7 Twitter Habits You Should Develop Now


For a while there, we were all talking about Twitter in the past tense. “Twitter used to be my go-to source for news and trends.” “Twitter used to be a place for meaningful conversations.” “In the early days, I made some great connections on Twitter.”

Twitter was so 2009 because Instagram was so 2015 and Snapchat is so very now. Maybe it was millennials who were making these platforms more on-trend than Twitter. Maybe we communications pros, so desperate to stay relevant, felt the need to follow the tweens. If the 12 year olds are on Snapchat, we will be too! Or maybe, 140 characters just exhausted us.

But guess what? Twitter is back (even though it technically never went away). A certain president-elect has resurrected it. Want to know what’s happening on the transition team? Looking for his unfiltered (and often unsubstantiated) opinions? Check Twitter.

This direct-to-the-people, unvarnished access was a hallmark of the presidential campaign and looks to be a hallmark of the new administration. We could talk about the implications this will have on the media, our industry, and our country, but this is not the time or place. For now, let’s focus on what this means for all of us: we’re staying on Twitter. So with that in mind, here are Twitter habits you should develop immediately.

  1. Check the trends daily. This is a great way to stay up to date on what people are talking about. Every day, either look on the left side of your Twitter screen to see what’s trending or click on the search icon on the top of the mobile app. If there’s been a major event, like a significant storm, a mass shooting, a picture of a dress that has the country baffled, a big corporate merger, an exciting professional ball game or play, an article in the mainstream media that everyone is sharing, it will start trending — often before it even shows in a Google search. Make it a habit to go through all of the trends. If you don’t recognize a name or a topic, dig in. That ‘s the kind of knowledge you need to stay relevant and make sure that the messages you’re sharing with the world fit in to the broader conversation.
  2. Check Moments. Twitter moments show you not just what the top stories were for the day, but also how people reacted to them. This is the kind of relevant information that makes you witty and interesting at networking events. Don’t go to that industry association mixer without reading through the Moments first.
  3. Tweet. Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised…If you are going to know a tool or a communication strategy, you need to use it. Theory and “knowledge of” are for college and cocktail parties. If the president of your company is tweeting, heck if the President-elect of the country is tweeting, then you are too. The way our industry is evolving, we all need to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
  4. Follow real people. Sure, you should follow the media outlets that matter to you like @NYTimes and @ESPN. Better yet, follow the people at those outlets whose work and words you admire. Follow the brands you like and the people who work there. It’s the people who add the commentary and the insights that make Twitter meaningful.
  5. Engage. Now that you’re following real people, talk to them. Engage every now and again. Part of Twitter’s value proposition is that it enables conversations with people you wouldn’t necessarily talk to in real life. Take advantage of that. And remember, nobody likes a bulletin-boarder. If all you do is post your own stuff and retweet a few things from other people, you’re not really adding much value.
  6. Use hasthags. Hashtags are a really useful way to find information on Twitter and to follow a thread. Use them in your own tweets to insert yourself in the larger conversation.
  7. Relax. Tweeting isn’t hard and it shouldn’t feel onerous. Yes, you should be there. And yes, for some of us it really is work. But it doesn’t need to feel like it.

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