DigiGirl's Blog

Why I use Twitter

Posted on: August 12, 2009


What is twitter?
Twitter is a simple, immediate way to exchange information in 140 characters or less. You can get the information you want, when you want, and you can share information the same way. It’s viral, fast, and an all around fun experiment.

Knowing it first
When the plane landed in the Hudson river, people on twitter knew it before the rest of the world b/c a guy on the ferry took a picture and tweeted it. When Michael Jackson died, I knew it before anyone else in my office b/c I saw TMZ’s tweet. The other day, I saw a tweet from MSNBC Health about the 75% increase risk of skin cancer from tanning beds if used under age 30. Within 15 minutes, I retweeted it to Phoenix Children’s 1,500 followers, and 4 of my followers retweeted it to another couple thousand people. That night, and the following night, it was on local news. I guess it’s like always having the inside scoop.

My experience
I started using twitter personally in March of this year and then convinced my boss to let me do it for work about 3 weeks later (Thx Debra). My work account has a lot more followers than my personal account, and for good reason. Phoenix Children’s Hospital is a big organization with a lot to talk about, and it’s got a powerful brand. Sadly, I’m not quite as interesting or well known 🙂

That doesn’t deter me. I love twitter. I love to talk about twitter and tell people about things I found on twitter.

What twitter is not
Twitter is not about telling people what you had for lunch, or that you drank tea instead of coffee this morning. Sure, some people actually do that, but I’m not following them.

Twitter is not a way to chat with famous people or companies. Just b/c they use twitter, doesn’t mean they’ll make time to talk to people who talk to them, although a few do.

Who to folllow?
I’m following people who do interest me, or share similar interests. As a web/marketing person, i’m interested in people talking about social media. Socially, I’m interested in my friends. As a mom, I’m interested in people talking about toddlers. As a healthcare professional, I’m interested in breaking news. As Phoenix Children’s social media person, I’m interested in what other hospitals (including our competition) are saying and doing on twitter, and what the rest of the world is saying about us.

By following people with shared interests, I get a constant feed of personalized headlines.

Why do people follow you?
1. Mostly for the same reasons.
2. Because you were recommended (follow fridays)
3. Because they looked at someone’s list of followers and saw you there.

How do you get people to follow you?
1. Have something interesting to share – and it doesn’t have to come from you.
2. Talk to other people on twitter.
3. Follow other people.
4. List yourself in twitter directories.
5. Tell people you’re on twitter.
6. Pay money for one of the twitter tools that promises tons more followers for $20. (pls don’t)

How do I know what other people find valuable?
1. Look at what is retweeted. If people like what you have to say, they will pass it along to their followers, and twitter etiquette says that they have to give you credit. (When you’re logged in, you can see who mentions you.)
2. See what generates conversation. You can reply to people in twitter publicly, or privately. The key is to monitor that conversation, or you could alienate people.

A few examples of RTs of my original tweets
1. Yikes! Risk of skin cancer jumps by 75 percent when people start using tanning beds before age 30
2. Remember the ABC’s of H20 safety: Adult supervision, Barriers (pool fences, doors locked) & Classes (CPR, swimming lessons)
3. Diabetes in children is more common than you think. Learn about it on Phoenix Children’s website:
4. Just got our personalized FB username: http://www.facebook.com/PhoenixChildrensHospital
5. Photo of Senator John McCain with Kate M. – Pediatric Intensive Care Unit patient at Phoenix Children’s.

The best thing about twitter
It’s all about the conversations you have with real people. That’s a whole other subject to be covered next time 🙂

Comments welcome, edits, you bet!

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2 Responses to "Why I use Twitter"

Awesome post! Twitter is one of the best ways to keep up to date and get the word out! I use it every day for personal use and have showed many businesses how to utilize it to the fullest potential. The software company that I work for now has a position for a full time Social Media Marketer which I think is super cool!

Thanks for the comment tshirtfrank! What company do you work for, if I may ask 🙂

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  • Michele: Text me at 602-743-3073
  • phxwebgirl: Thanks for the comment tshirtfrank! What company do you work for, if I may ask :)
  • tshirtfrank: Awesome post! Twitter is one of the best ways to keep up to date and get the word out! I use it every day for personal use and have showed many busine
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