Thank you to Steve Buttry for putting it plainly today: Lurking on Twitter isn’t enough.
I’ve heard from far too many journalists who sign up for Twitter, then don’t Tweet. Worse, they don’t follow anyone. So now they have an account that’s dormant. These same folks have probably set up a Facebook account, but they’ve added a few friends and don’t post.
In a webinar hosted Tuesday by Newspapers Canada, Buttry pointed out that by building followers and being conversational, you’re going to have stronger engagement.
And when it comes to crowd sourcing or looking for information in the public domain, you’re going to be more effective if you’ve built up a good social media presence.
This means engaging with your community on a multiple platforms – not just Twitter.
Some good Twitter tips from Buttry:
- Follow lots of local folks, and see who they’re following. These are people you should be following too. The more people you follow, the more will follow you back.
- You can’t direct message someone until they are following you.
- Pay attention to who is ReTweeting you, and don’t be afraid to reTweet them back.
- Join in on local conversations. This past week, people have been talking in Ottawa about a cursing bus driver who threw an austistic man off his bus. By paying attention to who is saying what, and who stays on top of things.
Buttry also had tips for vetting sources we find on Twitter:
- In a nutshell, kick it old school – talk to people to make sure they were at an event they say they were at.
- Evaulate a Tweeps network of followers, their history – are they credible?
- Check out their bio, any links they’ve sent out.
- Also: Google their name and ‘scam’ or ‘spammer’, see if anything pops up.
His bottom line – do something with social media, don’t just watch the conversation. Be a part of it.
I see Twitter and other social media platforms like the high school prom. You have no choice – everyone in your class is going, you might as well too. And once you’ve bought the ticket and the dress, you might as well dance.
Memories aren’t made and stories aren’t told by those who sit on the sidelines.
(Image from New Media Research Studio FA2 at NYU)