Twitter is the preeminent emerging-technology used by social media advocates, architects and early adapters on every continent. It is a platform on which digital grassroots conversations occur in real time.
While being interviewed by Joe Dager - @business901 - for a podcast, I likened the twitter platform to a huge pick-up bar/dance-club, where you can walk over and chat with anyone. The person you approach has the option of interacting with you in 140 characters, or ignoring you. Like a bar, you can eavesdrop on conversations between interesting people, and then spread that message to your group of friends. There are even bouncers, who regularly sweep the room for Posers, Phishers and Hackers who need to be escorted out.
twitter in April 2008, but my account was dormant until mid-October when I studied its ecosystem. I had been invited to discuss emerging social media tools-- and their effect on college and university fundraisers-- at the I_CASE fall conference (Indiana Council for the Advancement and Support of Education I-CASE). http://www.i-case.org/ . It took a couple of weeks to adapt
to twitter’s rhythm and appreciate the intricacies of its hierarchy, but I soon began to see its potential. By the time I gave my presentation on November 7, 2008, I realized that twitter was ideal for spreading a meme world-wide at the speed of light. ( Meme = Brand + Logo ) . Oh by the way, did I mention it’s a free platform?
I’m spearheading an organized effort to raise twitter awareness in Indiana, because I want our state to remain relevant in the 21st Century. Participating on the Smaller Indiana platform and attending SI events made me realize just how cool Indiana truly is, and yet NOT ONE Hoosier is listed among the top 100 twitter elite. Shame on us for hiding our light under a bushel!
If all #Indiana tweeters would come together with one voice on this project we could generate some real noise, and raise #Indiana awareness globally. I call it the “Great #Indiana Initiative of Aught Nine.” Perhaps it’s a leap to think seven keystrokes typed in a few tweets a week could make a difference. On the other hand, it is free and you would only have to donate your 3 minutes when it is convenient for you. Like my mom always tells me, “It couldn’t hurt!” , plus it might just give our kids a better chance to succeed in this information-based (rather than industrial-based) future.
It’s important to understand twitter characteristics. Led by power users from the UK, the U.S,, Canada and Australia, this social media platform is:
• Intuitive—Very easy to sign-up with a tiny learning curve (especially for sms users) .
• Self-policing- And you thought you left tattle-tails back in grade school.
• Competitive—people want to be first to post something (and the first to tell on someone).
• Etiquette centric-- courtesy, reciprocity, authenticity and transparency reign supreme.
• HUGE on both U.S. coasts, especially Boston and southern California cities.
• No place for hard-core selling. Broadcast messages DO NOT work on tweeters, and you will quickly be ignored by the community.
Now that you know some characteristics of twitter, you may be wondering how to use the #Indiana hashtag effectively. Ideally messages should be inspirational and funny. Humor is a good device if you want a tweet to go viral because the majority of twitter users wear rose colored glasses, and continually see the glass half full.
• Favorite #Indiana memory -- Wolf and Desaures in Ft. Wayne at Christmas.
• Favorite #Indiana place-- @VisitIndiana
will have some good suggestions.
• Favorite #Indiana saying—" and the goblens‘ll get you, ef u don’t --- watch --- out."
• Favorite #Indiana Museum – The Miniature House Museum in Carmel #Indiana is way cool for girl-scout groups, btw.
• Favorite #Indiana moment at a movie theatre or live production – Dick Laughlin’s memorial service at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre had the funniest moment EVER on that stage, (and I've seen some funny stuff).
• Favorite #Indiana historian such as @Pres_Harrison
(A must follow, btw.)
• Favorite #Indiana twitter user – if you don't have a favorite Hoosier tweeter, you can always chat about the Colts, Pacers, or college stats from one of our world-renowned Universities (is Butler having another killer year, or what?). And let's not forget that our state hosts the largest attended single day sporting event in the WORLD.
You could also:
• Share an article URL with another Hoosier (e.g. “ Hey @nickilaycoax
I read this in the #Indiana Business Journal and thought you might like it.” )
• ReTweet another participating Hoosier-- easily found in the #Indiana tweet stream.
• Post a Smaller #Indiana
blog with a link.
You should always tweet by the KISS principle – Keep it simple- and keep it under 120 characters, which makes it easier to retweet. It’s very important to use good grammar and you must always be REALLY nice to: @scobleizer
, @chrisbrogan @guykawasaki @mayhemstudios @unmarketing
among others in the top 10-15% of the elite. A negative tweet from any of them could destroy your twitter brand in a heartbeat. Plus if any of them start following you, your rank dramatically improves.
Here are some good examples of the #Indiana hashtag use:
The ones listed below can be found in the #Indiana Tweet Stream.
• From @AmyStark
: “Ideal #Indiana Valentine's day RT @lllittlefield
The husband is taking me to the UofL / Notre Dame game for Valentine's Day. SO ROMANTIC :) “
• From @ctorres4745
: “If we get more snow, I plan on taking the kids to the Ft Harrison sled hill this weekend in Lawrence #indiana “
• From @sssemester
: “Go #Indiana! RT @TheLuckyGirl
: Miss America is Miss Indiana Katie Stam!!”
• From @SocialMtgExpert
: now I don’t know about anywhere else, but in #indiana we laugh about that... he was kind and gracious and understanding..”
• From @bphuff
: “Heading to Bodies exhibit later today. #Indiana “
Pat Coyle recently lamented the fact that the Wall Street Journal pays NO attention to Smaller #Indiana. If you take a look at this animated map showing Hershey’s viral bliss campaign
, you will see why. Where is #Indiana? A blog posted recently listed the twitter handle for 62 Wall Street Journal employees, and it is rumored this news organization has a financial stake in Twitter’s future. That makes it an ideal tool to get their attention. And lest you forget, it is free.
Most Hoosiers use twitter as a repository for their ideas, services, podcasts, etc.. This is broadcast thinking, isn’t it? Indiana tweeters need to regularly engage other Hoosiers in digital dialog, and if we want the recognition we deserve, we need to connect with users from communities beyond our state and country. Until that happens, the Wall Street Journal will never quote Pat Coyle, and our kids may find their skills irrelevant in an inter-connected world. Sometime in the next five – ten years my daughter will enter the workforce, competing for the attention of three Billion Internet users. I want to give her a fighting chance.