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What do I get out of Twitter?

April 15, 2010

This post is actually an email I wrote to my boss. We were both supposed to speak today at a meeting, and circumstances prevented me from being there with her. She asked me to simply tell her a few things I would say about twitter to this audience of Jewish professionals.. and here is what I wrote.

What do I get out of twitter?

I use twitter in two different ways from two different accounts.  One is personally and one is professionally as @JewishBoston.

The value I get from both is different as well. My personal account allows me to share news and tips about subjects that interest me, parenting, social media and cooking for example. I have over 600 followers and I follow close to that same amount. It is not overwhelming and I am able to get information that I might not have otherwise found on my own, because my peers are also sharing their thoughts on those same topics.

Professionally is different and tweeting is not for everyone. You really have to devote time to it and be active. If you cant make that commitment, then perhaps starting a twitter account is not part of your social networking strategy. Empty twitter accounts are boring and not worth following.

One of my favorite groups of people to follow are Rabbis. There are many of them active on twitter and they use a hashtag* #WhatRabbisDo when posting things like “Writing a sermon, but I’m stuck. Need ice cream”. Here is the search for the hashtag to see who is using it

One of the most creative uses of twitter was when a group of Rabbis and Jewish educators got together and started a “Tweet the Exodus” campaign. They tweeted the whole story of Passover, leading up to first seder in 140 characters or less as different roles in the story. Currently that same group is doing “Tweet the Omer”

  • A hashtag is something people use if they want to link a subject they are speaking about with others who are talking about the same thing. A great resource for hashtags can be found here

For JewishBoston, I tweet about events and voices that are appearing on JewishBoston.com to drive them to the website, but I am also re-tweeting from my colleagues such as JWA, Mayyim Hayyim, JVS and more. This allows us to promote each others work to our unique set of followers. While some of those followers overlap, they are different enough that we all benefit from retweeting. I also retweet from other news sources and blogs if I think that the subject would be of interest to a JewishBoston.com audience and respond when someone retweets something I have posted (Hey! Thanks for the retweet!). This grows your audience and cultivates the conversation for further retweeting. The reason for this kind of audience cultivation is to expand your reach in the community. People need to know you are out there, so keep the conversation going, the tweets interesting and be generous when it comes to promoting others in the community. Be patient and your follower list will grow. Share and collaborate and it will grow even faster.

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