Social Networking: How to Make Helpful Connections on Twitter
By Callie Gordon ’12
Being a college student, you are either on Twitter or at least feel like you need to be. Students join Twitter for a variety of reasons: news, humor, or just general narcissism. But before you define yourself in 140 characters or less, it’s important to know why you’re logging on.
Consider Twitter an extension of your personal brand. How do you want to define yourself? As far as your personal brand is concerned, Twitter can help or hurt you, depending on what you share.
Twitter is quite possibly the most public place to be yourself. It is a great way to connect with friends and employers, but you have to be conscious of how you portray yourself. Post that Instagram pic from ACL, but reconsider your use of foul language. If you’re professional or self-promoting all the time, people will lose interest in you fast. People will follow you because they want to know more about you, so it’s important to be honest but diplomatic and cordial.
Here’s a crash course on Twitter to get you started:
- handle: A username.
- mention: A username preceded by @ in a tweet, such as “I love @txst!” Mentions let others know you are talking about them.
- Follow: Subscribing to the tweets of a Twitter user.
- RT: Retweet; echo another user’s tweet from your profile. Retweets use the formula “RT @username” followed by the original tweet.
- hashtag: Words, phrases or acronyms preceded by # in tweet; used for humor and to connect tweets of the same topic (a.k.a. trends).
- Tweeting live: Using an official hashtag to tweet frequently during an event.
- churning: Following many accounts (100+) and subsequently unfollowing them if they don’t follow you back. (It’s frowned upon by Twitter.)
- #NF: New follower; if you get a follower that you’re excited about, it’s okay to share: “Great to get a #NF from @txst. Eat ‘em up Cats!”
- #FF: Follow Friday; a Twitter tradition of recommending accounts to follow. Tweet #FF mentions in categories, such as:
How do I get followers?
The first step to attract followers is to follow other accounts — and don’t be stingy. If you want 250 followers, you should be willing to follow twice as many. Don’t forget to interact with your followers.
Secondly, understand and use hashtags. Want to interact with a lot of people? Use the official hashtag of an event, such as #Oscars, or join a trending discussion. The trending hashtags for your area will be to the left of your news feed.
The final step in getting followers — and this is important — is to be interesting. Entertain us, share the best articles, make us laugh, be insightful. And ask yourself, would you want to follow you?
How do I get a job through twitter?
Follow your favorite companies, companies that follow them, and other companies within your desired field. It might be useful to create a Twitter list of the companies you’re considering for employment. If an employer sees they’re on your list, they know you’re interested.
After knowing who your favorites are, interact with them, remembering that there is a fine line between being charming and relatable and being professional. Communicating through Twitter is a great way to introduce yourself.
Be conscious of the fact that having a conversation on Twitter is public. All of your followers see your interactions, and anyone with Internet access can find your tweets. For private Twitter conversations, use direct messaging (DM).
And remember, the more you tweet, the more you learn. Happy tweeting, y’all!
Callie Gordon is a senior at Texas State University majoring in marketing. Follow @CatchingCallie on Twitter for more of her thoughts on social media, job hunting, and life in general.