Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2016 scientific society talks in London blog post

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Things you're doing wrong on Twitter (well not you, obviously)

You can tell me all the things I'm doing wrong on Twitter in the comments :)

Summary
1. Not using . before an @ when you want your tweet to be seen by more people
Don't put the @name first if you want your tweet to be seen by more people. You can either rewrite your tweet to put the @name somewhere else or cheat by sticking a . at the start.

2. Forgetting that threaded conversations means other people can view your contributions 
If you reply to a tweet with lots of names in and delete some of them, your tweet is still part of the thread and can be seen by anyone who clicks on any of the threaded tweets.

If you want to break this one, send a fresh tweet and don't click reply.

3. Missing conversations that don't mention you / your brand but link to your website (businesses)

Search for your company's http://www.website.com and you should find all sorts of conversations going on where people are linking to your site, talking about your product (though they might not refer to you directly). Also it doesn't matter if they've used URL shorteners, Twitter will still pick the links up. You can use Topsy.com as an adjunct search.


More detailed version...
1. Not using . before an @ when you want your tweet to be seen by more people
This might be a consequence of the way we think about the @mention - it's used both as an address but also as someone's name.

There are lots of tweets like this:

@JoeBloggs is going to skydive for our charity, support him here [link]

In the above tweet the person sending it is saying that "Joe Bloggs" is going to do something, but what they've done is addressed the message to JoeBloggs. This tweet will appear in JoeBlogg's timeline (and the timeline of anyone following both you and him).

If you want to tell your followers that someone is going to do something, and let them know who that someone is then the first character in your tweet must be something other than the @ symbol. By convention a dot . is used but it can be any character.

.@JoeBloggs is going to skydive for our charity, support him here [link]

or

Want to support @JoeBloggs who is skydiving for our charity? Here's his fundraising page [link]

In the second example there are obviously more characters than . but because they come before the @ symbol all of your followers can read the tweet. You can either reformat the tweet so that the @name comes somewhere else in the sentence or just add any character before the @ at the start of the tweet, a dot is the least intrusive.

2. Forgetting that threaded conversations means other people can view your contributions 
Because pressing 'reply' usually brings up all the people mentioned in the previous tweet while giving you the option to delete some of them you may believe that doing so means you're only sending your message to one or two people. You're not. The act of pressing reply means that your tweet is included in the threaded conversation and will show up whenever anyone clicks on any of the other messages to see the threaded discussion.

The only way to escape from a threaded conversation is to create a new one instead of clicking reply. Obviously your tweets are every bit as public but they are not brought to the surface as much if they're not part of a thread.

I'm sure most people know that everything they write on Twitter is public (except direct messages) and can be seen by other people if they visit your profile which shows all the tweets you've sent. However replying to a threaded conversation gives an extra visibility to your tweet.

Also, sticking a . in front does not break the thread (I think it used to, but not these days).

3. Missing conversations that don't mention you / your brand but link to your website (really for businesses)
Hopefully everyone's worked this out but if you're keeping an eye on relevant keywords and your at-mentions you might be missing other conversations. People might post a link to a page buried within your website, or your homepage and you can find them all by searching for the basic unit of your web address which is basically the bit before any single forward slashes /

A search for http://www.website.com will bring up http://www.website.com/page1 and http://www.website.com/folder1/page2 etc and even if the URL is shortened by Twitter (t.co) or by anyone else (bit.ly, tinyurl.com, is.gd etc) the search will still pick it up.

Of course this means it's a bit harder if you want to tweet a link covertly ;) Though not impossible.

Also worth searching Topsy.com for more detailed searches.




No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).