Twitter is one of the most widely used social media platforms today #sopopular. And yet, so many people still don’t understand what Twitter is really for or how it works #idontgettwitter. One of the main reasons there is so much confusion surrounding Twitter, is that is has so many different uses, and different people/businesses use their accounts in different ways. Today I’ll examine the different uses for Twitter, and let you know how Queen’s, the SGS and Gradifying use their Twitter accounts and even how I personally use my own Twitter account.
Using your Twitter Newsfeed (#readingtweets)
1) Discovery: Twitter is commonly used for discovering things, whether that be news items, events, interesting facts – just stuff that you wouldn’t have otherwise come across. Twitter is particularly good for this because you are limited on the number of characters that you can have in a tweet, so you get the main point before reading the actual material.
2) Job searching: There is a really popular job service called “tweet my jobs” which gives you real time alerts when employers tweet about jobs you are interested in. You can also follow employment agencies, or job boards on Twitter and look for tweets relevant jobs.
3) Keeping up to date: Celebrity gossip, favourite sports teams, political campaigns… you name it. If you are interested in it… Twitter is the way to go.
4) Getting updates on important (sometimes urgent) matters: Not to say knowing what your favourite celebrity is doing isn’t important. But things like traffic, weather or local emergencies are often heavily tweeted about and you can get really up to date information that might help you stay in the loop.
Using your own Twitter account (#tweeting)
1) Sharing information: if you find something really interesting, a really neat photo or event, tweet it – you never know who else might be interested.
2) Promotion/Recruiting: Have a business? Hosting an event? Get an article published? Let your twitter followers know!
3) Networking: Twitter has a way of bringing people together. The uses of hashtags is one way you can identify people with similar interests. Twitter also has a really awesome “Who to Follow” function, that recommends people to follow. It’s actually really neat!
Here are some examples of different Twitter accounts. Many overlap in their uses, but importantly each still fits into it’s own niche.
@queensu – The Queen’s University Twitter is really helpful for general news related to anything Queen’s U. Often they tweet stories from the Queen’s News Centre, special events that are of interest to students, Faculty or Staff, and often reminders about important dates, deadlines to register, etc.
@queensgradstudy – The Queen’s University School of Graduate Studies Twitter contains more information relevant to the Graduate student community. This Twitter account tweets lots of congratulations messages to different grad students for receiving awards, or achieving other milestones. They also tweet about events hosted by the SGS and lots of other information relevant to graduate students.
@gradifying – Hey! It’s our Twitter account!! We almost exclusively use our Twitter account to promote this blog. Each week we tweet about that week’s post. This is a common use of Twitter, especially for blogs. Many readers don’t like to subscribe to a blog because it clogs your inbox with emails about new posts and it’s a great way to remind your readers that a new post is out, while also creatively using hashtags to reel in a few new readers each week!
@am_tracey – When I first got Twitter, I had no idea what I was doing. I mostly just used it as a discovery tool. I followed celebrities and sports stars and would browse when I was bored, or had a few minutes and would always find something interesting. But recently I took a different direction with my Twitter account, and started following other grad students and researchers who have similar research interests. This was a great networking move, because it resulted in so many new connections. I have run into people I recognize from my Twitter feed at conferences, and have even sparked some interest in research collaborations and guest posts on another blog I write for. Although I never intended to use Twitter in such a serious way, my Twitter is now almost exclusively used as a professional networking tool. If you’re lost on Twitter, I would highly recommend trying this approach!
Do you use Twitter? If you do, how do you use it? Has anyone else tried the networking approach?