Helen Grimbleby, @Crimematters, is a community safety and domestic violence specialist with a well established and keenly followed blog.
Why I Tweet
“That sounds interesting”, I thought when asked by Russell to write on why I Tweet. So, I sat down in front of my blank screen and asked myself the question. My first response “I dunno actually why do I tweet?” didn’t make for an encouraging start!
I realised that I needed to approach this differently so next I asked Professor Google (other search engines available!) if I could find out how long I had been on Twitter. Answer; 997 days or 2 years, 8 months, 3 weeks, 1 day, 14 hours, 39 minutes and 35 seconds.
Still not sure how this helped I brought up Klout to check out my style. Answer; right now I’m a conversationalist. “That might be interesting”, I thought because I have been other styles too so how I use Twitter and why I Tweet might change over time.
Things were becoming clearer, I Tweet because:
1. I am an information junkie.
I like to acquire, consider, sometimes analyse and share stuff
2. I ask a lot of questions and like to find some answers to them or as is often the case uncover more questions
That’s not the whole story though. I run my own business and so sometimes:
3. I tweet in shameless promotion of my work
Also connected with work:
4. I tweet to network
Twitter really has introduced me to some amazing people in my line of business who I am certain I would not otherwise have met. Although I use other social media networks like LinkedIn, I find Twitter is the best for networking because it’s short and punchy á la speed dating I suppose.
It’s not all news and work, some of my favourite tweeters are wry, some are funny and I hunt them out on my coffee breaks. For this group;
5. I tweet for the laughs
Tweeting is sometimes described as micro-blogging and so like many tweeters, I also write a full scale blog. Mostly I blog about domestic violence reduction one of my passions. I also try to promote evidence based decision making in this and all areas of community safety and crime reduction. I use twitter to signpost folks to my blog (ie more shameless promotion!). In other words:
6. I tweet to promote a cause.
Although described as micro-blogging I don’t think that my style of tweeting and blogging have all that much in common. Blogging is broadcasting. It is expounding views, sharing opinions or evidence. Tweeting is more of a conversation. My re-tweets could often be started with “What do you think about this?” or “Hey this looks interesting doesn’t it?”
I’m no twitter expert but I have always been clear that my tweets are mostly (95%) related to my work in community safety and crime reduction. Around 5% of my feed is my random statements, thoughts or observations on anything that takes my fancy. I do this so that my followers know I’m a human being and learn a bit about me and what I do outside of work.
7. I tweet to converse
I have few tips because Twitter really is for you to explore and use how you want. If you are just starting out I think its ok to try out some different things but once you’ve been going for a while I think it can be a mistake to drastically change what you tweet about or how you go about it. If you really have more than one key theme (and each theme can be broad) or key style of tweeting channel them through different @ twitter accounts!
Next week: @SgtGaryWatts, one of the first police officers to tweet for work, writes about his approach to Tweeting.
Get Russell’s free guide to Twitterfectiveness.