Tweeting Above your Weight
Who do you follow on Twitter? And who follows you? It’s not necessarily a numbers game, though I admit sometimes I do get follower size envy.
According to Colin Delaney, progressive activist, social media guru and author of Online Politics 101 Twitter “is more of a channel to reach the “network influentials,” since it’s particularly popular with bloggers, journalists and activists.”
Who you follow allows you to filter through the garbage posts of what people ate for breakfast this morning, and get to the news of the day. Even though @mindykaling cracks me up, I’d prefer to see what @bruce_katz is reading first.
And who follows you determines how far, and maybe even how quickly your messages can spread. If you are followed by active Tweeters, opinion leaders on Twitter, or the bloggers and journalists mentioned above, it’s more likely that your Tweets and your message will have a life beyond your personal Twitter feed.
Even if you don’t have a huge following you can use @ messages to attract the attention of the audience you want to reach. But…that doesn’t mean sending out messages that look like this:
@mom, @dad, @petcat, @bestie @bonappetit @NYTimes @ I am waiting for someone to make me breakfast in bed dammit!
The best messages are targeted, directed and still manage to be clever. I am still working on this…
I had some small success last week though when I happened to Tweet @ShellySilver (a brilliant fake Twitter account representing our State Assembly Speaker), about the need for transit on the Tappan Zee Bridge.
@ShellySilver can you talk to Mario’s kid about the TPZ? He seems completely farblongjid on this one. BRTontheBridge.org.
To which Shelly replied:
We’ve gotta pick our fights, kid. MT @danisimons Can you talk to Mario’s kid about the TPZ? He’s farblondget on this. BRTontheBridge.org.
We batted it back and forth for a few Tweets and then it was time for Shelly to have a tuna sandwich.
So, great, right? Who cares? I was Tweeting with a FAKE politician. I might as well have been polishing my pet rock collection. Except…@ShellySilver’s feed is followed by a huge number of journalists covering NY politics, not to mention a lot of aides working in the Statehouse.
Next thing you know…Fred Dicker, New York Post columnist and radio talkshow host picked up on our dialogue and put it on air on his Friday show (start listening around 14:30).
Now, Dicker’s not exactly advocating for the Governor to put bus rapid transit back into the plans of the Tappan Zee Bridge, in fact, he seems more interested in our use of key Yiddish phrases. But it does show how a small, light-hearted Twitter exchange can pop a story up into the mainstream media. That wasn’t my direct intent when I shot off a missive to @ShellySilver, but it’s certainly something I’ll aim harder for in the future.