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@probation_pract is a frontline probation officer who loves Twitter for the chance to engage in country-wide professional debate.


Why I Tweet?

I am pretty new to the phenomenon that is Twitter although I have been a user of Facebook for a number of years so I’m somewhat familiar to the world of social networking.

However, when I was asked to write a small piece on why I tweet I was initially stumped. For me, as for many, Facebook is a way of keeping in touch with friends, sharing photos and, if I am honest, being a little nosey. However my twitter experience has taken a different turn and has become much more of a way of sharing knowledge and engaging with debate although the odd piece of my day to day trivia does creep in.

When I opened my twitter account I had no idea what my focus would be and approached it very much like Facebook albeit I was following strangers.

But as it developed, I found myself engaging more and more in debate and comment with my professional life and not so much with my other interests.

However, it did take some time to understand who to follow and how to attract followers back wherein lies my first piece of advice:

When you start out on twitter, have a clear focus of what you want from the experience and who your target audience are.

Twitter is the social media version of the business lunch.

Of course it is becoming more and more popular for organisations to tweet and even employ some staff to tweet on there behalf. These tweeters generally have a mandate of the types of tweet they post however, in my opinion the best of these are those that have a personal element to them such as Sally Lewis (@CEOLewis).

As an independent tweeter, I have some freedom to post my thoughts and opinions without having to follow any mandate.

However, a word of caution, because I am posting in relation to work and my field of practice there needs to be care taken not to post any content that may represent a breach of employment.

Twitter is undoubtedly a great forum to get out a message. However, for me, the networking aspects are truly exceptional.

I have been privileged to share debate and conversation with academics in the field of criminology and probation practice.

I have had the opportunity to share knowledge and ideas with practitioners of all grades up to and including chief officers from all over the country and am now about to visit another Probation Trust and shadow their chief officer as well as hopefully glean some of their best practice – all of which are opportunities that would not have presented themselves without twitter.

So why do I tweet?

Quite simply because it is a forum that allows me to improve my knowledge, understanding and practice as well as share ideas and thoughts with other like-minded individuals.

And of course, much like Facebook, because I am a little nosey.

I hope my tweets are also of value and can contribute a little knowledge and relevant opinion to the twitter-verse emporium.


Next time: Sue Clifford,  @NoOffenceCiC, on how Twitter enables No Offence’s members from 25 countries to participate in debate on criminal justice issues.

Get Russell’s free guide to Twitterfectiveness.


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