The Intute Twitter 500

The Intute Economics Twitter channel recently acquired it’s 500th follower – this seems like a good opportunity to reflect on this Twitter experiment.

The world seems all a-quiver about Twitter at the moment – whether it is Twitter-bashing viral animations, implications that it could be more important than UK Newspaper websites or acting as an intriguing communication channel for events such as the JISC Conference.

After using Twitter in a personal capacity for a while, I set up the Intute Economics channel back in November and in the new year we launched a few more channels including the Intute Psychology channel.

So how have we been using Twitter? How could you be using Twitter? What are the keys to the success of Twitter? I was recently asked to pull together a few thoughts on this for a meeting at the ILRT – and the slides are available online and below:

Some top Twitter tips that have struck me …

Learn from the crowd

I used Twitter to help me crowdsource my presentation, ask for feedback and to get virtual questions that I answered during the presentation. Although there are problems with Twitter Search it does enable you to filter your results to those Tweets containing links – a real-time search engine.

It’s not another Facebook

You do not have to recreate your existing social networks on Twitter – if you are not getting quality information via Twitter then change the people you are following – the opt-in model of friends / followers means you control the dataset – try Mr. Tweet for automatic suggestions.

Choose your Twittering personality

Active Twittering – or having a real person update and respond to tweets is the best approach, but Passive Twittering or sending your existing content to Twitter – via a service like Twitterfeed can work too and may work for some organisations.

Keep track of your followers

Twitter Analyzer enables you to take a closer look at your followers – ours describe themselves as students, economists, editors, entrepreneurs – clearly the sort of people Intute is aimed at, Twitter is being used by normal people and not just the IT crowd.

How followers of @intuteeconomics describe themselves:

intuteeconomicsfollowers

Monitor what’s being said about you … and respond

Twitter Search offers an easy way to keep track of what people are saying about you or your service – although you may wish go for a tool that searches several sites such as Social Mention or Icerocket – keep track of what is being said about you and respond.

In conclusion …

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how work relevant a simple tool like Twitter can be – I was very sceptical at first – it is still very much a Marmite app – you’ll love it or you’ll hate it – but weren’t we saying that about blogs or even the Internet a few years ago?

Intute features a number of experimental Twitter channels:

… and finally

Who was that 500th follower – none other than Brian Kelly of UK Web Focus fame!