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If you must tweet, be smart about it

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in Workplace Communication

Not everyone in the workplace needs to be on Twitter—indeed, some workplaces have deemed the social-media tool verboten.

But the free messaging tool, used strategically, can be helpful for keeping tabs on your industry. Anyone can sign up in three easy steps:

1. On Twitter.com, click “Get started now.”

2. Complete the sign-up form. Put some thought into your user name, since that will be your official Twitter name that everyone sees.

3. Click “Create my account.”

Now you can choose to “follow” other Twitterers. Every time anyone posts a tweet (a 140-character message, max), it shows up in your Twitter stream.

This is where you’ll want to get strategic.

If you simply plan to use Twitter at home to keep up with friends and celebrities, follow whomever you’d like.

For a more strategic approach to the tool, though, heed this advice:

Look for content that is profession- or industry-specific. Click on the “Feed People” link at the top of Twitter.com. You can then search for organizations or companies that are also on Twitter, or browse the topic areas—such as “Business” or “Health”—for experts or interesting voices.

Build Twitter “Lists” to keep track of information in an organized way. For example, if you work for a hospital, you may want to follow the latest findings in health care research, as well as breaking news on health care reform. You can set up two lists to keep those tweets in separate streams—making it easier for you to scan.

Tune in to hashtags. A hashtag (#) is often added to a tweet, along with a word or abbreviation, so that people can link their tweet to a broader topic. For example, you’ll often find the hashtag “#admin” used at the end of job-posting or productivity tweets.

A large conference is also likely to spawn a lot of tweets from attendees, who will make use of a hashtag, so that anyone can search for what’s happening at the conference.

Are you using Twitter to stay current? Let us know: admineditor@NIBM.net.

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