#haveyoutweetedlately? (Chapter 14)

Posted on July 12, 2011


Like Joan Koerber-Walker, I signed up for Twitter a few years ago when some of my favorite celebrities were starting to Tweet.  I signed up and then forgot about it.  I didn’t really understand how it worked and I was intimidated by tweeting.  Actually, my apprehension extended way beyond Twitter to Facebook as well.  I’ve been a Facebook user for five or so years now, but I didn’t start updating my status for the first couple years.  I always felt like I had to have something REALLY important to say and so I never said anything.  I’ve been comfortable with Facebook for a few years now, but it wasn’t until this past January that I started using Twitter.  After talking to a friend in marketing about my job search, I decided that I needed to become a social media guru.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Blogging…that was my starting point.  I’ve gotten over my fear of tweeting, but I still feel like I’m learning about hashtags, sending direct messages and retweeting.

As a consumer, I haven’t yet embraced Twitter.  I’m following a church program, magazine and author Dave Ramsey.  Many of the tweets from these three “businesses” include a headline with a link to an article.  I often find myself clicking through to read the article.  Having chosen to follow them, I’m pretty apt to be interested in what they have to say.  I haven’t done too much retweeting of what they’ve said–perhaps that is my next step.

Inspired by Safko’s story about the customer service his public relations assistant received from Continental Airlines when she tweeted a complaint, I tried my own appeal last week on Twitter.  On our way home from our family vacation last week, we were waiting at the gate for our flight from Newark to Boston.  My husband and I were traveling with our 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter.  The flight was full and our seats were scattered.  My daughter and I were sitting together, but my son was sitting by himself.  I asked the gate attendant for help, but only received a mediocre response.  She explained that there wasn’t much she could do with a full plane and that I didn’t have much to offer another passenger since I only had a center seat to trade.  She also informed me that many 5-year-olds fly by themselves.  Near tears, I sat down and pulled out my phone.  I tweeted, “Frustrated by airline that thinks it is ok my five-year old to sit by strangers on our flight from boston to newark. #continentalairlines”  I doubt it had anything to do with my tweet, but 10-minutes later the gate attendant walked up to us with two new boarding passes for my son and husband–next to each other!  Coincidence?  Probably, but who knows?

While reading this chapter in The Social Media Bible, I kept thinking about the advice offered by Nonprofits Tech 2.0’s blog about social media mistakes made by nonprofits.  According to their blog, one top mistake is not keeping a 1:1 ratio of followers/following on Twitter.  “The more people you follow, the more your nonprofit’s avatar gets spread throughout the Twitterverse. Also, people can’t direct message you on Twitter if you don’t follow them. To many supporters and donors who are trying to direct message you, it’s a bit of a snub when they realize they can’t because you’re not following them in return (http://nonprofitorgs.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/10-common-mistakes-made-by-nonprofits-on-social-media/#comment-5969).  There is still much I have to learn about Twitter because I didn’t even realize these things were true.  When I checked some of my favorite nonprofits’ Twitter pages, I found that they were definitely not following the 1:1 ratio.  I’m glad I have the inside scoop!