Reasons Why I Tweet at a Conference (Inspired by Kent Brooks’ “10 Reasons to Tweet at a Conference”)

AACC 94th Annual Conference in Washington, DC

AACC 94th Annual Conference in Washington, DC

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is about the descend on Washington, DC, this weekend! This annual conference is where the leaders, movers, shakers and do-ers who work at or affiliated with community colleges assemble. With the theme of the 94th conference being “Great Expectations: Implementing a 21st Century Student Success Agenda“, you can imagine that the conversation will be forward-thinking and inspiring.

The University of the District of Columbia Community College (UDC-CC) is sending nearly twenty representatives to the conference, taking advantage of the location being our back yard. The divisions of Academic Affairs, Student Achievement and Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning all have poster sessions and various representatives attending. (Keep an eye out for us; we’ll be the ones with the UDC-CC lanyards!)

With a mission that is focused on student success, UDC-CC has made an effort in recent years to send staff whenever possible to this conference in order to connect with like-minded professionals who are working toward similar goals. Every time we have attended we have taken a great deal away from the conference.

Now, most of my colleagues are still not inspired by the world of Twitter. In a previous post, I noted 7 Reasons Why You Should Be on Twitter. That was two years ago, and while I have not won all my colleagues over (*wink wink nudge nudge UDC-CC folks*) I feel it is once again time to take up the call, this time in relation to tweeting at conferences.

Anyone who has seen me at conferences, whether NACUBO or HACU or EDUCAUSE, will know that I’m the one typing away furiously on my iPad, flipping between notes on my Notability app to Twitter where I’m also taking notes and sharing quotes. Tweeting during a conference is one of the best ways I have found for keeping track of all the information I am taking in and for seeing what is happening in other sessions.

Kent Brooks wrote a blog on “10 Reasons to Tweet at a Conference” (which you should read). I love this list, because it quickly points to all the reasons I find Twitter use appealing during conferences.

  • I, too, type faster than I write, so typing my notes is a great way to store them.
  • I like sharing “take-aways” from the various speeches and sessions I attend.
  • I find other individuals who are tweeting their thoughts about the session (or other sessions) and can compare that to my own experience, which helps broaden my perspective.This is also helpful if I missed an exact quote – a fellow tweeter may have caught it, tweeted it, and then I can copy it into my own notes.
  • I meet people! “Hey, aren’t you the one who was posting all those tweets? Those were great!” (I have even been asked to take on a more official tweeting capacity while in attendance)
  • I gain resources, both human and other. A simple example of other types of resources gained is a great picture from somebody sitting closer to the front of the room of a prominent speaker. (At AACC, we’ll have several well-knowns, including Colin Powell and Joe Biden).

If you haven’t tried tweeting at a conference, I really encourage you to do so. I can elevate your experience and broaden your appreciation for the conference you are attending.

And if you make new friends in the process, all the better!

See you all at AACC!

Hashtags of Note:

  • #AACCAnnual (main conference hashtag)
  • #UDCCC (check out what my team is up to!)
  • #comm_college
  • #AACC
  • #DC

Raysa’s #FF Tweeps to Follow – 5/11/12

#FF – Follow Friday on Twitter

Raysa’s #FF (“Follow Friday”) Picks of the Week – 5/11/12

Starting this week, I’ll be suggesting Twitter users to follow across various categories. For those who aren’t familiar with hashtag-FF, #FF stands for “Follow Friday”. Every Friday, many Twitter users use this hashtag on tweets to suggest tweeps to follow. Getting a #FF is always nice, and it helps connect Twitter users with similar interests. I’ve found a number of great tweeps by following users mentioned in #FF posts.

Many people start with Twitter and have no idea what to do after they’ve joined. As I’ve mentioned one of my previous posts, 7 Reasons Why You Should Be on Twitter, there’s a number of things you can do when you’re first starting out. One suggestion I made was follow user accounts that relate to your interests.

