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The way I use Twitter


I have two major Twitter accounts. (My cats also have Twitter accounts, but I’m not going there right now.) In addition, I have set up Twitter accounts for several small businesses community organizations over the last few years, and still monitor/troubleshoot two of them. My two primary accounts are:

  • ☞ @mwrk, my business account
  • ☞ @katnagel, my personal account

Who I follow

If I’m following you from @mwrk, it’s probably because:

  • ☞ You are a colleague I’ve worked with, or we’re acquainted through a professional email discussion list
  • ☞ You are a current or former client
  • ☞ You tweet about technical communications, usability, accessibility, content strategy, web development, or instructional design/training
  • ☞ You write interesting or insightful blogs, articles or books in one of the fields listed above
  • ☞ You share interesting links
  • ☞ Something you’ve tweeted has been retweeted by someone I follow, and has attracted my attention

As @mwrk, I follow mostly technical writers, web developers, usability specialists, content managers, technical editors, and other people who tweet about technical communication issues. @katnagel follows a variety of other writers, scientists, news reporters, knitters, and a whole bunch of interesting and funny people. I split my social media activity in two because I was having trouble focusing. This way, it’s much easier to concentrate on work-related stuff while I’m working. I follow selectively from each account, and do not automatically follow back just because someone follows me.

What I look for

  • ☞ trends in my several professional areas of activity
  • ☞ news about colleagues
  • ☞ links to interesting articles
  • ☞ tips for using my favorite software tools
  • ☞ reviews of new books and software

What I tweet about

  • ☞ my experiences with projects, colleagues and clients
  • ☞ recommendations for useful books/sites
  • ☞ techcomm-related questions
  • ☞ web development questions
  • ☞ links to interesting articles I’m reading
  • ☞ links to professional events I’m planning to attend
  • ☞ cool technology
  • ☞ links to blog posts (mine and others’)

I also retweet interesting, useful, or funny stuff that others have tweeted.

The tools I use

On my desktop and laptop computers, I use YoruFukurou for daily activity. YF is a Twitter client recommended by a New Zealand webdesigner/techblogger friend. (Thanks, @Miraz!) It has a compact, tabbed interface that occupies a single visible column on my screen, but gives me quick access to the timelines, mentions, saved searches, and favorites for eight Twitter accounts. It also allows me to easily retweet something I read in one timeline from any of the other accounts.

Once or twice a month I do triage on both accounts, looking at analytics, unfollowing spammers and people who no longer tweet interesting stuff, moving writers who only tweet about knitting or religion from my business account to my personal account, and so on. For that, I’m currently using SocialBro.

On my iPod Touch, I used to use Tweetie. Then Twitter bought the company, changed the app’s name to Twitter for iPhone, and added a whole bunch of features I don’t want. They’ve also been messing with the interface. Grrrrr. I’ve tried a dozen others, but haven’t found any that do all the things that Tweetie used to do without doing anything irritating or frustrating, so I cycle among two or three apps.

The way I use Twitter has evolved over several years. I expect I will continue refining my tools and techniques, and I’ll update this post with any changes.

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