Thursday, March 12, 2009

6 things to do on Twitter before you die

We all have our "life lists." 10 things we want to do before we leave this earth. It usually includes incredible trips to far-flung destinations like Australia or Tahiti and serious challenges that you would normally never consider. Think sky-diving (OK, so maybe that one's not on Peter Shankman's list).

Life in the online world's a little different. But, I would argue it's somewhat similar in that there are a number of things I think every Tweep should do before they pass on to the next life.

Here's my short list. What would you add to this Twitter "bucket list"?

1. Participate in a Twitter hashtag conversation. Specifically, I'm thinking about Sarah Evans' and her immensely popular Journchat on Monday nights from 7-10 pm CST, but really any chat will suffice. I recommend Journchat because of the collaboration and sharing it fosters between PR pros, journalists and bloggers. But, I also recommend it to many who are new to Twitter for the "experience." I mean, the first time you try to follow Journchat (I recommend using an application like TweetChat), it can be insane. Your eyes glaze over. You can't follow the conversation. You may even get a little dizzy. But, then you start to figure it out. You begin to follow the threads. You may even post a tweet or two. Next thing you know, you're hooked. And then you're participating every week and encouraging your colleagues to join the fray (and Sarah's legion of Journchat disciples continues to swell!).

2. Live tweet an event. Attending a conference in the next month? Bring your Blackberry or iPhone along and tweet right from the event. For you, it's a fun way to relay useful information to your followers, friend and colleagues. And for those following you, it's a great way to glean useful nuggets of information from an event they may not have the good fortune to attend. Right now, this is relevant as I, and many others, would love to be in Austin at SXSW. But, since I can't, I'll be sure to follow Mack Collier, Beth Harte and others who are in Texas and relaying the best practices, tips and interesting stories along the way. Over the last few months, if you've noticed, I've also enjoyed live tweeting Gopher basketball games (lately @dfolkens, @mnheadhunter, @rpmaus and @ryanmathre have joined in the action)

3. Raise money for a good cause. Think Danny Brown and 12for12K. Think David Armano raising more than $16,000 for a homeless mother of three in just a few days in early January. Twitter can be a powerful tool to help rally your community around a common cause.

4. Have fun with your avatar. Chris Brogan seemingly changes his avatar once a week (closed circuit to Chris: I like the one with your daughter in the pic). Others have swapped out their avatars to demonstrate support for causes or charities (the various 12for12K avatars, for example). Whatever the case, let your hair down. Have some fun. Live a little.

5. Help someone get a job. Heather Huhman and Sarah Evans are the leaders in helping connect job seekers with employers in the PR area, but really, anyone can lend a hand. Send PR job openings you hear about to these two and they'll RT them to their networks (2,400 for Heather, 15,000-plus for Sarah). That's some serious reach. Or, make personal connections among your friends and followers. You might know someone who's hiring--and a few people that are out of a job. Broker an online Twitter introduction. And change someone's life.

6. Be a virtual mentor. Many Twittizens mentor in their "real lives". However, that doesn't mean you should pass on the chance to mentor someone virtually as well. It's easy and doesn't require a ton of time. Just passing along a few good pieces of advice to younger pros can help immensely. And make sure to tag your posts--use the #pradvice tag so everyone can benefit from your pearls of wisdom. You'd be surprised how far your message, tips or insights might travel.


Anonymous said...

Fun list! This isn't exactly "on Twitter" but I would add:

7. Make plans to meet some of your Tweeple in real life!

Twitter is great for building relationships, but they can be really strengthened or enhanced by meeting the people behind the avatar. Attend a local tweetup or try to go to a conference or other type of event where you can meet some of the people you follow!

Linda@thesaltlick said...

Great ideas, Arik! I would also add to connect with someone in your community via e-mail/telephone for a more indepth discussion or to help with a project. I've helped beta test a new Twitter app, sought advice from someone in my network and engaged in efforts to get influential policymakers on Twitter. It's the little things daily that make for quality relationships.

The Sports Ace said...

Thanks Arik!

You know Amy, I was thinking the exact same thing as you! My #7 would definitely be to try to meet you and/or other Tweeple at some point. And not just locally - I think Arik has the right idea in that he's trying to find ways to meet people from other markets. Maybe someday I can make that happen too.

I might even add a #8 - Give something away. Whether it's a piece of insight/wisdom, or some money for someone else's cause, or a free counseling/mentoring session, we all feel better when we're contributing to the common good. Twitter is another great venue for that.


Anonymous said...

really fun post, great ideas! Thanks for sharing

Chuck said...

Arik - this is a fun list. I particularly like #7, which I think is probably the most important part about Twitter. "Be a mentor to someone." Like most things in life, you get out of it what you put in it. If you spend the time to cultivate a following, a persona if you will, I guarantee that you will find value in it, but more importantly, so will your followers.

kellyl said...

Love #7...For #8, retweet good information! Otherwise a really good Tweet is "lost" in a tiny Twitter moment, never to be seen again...
#9 Take a look at your followers blog! Get to know some people better!

Anonymous said...

Of course, a separate discussion would be "10 things to do on Twitter before you're born" --

Rachel said...

Great post Arik - I can safely say I've done (or at least tried to do) all of these things! What I like about this list is that everything on it is very doable by anyone looking to leverage Twitter to build relationships.

Arik C. Hanson, APR said...

Amy/Linda/Jason--How could I forget meet tweeps in real life? That should definitely be on this list. I just think about some of the folks I would love to meet in real life this year (and they're not all national): David Mullen, Jen Wilbur, Lauren Fernandez, Allan Schoenberg, Beth Harte, Sonny Gill, the list goes on and on.

I also like Jason's idea of giving something away. So important in building any relationship. And you always get more than you give--words to live by, my friends.