Here are some suggestions that span the interest areas of this blog.

Technology & Social Media

If you’re into technology and want to know the latest, particularly in the online and social media world, check out the following:

  • @techcrunch – Tech news. Lots of it. Good for knowing the latest.
  • @mashable – Lots of information on what’s going on in social media. A sub-account worth reading is @charlie_white, Senior Editor. (He often posts news before it hits the main Mashable Twitter account).
  • @TweetSmarter – If you need to know more about Twitter, this is a great place to find tips and tricks.

Folks I Connected with via LinkedIn’s “Social Media News” Group

Real people! And ones who are interested in social media. Following brands and companies is all well and good, but it’s nice to read posts by people involved in my areas of interest. Even with companies working to be more personable and engaging, you can’t beat the quirky greatness of truly personal tweets.

  • @Deondriea – I love her style. She’s so much fun to read. Go check out her tweets and see if they don’t make you smile. 🙂
  • @SaraLDonnelly – Interests span social media to lyme disease. Check her out and get variety!
  • @jennykaypollock – Social media posts + lots of friendliness! Responsive and a consistent updater. I definitely enjoy reading her tweets.
  • @Steveology – Lots of posting going on here and much and more of it is about social media. If you want as much info as you can handle (second only perhaps, on my feed, to @jeffbullas when it comes to social media, blogging and personal branding), check out this guy!

Personal Finance

There are LOTS of these, so I’ll just mention a few I find post really great content.

  • @Kiplinger – Yep, I mentioned them in a previous post, and if you’re at all interested in personal finance I suggest keeping up with their tweets. They have great articles, good tips and lots of relevant info.
  • @SmartMoney – The Wall Street Journal’s personal finance magazine. Many times their tweets take you to the heart of a financial matter and give you something to think about.
  • @LearnVest – A great resource for women interested in personal finance (though the info is relevant for men, too).
  • @MoneyUnder30 – Financial advice posts for those who are just starting out with financial planning (the under 30 crowd).
  • @deaconhayes – A new find with interesting finance posts. Check out his blog at Looking forward to keeping up with his work.


Remember to check out your favorites across music, TV, books, etc. I’ll share just a couple of my entertainment faves here:

  • Authors@askanyone, Sloane Crosley. Witty tweets that remind me a lot of her writing style. (If you haven’t read her books, do it! Her essays had me laughing out loud on the metro more than once).
  • Movies@boxofficemojo – I’m geeky enough to enjoy movie stats, particularly how much money blockbusters rake in during their opening weekends. (Avengers, anyone?)
  • Books & TV Shows – Game of Thrones. For the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, @westerosorg (they’ve got all the info). For the TV show, @GameOfThrones.
  • TV Shows – New Girl. Seriously, who doesn’t love this show? @NewGirlonFOX. Also, the actor who plays Schmidt often has fun tweets over at @iamgreenfield.

Alright, I’m done throwing out names! Hopefully I’ve given you some interesting accounts to consider following and ideas about who and what to look for on Twitter.

One last thought: Check out who your friends are following! Often you’ll find accounts you’re interested in my looking through their lists of who their Following and also their Followers. Happy Twitter-ing, tweeps!

Note: I’m not affiliated with any of the entities listed above. I just enjoy reading their tweets. 🙂

7 Reasons Why You Should Be on Twitter

[Note: This post is written for those who are newcomers to the Twitterverse. For those who are experienced Twitter users, please feel free to leave encouraging comments below for those who are thinking of joining Twitter. What do you think are the best reasons for joining Twitter?]


Why Should I Use Twitter?

I get this question a lot from my friends. Whenever I pry into the reason for their question, it has to do with the fact that most people want to “get” Twitter before using it.

I think this is a terribly flawed way to approach this form of social media, because Twitter is something you have to experience to find out how it can be valuable to you personally. While Pinterest or Instagram make perfect sense from the get-go (“Oh, you share pictures! On one I share whatever images I want to with my friends and on the other I share my own pictures? That makes sense” *Runs off to download the app*), Twitter takes a bit more explaining. Perhaps it’s because a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps it requires a bit more effort to justify to folks the value of writing in 140 characters or less.

