How to help new users stay engaged on Twitter

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I have just read this useful article on the Mashable website. I thought I would add some extra thoughts as to how to keep people engaged on Twitter.

Firstly, I often refer to Joe Bower’s excellent blog post where he states:

See where it says WHAT’S HAPPENING?

Well, that’s not what it should say. Because frankly, I don’t care what you are doing.You could be picking your nose right now, and I don’t care, nor will I ever care. So don’t tell me.

What it should say is:

WHAT DO  YOU KNOW THAT I SHOULD KNOW?

If sold this way, Twitter can provide professionals with a window of almost infinite possibilities. When used as a port to professionalism, Twitter provides an opportunity like no other.

It’s really important, when telling people about Twitter to make it clear that it is about information SHARING and that it is about CONVERSATION. Twitter is pretty pointless and boring without these two things – so if a new user is on Twitter and is not engaging in sharing or in a conversation they will stop using it before long.

Secondly, a great way to introduce people to Twitter is to do it through a conference or event. Perhaps your organisation has a conference coming up? – help people to join twitter and then get them to try tweeting using the conference hashtag.

I have just found a useful website called ‘Blastfollow’ which enables you to auto follow everyone using a certain hashtag. What a great way for a new Twitter user to find people to follow! (This helps people to take the advice of the Mashable article of not only following people you actually know).

If you can’t find a conference or event that would be suitable I would recommend (particularly for learning professionals) the #lrnchat weekly conversation.

#lrnchat is an online chat over the social messaging service Twitter that now happens twice every Thursday: first at 11:30-1pm EDT/4:30-6pm BST/5:30-7pm CET and then again at 8:30-10pm EDT/5:30-7pm PDT.

Participants are people interested in the topic of learning from one another and who want to discuss how to help other people learn.

The official Twitter account is @lrnchatLearn more here.

The weekly #lrnchat discussion is a really good way to see how conversations can happen on Twitter. I would recommend using http://twitterfall.com/ to view the conversation as it happens. Simply visit the Twitterfall website, log in with your Twitter details and type #lrnchat into the ‘searches’ column on the left hand side and click on ‘add’. Here is a screen capture showing what the screen looks like when you do this:

Twitterfall #lrnchat screen capture

I am intending to make a screen cast of a #lrnchat conversation to make it easier for people to see what I’m talking about here!

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What are your top tips for keeping people engaged with Twitter?

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