give myself 20 minutes or so to read and curate things that I know I’ll use someday.  I figure that by doing this early in the morning, people aren’t all that annoyed.  Sorry, my European friends.

Well, that felt good.  Brandon identified some interesting points and it felt good to address them.  It’s amazing how similar and how different the notion of a 140 character message can be.  Thanks, Brandon.

Anyone else up to a self-analysis based on Brandon’s points?

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3 thoughts on “Using Twitter Professionally

  1. Thanks, Doug. I’m glad we don’t “agree”, since it shows that people can effectively use these tools in different ways. Thanks for taking the time to reflect and share!

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  2. I mostly agree with both of you. I’m probably in the middle on follows though. I follow a lot of people in theory but largely I use my lists. I have a bunch of lists and open columns for them depending on how much time I have to spend on Twitter. I used to use TweetDeck when it was a standalone app and may try it again. Mostly I have a number of tabs open in my web browser these days.

    I do like some twitter chats. I am active on #CSK8 for example and I occasionally get involved on #MakerEd Other than that I will follow a hashtag during an event like a good conference.

    I don’t have my tweets go to Facebook automatically. I think I often tweet too much for that. It’s more about how I feel about what I do and how I use Twitter than anything else. I don’t have a problem with others doing so because I like “drinking from the firehose.” I do have blog posts announced on both Twitter and Facebook automatically though. I think that is a good thing.

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