“People tell me that Twitter is a great way to get stories and make contacts but how do I find people who will be relevant to my work.”
That’s a question I’ve been asked several times in recent weeks, so I thought I’d throw together five points on making Twitter work for you. Only it’s actually six points. Stan Collymore, believe it or not, is a good example of someone who has made it work for him and his radio show.
The tips for doing this are simple:
1. Make sure you tell people who you are and – if you’re using it for work – what you do. Fill in the biography section, in other words
2. Twitter Search is a good way of finding people who are talking about things which interest you or interest you for work – simply search for the terms relating to your work and check the profiles of those who come up in the search results. If what they say interests you, follow them. (As the Silihillian points out below, once you have done this once you can grab an RSS feed of the results into your RSS reader)
3. If you’re more interested in finding people who live locally to you, then advanced Twitter Search does an ok job, as does Nearby Tweets but my favourite at the moment is locafollow – which searches by biographic location
4. This tip I originally heard from @Tim (Tim Bradshaw from the FT): Twitter is like being in the pub – you don’t just go in and shout for stuff, you make the time to get to know people and join in conversations. On Twitter, that could mean answering people’s questions, retweeting their tweets to your followers, and join in with other discussions.
5. Think before you Tweet. If you’ve set up your Twitter account to be a tool for work, then you’re associated with whatever publication (online or offline) that you work for.
6. Don’t get in a huff if someone is a bit sharp or rude back. Certainly don’t do a Stan and take your bat and ball home. Do as you would if it was a face-to-face discussion, decide if it’s worth replying or just moving on.