Twitter tutors?
December 4, 2020 11:06 AM   Subscribe

I was just put in charge of tweeting for my office (part of a larger library/archive). I got the official rules & regs from the boss, but I don't know much about etiquette, best practices, etc., and I don't use or enjoy Twitter much in my personal life. Can you recommend readings, tutorials, articles, etc., and/or give your own thoughts and advice on professional tweeting?

I wish this task could have landed on someone who tweets for fun, or otherwise does it off the clock, but alas. So I have a lot of ground to make up, sooner rather than later.

The stated approach is generally supposed to be chatty bits of information about items in our collections, that sort of thing. Although apparently it's not out of the question that at some point I could do a "thread"--which is something I have literally no idea how to do.

Anyway, your own advice, and pointers to other info/training, would be so helpful! (Be as basic as you like; I won't get offended. But if it helps to know, I've written simple tweets for my boss for a year or so--I've just never done the posting or made any of the decisions.)
posted by theatro to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: Just a quick thought as a twitter user myself.

A thread, content-wise, would probably be a deeper dive on a specific topic of interest, an item in the collection, that kind of thing. Mechanically it's simple enough to post or schedule it in advance, I expect, depending on what software you have to hand.

I haven't ever done this professionally myself, but know plenty of other folks hereabouts hopefully have.
posted by Alensin at 11:16 AM on December 4, 2020


Best answer: Tweetdeck is invaluable if you're scheduling tweets or managing more than one account.
Following this cause even though I'm on the bird all the time I still don't understand it.
posted by Mngo at 11:33 AM on December 4, 2020 [1 favorite]


Best answer: I see from your profile that you're a film archivist, so I'll add my testimony as a Twitter reader that images are a real plus in engaging me--sure, I'm interested in facts about your archive, but more so if they come with pictures.
posted by Mngo at 11:35 AM on December 4, 2020 [1 favorite]


Best answer: I would like to believe that a film archive wouldn't have to deal with twitter trolls, but... it's twitter. So, just in case:

You don't have to respond to everyone that tweets at you - in fact, responding to some trolls will drive them to engage in further negative behavior. Engage with positive messages; consider engaging with the rest.

If you realize that someone is engaging in bad faith and ignoring them doesn't get them to disengage and they are only engaging with the archive's account (vs. engaging with other users that follow it) most clients will let you mute someone.

This is generally preferable to using Twitter's "block" feature, which throws up a big "you have been blocked" screen to the person on the other end after it's used. Some trolls treat being blocked as a badge of honor. When someone's muted, they just end up shouting into the void.

One more option is a 'soft block', which is where you use that block feature, then immediately un-block them. This has the effect of forcing the troll account to un-follow yours, but won't generally result in the screen I mentioned above. The other account hopefully doesn't realize what happened; your posts just stop showing up in their feed and wander off to take their toxicity elsewhere.

(Sorry for the wall of bummer advice. Hopefully, you'll never need any of it.)
posted by FallibleHuman at 11:57 AM on December 4, 2020 [2 favorites]


Best answer: @TheMERL's Twitter account (Museum of English Rural Life) has been winning at Twitter for a very long time.

They have a Twitter-specific content/marketing strategy document that could be helpful to you.
posted by humbug at 12:25 PM on December 4, 2020 [7 favorites]


Best answer: I was the Tweeter for my library association (mercifully now passed on to someone else) and I spend a lot of time on Library twitter. A few suggestions

- Have a social media policy, this just outlines expectations for you, the organization, and people who engage with you. This can include whether the account also does "customer support" type things or replies at all to those types of queries (some orgs do and some don't, there is no right answer)
- Look at other similar organizations and also decide who, if anyone, your account will follow. Some orgs have probably already made "lists" (a specific twitter thing) of likeminded orgs. Here is the VT Library Associations list of Vermont Libraries. Other people can follow this list. If you wanted to follow likeminded orgs, it's worth seeing if there's a pre-made list
- THINK ACCESS -- especially with organizations that use a lot of visual media content. Learn about ALT text for Twitter and how to use it effectively (for everything, even animated GIFs) MeFi's Own robot-hugs has written up a great explainer that I send to people a lot about how to do this well. If you include video clips, have captions on them that people can read at small sizes.
- FallibleHuman's advice is good, check with your policy (above) and just ban/block liberally with people giving you a hard time (I am often a "two strikes" person, if I reply to someone who gave a not-totally-awful reply that might just be someone bad at interacting, and then they double down on it, that's it.) Advice on this is different if you are a public org that may have free speech issues wrapped up in this. Remember: no one deserves your attention and it's AOK to tell people to contact the org through more reasonable channels.
- Oh hey that was a twitter thread, the way to make them is just write one tweet and instead of hitting send, pressing the + icon, this will add another tweet that will "thread" with the one above it. People can still reply to individual tweets, so this can get confusing. Here's Twitter's help page on threads.

I am happy to help with stuff as you go. I'm my same username on Twitter and DMs are open.
posted by jessamyn at 3:36 PM on December 4, 2020 [4 favorites]


Best answer: It's a good idea to think of who you want to reach and then structure your tweets to meet that goal.

It's important to do some kind of evaluation to see if your tweets are causing the kind of impact that you're looking for, which can require a deeper dive into your archive's use statistics. Likes are fine, but it's more useful to be able to demonstrate how your tweets are generating deeper engagement with your materials.
posted by Fister Roboto at 5:47 PM on December 4, 2020


Response by poster: I am told I will be using Tweetdeck, so thanks for mentioning it--it looks like there are some how-tos about that online that I can look at. And I'm thinking I should start interacting with my personal twitter account via Tweetdeck, to start getting comfortable.

And thanks, everyone, for the links and tips! They've scheduled me for a training session in about a month, though I don't know what all it will include. So in the meantime I'll read through all this and do some thinking and planning.

That's kind of you, jessamyn, I just might pop up in future as I'm getting my feet under me.
posted by theatro at 9:31 AM on December 5, 2020


I have used Tweetdeck with multiple accounts and it works decently well so it's a great way to get comfortable with some of the ideas. It's worth setting it up with a lot of columns so you can have, for example, the people who mention you, the people who reply to you, your scheduled tweets and maybe the people you follow. I have occasionally tweeted from my own account what I meant to tweet from the VLA account, so that may take some practice but it's not super tough, just make sure you have the passwords handy in case you need to clean anything up.
posted by jessamyn at 10:12 AM on December 5, 2020


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