publication date: Jan 23, 2012
author/source: Lisa MacDonald
. I have a Facebook
profile (and visit it every three to four months whether I need to or not) and
I have accepted that social media is not
a fad. My grumbling argument about the
superficial nature of Twitter
its 140-character messaging no longer seems to be an excuse, so I'm ready to
jump in and sign up for my own Twitter
But first I looked for sound advice. Here's what I learned
from Leah Eustace's Hands-on Social Media Workshop
at AFP Greater Toronto Chapter
's Congress 2011
It's simple to get
Hashtag isn't a bad
Go to twitter.com
Start with a personal account.
Build your brand (personal or organization) by
choosing a username that includes your real name. Remember you want people to
be able to find you!
Decide whether you use a real person or a logo
as your avatar. It's important to have a
personality. When you sign up, your default icon is
an egg. I'm told that most newbies don't
change it for a while, but you can immediately add a photo of yourself when
opening an account - you don't need to wait.
Find people to follow: celebrities, politicians,
your next door neighbour, whatever or whoever interests you most.
Unlike other social media, Twitter has developed its own shorthand
language for manoeuvring through the
posts. "Hashtags" allow users to assign a keyword to their tweet (a message
sent via Twitter) so that others can track the conversation. To "re-tweet" is
to report something (giving credit to the original tweeter) that is already in
the twitter stream. First learn the
lingo, and then learn by doing. Before
you know it, you will be ready to start interacting with others. Here Eustace has a few key dos and don'ts:
DO start slowly, by re-tweeting interesting
tweets or commenting on someone else's comment or link.
DO send out information about you or your
organization, but -
DON'T use Twitter just to "push" information or
you'll lose followers.
DON'T shamelessly promote yourself. Again,
you'll lose followers.
DO include some of your personality by thanking
people, commenting and interacting.
- DO follow your
followers so they can direct-message you (send you a private tweet).
As you get more sophisticated in your Twitter use, there are
other sites like Hootsuite
to help you manage all your
social media accounts in one place. The functionality of these sites allows you
to schedule updates ahead of time and/or write one message and cross-post it to
Now all you
to do is get started.
Author's note: Since writing this article, I have activated
my twitter account, @lisalmacdonald.
You know what? I'm hooked. So
far, I'm following 40+ people and have acquired 11 followers of my own. Send me
a tweet and let me know what you think.
Lisa MacDonald is assistant
editor of Hilborn's flagship
newsletters, Canadian Fundraising &
Philanthropy and Hilborn eNEWS.
A degree in journalism and communications from Carleton University and more than 12 years of experience as a
nonprofit communications professional inform her passion for and understanding
of issues in this sector. Lisa welcomes your ideas and comments about this
article.Send Lisa an email.