Tweeting Is Not Just For The Birds… By Natasha Langner
Natasha Langner is an undergraduate social work and psychology major at the University of Montevallo. In this post, she discusses what she learned from using Twitter during an internship at the Washington Center in 2013.
During the summer, I had the pleasure of studying in DC through The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars interning with Becky’s Fund, which is a non-profit organization working towards assisting victims of domestic violence as well as bringing awareness to the issue in the community through various programs and through the social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
My first assignment with the organization was to find five interesting articles dealing with domestic violence. I had to read, analyze, summarize the content, and then use the summarized content to come up with an engaging sentence that will attract the readers to click on the Twitter link. This is actually harder to do than it seems, especially since I never used Twitter in a professional setting before that assignment.
One of the most important things I had to keep in mind as I used Twitter was the fact that whatever piece of news I decided to share with the online community, I had to make sure that it was thought-provoking and that the audience learned something. Because of the vast amount of information that Twitter generates, I had to make sure that my Tweets stood out, which requires creativity and an analysis of the articles that I shared.
My strategy for using Twitter is asking many, many different questions. Whenever I read a news article, I ask myself why the information is important to me, and why should the public care about this information. If you cannot come up with an answer to both of those questions then you should probably find something else to Tweet. Next, I create a question that is directed towards my audience, whether asking for their opinion on the issue at hand (because everyone loves to give their opinions), or asking the viewers to think about how this issue affects them personally and what they can do about it.
The greatest advantage of utilizing Twitter as a student is the networking aspect. When I was in DC, we were constantly reminded to network with other interns as well as professionals in the city. When we engaged in networking events, Twitter was the most popular form of communication and connection among the people after the initial meeting. Twitter allows students to connect with other professionals and it exposes us to an abundant amount of resources from all over the world. When I met people in high positions they did not say, “Here’s my e-mail if you need anything”, but they did say, “Follow me on Twitter, or Let’s connect on Twitter”.
For future professionals, Twitter allows us to build our “work samples” in the areas that we are passionate about. Employees will look at your online profile before they will look at your resume or before they decide to hire you. Twitter allows them to see your involvement in the issues that are important to the organization or the company that you are hoping to work for one day. Having a strong Twitter account, meaning you use your Twitter for discussions of important issues, will enhance your image as a future professional because it tells others that you are keeping yourself informed in the current events as well as advocating on behalf of the issues by taking the time to inform the public.
My recommendations for using Twitter include:
– Find an organization or an issue that you are passionate about and follow them.
– Learn to summarize vital information in two good sentences and then learn how to use that information to engage the public. This practice will be valuable in other areas of your life.
– Be consistent with your account. Try to Tweet something important on a frequent basis. Do not make your followers wait a year until you make another Tweet.
– Be engaging and creative with your audience. If they do not see how an issue applies to them, they will probably ignore your Tweet.
-Finally, use Twitter as if someone’s life depended on it. If domestic violence is your issue, then make sure that each Tweet counts because you might literally save someone’s life with the information that you post.