Helpful Tweeting

A lot of people within the social media world describe Twitter as a way to have a conversation and engage people. And while I agree with that, I think that’s a bit vague — what does it mean to “engage” people on Twitter? How do you have a “conversation” on Twitter?

I’d like to piggyback on Christy’s post from Tuesday, which talks about finding and exchanging information via Twitter. That’s one good way to use the site, and I do it too. I did, however, want to draw attention to another example of a great way to use Twitter that happened to me last week.

One AAUW follower on Twitter had a question about Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), author of the controversial Stupak Amendment to the House version of the health care bill. Stupak was going to be in her town the next day for a meeting that she was attending, and she wanted to know what questions she should ask him. Rather than contacting AAUW through more “traditional” means — i.e., by phone or e-mail — she @ replied (or, publicly messaged via Twitter) both me (@kbster), and AAUW (@AAUW).

Here’s the conversation:

megankillian: @kbster @AAUW Stupak will be at my town’s meeting tomorrow. any special questions i should ask him? :-/ 9:32am, Jan 06 from Web

kbster: @megankillian Thx 4reaching out 2us! @AAUW’s pub policy dept. is wrking on some Q’s. can U pls DM me your email so we can send U more info? 10:38am, Jan 06 from HootSuite

Then she “direct messaged” (“DM”—a private message sent through Twitter) her e-mail address to me, and a member of AAUW’s Public Policy Department e-mailed her the information and questions for Stupak that she needed. Later on, she publicly thanked us on Twitter:

megankillian: @kbster thanks to you and A.Z. for the help !! 12:04pm, Jan 06 from Web

This example just goes to show how Twitter can be a useful tool for outreach, and, as Christy pointed out yesterday, for information exchange. As AAUW’s social media coordinator, I don’t mind being reached out to because I’m accustomed to working in traditional communications, where reporters and other interested parties call for information about AAUW all the time. For me, this is a similar question — just asked in a whole new way.

Having helpful content and a good rapport with followers on Twitter has other benefits as well. AAUW has been nominated for a Shorty Award online in the nonprofit category. Shorty Awards honor “the best producers of short, real-time content,” and I’m thrilled AAUW has been nominated. But we need more votes!

If you’d like to vote, please visit AAUW’s nomination page and briefly fill out the box at the top describing why you believe AAUW’s Twitter stream deserves this award—it can be anything! You can look at the votes farther down the page for inspiration if you need to. Once you’ve customized the voting text, you just click “Tweet your vote!” and sign in to your own Twitter account to submit your vote simply by tweeting. It’s that easy.

With all this new Twitter stuff in mind, let’s get tweeting!

This post contributed by Katherine (Katie) Broendel, AAUW's Acting Social Media Coordinator.  It has been cross-posted from AAUW Dialog.

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