Twitter used to be a powerful social networking tool. It has become much less useful since Elon Musk purchased it and started disrupting many of the community norms. I used to get a lot of great information in my feed, but now I get a lot of spam and much of it isn't pleasant, so I am no longer recommending Twitter to students. That being said, some communities still meet on Twitter and if you are willing to filter through the crap, there is still value in this platform.

Twitter is a powerful tool for professional networking as it allows users to connect with industry experts, join conversations relevant to their field, and share their own thoughts and ideas with a wide audience. Additionally, it can be used to promote one's personal brand and connect with potential employers or clients. Using Twitter effectively can help professionals expand their networks, gain visibility in their industry, and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in their field.

Getting started with Twitter

There is one great saying here - Facebook is where you go to connect with people you already know, Twitter is where you go to connect with people you want to know.

Twitter is how I met AK, which is how I ended up teaching at uMass-Boston. Twitter is how I met a lot of people in my network. It is how most of the people in my academic network connect with one another. I remember going to an OLC (Online Learning Consortium) conference and exchanging twitter handles rather than business cards. Since then, Twitter has gotten a little crazy. I have a lot of followers and a lot of people who follow me. Most of the connections are not personal - however, they can be. You can make personal connections on Twitter if you have something to say. 

In addition to professional networking, I also use Twitter to follow local events. I follow my local police department and fire department. I find Twitter is one of the best places to get news when there is some kind of disaster (e.g. flooding, fires, earthquakes). 

I also use Twitter to contact support for some services. For example, I find Twitter help for United Airlines is more efficient than waiting on the phone forever.

For example of how I use Twitter to help me design a Twitter activity, I went on to Twitter and asked some of my friends what they would recommend (see Wakelet link below).  Several great ideas came up. What started out as me tagging two people has turned into a longer conversation - at least one of which is a complete tangent. 

I liked what Maha Bali said when she highlighted that Twitter can be used to help you answer questions that Google can't answer - in my case, that was "what is a good asynch Twitter activity" (Tweet Reference).

Async Twitter Activities - Wakelet

Louise Fletcher on Blue Sky Blog provides eleven concrete ways to use Twitter for networking. For contrast, Lily Herman on themuse explains Five things to avoid when you’re networking on Twitter

Twitter Hashtags

A hashtag is a keyword proceeded by the # symbol. Hashtags originated on Twitter as a way to categorize or tag tweets, so that people could find conversations. It has since been adopted by other social media sites such as Instagram and LinkedIn. They are not used the same way, in that it is common to list a bunch of hashtags on Instagram but it is rare to use more than one or two on Twitter. Also, on Twitter, it is considered rude to tweet irrelevant stuff to a hashtag - ensure that your content aligns with the hashtag before using it. 

Anyone can make up and use a Twitter hashtag. It is recommended, however, that before you decide to use a hashtag that you first monitor that hashtag to ensure that it isn’t already being used - or worse, isn’t already being used by a group whose values don’t align with your brand! 

Twitter Chats

Back when I started using Twitter, I remember telling a colleague at a professional event that I just didn’t understand the point of Twitter. He recommended that I join #lrnchat, a Twitter chat about learning and development. I gave it a try and realized that the authors of some of the books I was reading were on the chat. I had an opportunity to actually talk to them and ask them questions. 

A Twitter chat is typically a live-conversation that happens over Twitter at a specified time. The facilitator of the chat begins by asking a question and anyone participating in the chat answers the question. A specific chat hashtag is used in order for people to follow the conversation. 

Advice for professional networking on Twitter

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