Twitter along with the short form are still a fairly new concept. Poetry can be equally short in comparison, but never before has there been such strict limitations if you don’t count certain types of poetry; I’m thinking the number of lines and syllables for specific types of poetry. Twitter tells its users that they can type 140 characters of anything they like, BUT, no more than that for a single post. Interesting, I know – keeps people reading. Encouragement for all types of creativity is quite prevalent on Twitter. One can get away with pretty much anything without the worry of the grammar police scowling in one’s direction. What are people tweeting though? What specifically? The answer is almost everything. Headlines, updates on all types of topics and news, quotes, thoughts, brain-teasers, personal status updates, humor, calls to action, pictures, links, correspondence, and the list goes on and on – even poetry on some levels. Twitter is the perfect platform for brevity. State it quickly and move on to the next moment. Twitter is the perfect platform for organizations to get condensed information and updates to its followers. We have short attention spans these days, and we want a lot of information with little effort. Even though it’s not for everyone, any nonprofit should be able to find someone in their organization that is a good fit for Twitter. Reading 140 Characters gives all sort of suggestions for using Twitter – I will explain five of these.
Nonprofits can share what they know and its relevance to its cause (p 36). Nonprofits have specific areas in which they work. The general public doesn’t necessarily know everything the organization knows. Employees for nonprofits are probably always running across information that would interesting to their followers. Not every topic needs an entire blog written about it. A couple sentences of new facts would be perfect to tweet to an organization’s followers and keep its readers interested in the cause. We all know knowledge is power.
One suggestion that I completely love and follow myself is to save tweets to be sent at a later time (103). One needs to tweet fairly often, and the thought of coming up with worthwhile information on a daily basis can be exhausting. I have found I think best about tweeting late at night. Now, it is suggested one use certain apps to help save tweets for later, but I have found sending the tweets to myself in my cell phone works just fine. If one wants to save weeks-worth of tweets, a cell with lots of memory is good. The ‘tweet save’ is perfect for that individual in a nonprofit that will be using Twitter, and it takes away so much pressure.
The book also has a section on how to handle twelve unpleasant situations one may run into on Twitter (pp 104-108). I won’t go through the entire list here, but I will mention a few that stand out. The Twitter user at your nonprofit will definitely want to know how to handle a few if not all at some point in time. One suggestion relates to the addiction aspect of Twitter – spending too much time tweeting and reading which can cause disinterest in what’s going on around one’s environment. What to do? Yoga. How about if one of your followers is really getting on your nerves? Take some time away or learn to ignore certain people (105). One last thought here – don’t invite everyone you know (105). A nonprofit’s Twitter user should ask themself if they would leave someone else to add a new person. If not, don’t invite (105). 140 Characters has a number of other suggestion for dealing with poor situations every tweeter should take time to understand before diving into Twitter.
Timing is huge when it comes to Twitter. One wants the most number of people reading a tweet at any given time. So how exactly do tweeting and timing work together? First of all, timing has a lot to do with what is important (108). A nonprofit should try to never release the juicy tweets on a Monday or Friday – people are just not paying attention during this time. Save the good information for a Tuesday afternoon (108). The general acceptable time to release something new at least in this country has been on Tuesday for many years now. People will be most attentive during the middle of the week.
The final suggestion I will make from 140 Characters is don’t let your popularity go to your head (pp 115, 116). If one uses Twitter enough, he will eventually have many followers with consideration to the quality of what he has been tweeting. When one gets to this point, acknowledge your accomplishment, but darn it, be humble. Remember, at this point one will need to decide what has been working to gain followers and come up with a plan to sustain his audience (116). The tweeter in the nonprofit probably gained many followers through sheer grace. Maintain that state. Some people may change through new popularity – be wise, stay focused, and follow your goals.
140 Characters has a huge array of suggestions for using Twitter with just as many or more real-world examples. One would have over a year’s worth of tweets if he followed every suggestion. I have read the book a couple of times now, and I’m always running across information I missed the first time I read the book. I would highly suggest any nonprofit get a copy of the book if they are going to be using Twitter extensively which can only work in favor of the nonprofit when being used by the right person.