Friday, May 3, 2013

Twitter Etiquette

IMPORTANT NOTE: I am no longer doing the social media for our church and so read this article with caution, keeping that in mind. It was written when I was temporarily handling Irvine Pres social media, late spring, early summer of 2013. Interaction can become time-consuming and not all people using social media are into it. Thanks

Ann, @dbarkleys6 wanted to know about Twitter etiquette and posting photos. I've distilled from a number of resources and my own experience the following short list:

1) Articulate for yourself why you are on Twitter. I call this Tweet Vision. You don't have to share your vision fully but some parts of it will play out through your profile and your tweets (if you decide to share them and not just be a follower/listener-reader). Do you want to get informed, entertained, keep abreast of breaking news, or just want to give Twitter a try because you've heard so much about it? Do you want to tweet (share information) or listen (just follow and read others' tweets)? How often? About what?

Here's my Tweet Vision (sort of): Connecting and learning from interesting people, globally; people whose interests are wide-ranging, similar to mine, from people in the PC(USA) to writers and book readers. Sharing about my life in Jesus Christ. Being inspired by others' stories. Watching God's work around the world. Gardening, digital photography, and social media are other hobbies. I am not on Twitter to sell myself, my books or anything else. I would like more people to read my blog and books, however; articulating this guideline releases me from the pressure of marketing myself unnaturally and in ways that aren't really comfortable for me, personally. Most importantly, it keeps tweeting a fun activity.

2) Develop a Twitter strategy about the content and frequency of your posts. "Tweet only of things about which you have 100% confidence and that you will never regret. Retweet (RT) generously but not to the point of becoming a nuisance. Retweet is an affirmation. When you retweet, do add something about the content you're retweeting." I don't remember where exactly I got this from but its pretty good advice. For me, tweeting is playtime, downtime, chill time. I tweet when I feel like it. Some use auto schedulers for tweets; I don't. Do not use auto schedulers to say thanks, retweet, or send direct (private) messages. I personally don't think that's a good idea at all. There's a lot of tweeting going on and I want to keep the information I share as authentic, interactive, and real-time, as possible. I try to thank all those who retweet me and also welcome new followers with a shout-out or retweet.

3) Since the symbols are what confuses many initially, here's a cheat sheet: @name (e.g. @irvinepres when you're addressing your tweets to one person/organization) - @ is thus for twitter handles (names); # this is the famous hashtag, use it when you want to be able to search in the Twitter search box and find your own tweet or others' tweets on this topic. E.g #irvinepres or #Irvine #books; d @name will send a direct (private) message, not one that goes out to the world and your followers.

4) Some basic links:

How-to Tweet: Twitter 101 from 

Posting Photos on Twitter from 

Twitter Etiquette: Retweeting the Right Way from  which also incidentally introduces hashtags, one of the best things ever invented for search and discovery :)!

What Will Get You Unfollowed by

Related Resources: 

Pr. Austell's Twitter blog posts written for his church and General Assembly, PC(USA) -

Pr. Austell's Online Ministry Tech Review - includes Facebook, Google+, Posterous, YouTube and more

Connecting With Irvine Pres. Using Twitter  was written just recently on this blog, and it has instructions for participating in the current #worshipchatipc about the 5-week What is Worship? class led by Jesus Movement musician leader John Fischer, April 21st - My 19, 2013.