Friday, June 10, 2011

From Tweety to tweeting

My favorite cartoon character of all time is Tweety Bird. He’s just so….adorable. As a child and again when my children were little, I followed him in all his successful attempts to outsmart his archenemy Sylvester the Cat. (Their names suggest that, whatever our age, we're too dense to be able to determine what kind of creatures they are.)

There’s been a whiplash change in society and media since I was captivated by “I taught I taw a puddy tat”—OK, it can’t be considered “whiplash” if it happened over a 40-year period. But it seems like only yesterday.

Today, I’m a sort of tweeter myself. I still don’t fully understand tweeting. I just do it. And I do it professionally. By that I mean that my boss has asked me to create the tweets for our department. My company now has a presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. I’m thrilled that he asked the oldest person in the department to handle this generally Gen Y task. But I admit that the person who set me up and showed me how to do it is in her early 20s, and patient.

I found out that tweeting is fun! Well, it’s fun for me because I like to put words together. And the challenge of Twitter is that each tweet can have only 140 characters—spaces and punctuation included. Fortunately, there’s a built-in application that shortens web links so those don’t take up the whole 140.

Another challenge is to choose the right words—in my case the ones that are more likely to interest someone in registering for a course or conference.

What I don’t quite understand about tweeting is, Where do those tweets go? Who sees them? Are these people actively looking for the tweets? I could go on, but I’m slowly seeing some answers to these questions. Our tweets show up on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages…I think. But if someone were not looking at those pages, how do they find the tweets? How do we reach the audience we’re looking to attract?

I don’t spend much time on finding answers. I just tweet. Here are three examples:

Be among the first to know about new courses, conferences,
schedule updates. Subscribe to Education eNews:

Solving your customers' #steam system issues won't be as challenging
after this 2-day course in June:

Set your sights on being the best gas distribution engineer you can be.
Come to class and get well-trained:

The hatch mark (#) is placed before a word that you might want search engines to pick up on. When I use them, I'm never sure I'm putting it in front of the word someone will actually use for a search.

Now that I know how to do this, you'd think I'd start working on tweeting personally. But I can't think of a single reason to do so. Who would read them? How would they find them? What would anyone want to know that I could say in 140 characters? More questions with no immediate answers. But if I wait a while, they may come to me. Of course, suggestions are most welcome.