There are many, many blog articles detailing why young professionals and businesses should have Twitter accounts. Just Google it, and you’ll run into a myriad a professional reasons why you should be on Twitter right now. (Right now!) But if you’re like I was not so long ago and feel that you’re looking for that precise reason or reasons why you personally should be on Twitter . . .well, let’s talk about them.

1) It’s Not Scary

Contrary to what I think must be some subconscious conviction, Twitter will not bite. You can create an account in just a few steps and then you’re free to explore. I often feel that when I meet folks who are not yet comfortable with technology, what holds them back is a fear that something is going to go wrong. Now, there are times in the technological world where this fear is justified. But I’m here to tell you that in this case, with this form of media, it’s ok. Deep breath now, and say it with me: It’s ok. You will not break the internet (or you computer/laptop/iPhone/Android, etc) by creating a Twitter account.

2) It’s Free

For those who don’t find technology complicated and a bit intimidating, but still need a reason . . . well, if Point #2 isn’t one of the best reasons to try out Twitter then I don’t know what is (aside from perhaps point #3 below). It costs absolutely nothing to test this form of social media. Many of us rush at the chance to jump on the free bandwagon (side note: did you know there is a Twitter account dedicated to free stuff? @free. Actually, I’m quite sure there’s more than one Twitter account dedicated to information on free stuff … all of which you would have access to the minute you create a Twitter account). Don’t let Twitter be your exception!

3) It’s Easy

It really is. All you need is an email address, an idea for your Twitter handle (that’s the name of your account that follows the “@”-symbol, e.g. @Raysa_Leer), and (if you want to seem a little less “It’s obvious I’m new to all this”/like a newbie) a simple picture added to your profile so people know you’re a real person. I recommend a simple headshot.

All About Twitter in 2012Facebook 2012

Twitter 2012: The Freshest Statistics on the King of Microblogging Services by Infographiclabs

Now that we’ve gotten past all the reasons that will lead you to the actual point of creation, let’s talk about why having a Twitter account is useful:

4) You Don’t Have to DO Anything. You Can Simply Follow Others and Read Their Tweets

Many people are held back from Twitter because they can’t think of what they’d write in 140 characters or less and can’t see why they’d follow anyone else writing that way either. After all, who wants to get a live stream of snippets of information about someone’s day or what they’re eating or the cute thing their child just said? Isn’t that the problem with Facebook status updates these days? (“When I was your age, a Facebook status was preceded by the word ‘is’ and you had to be actually DOING something to update, or you looked like an idiot. Now you can say anything you want! Harumph!”)

Ok, point taken. But with the large number of people, businesses and organizations on Twitter you can choose who to follow. You can only follow professional, well-written Tweeps (another word for people who use Twitter…and no, you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to) or folks who write entirely in abbreviations. Whatever makes you happy. You have the power of choice in this.

No one requires you to tweet once you have an account. There is no daily, weekly, monthly quota of tweets you have to meet. Contributing is entirely up to you. If you want an account solely for the purpose of reading the content of others, there is nothing wrong with that. Jump on, follow a bunch of accounts and read away! (I will say, however, that once you’ve been on Twitter for a while, odds are you will want to join in with thoughts of your own. Reading everyone else’s tweets will inspire you to add some of your own. It’s like joining in on a big party!)

5) You Can Keep Up With Your Favorite Friends and Family Members/Artists/Sports Team/TV Shows/Movies/Political Groups/etc.

This is what clinched the deal for me. I believe I first started to use Twitter to follow accounts connected with a TV show I was watching at the time. Then I realized I could search for anything that interested me! Before long I became connected to a many of my favorite TV shows, political figures, favorite authors, local concert halls, and various social media-related accounts. Everyone and everything seemed to be on Twitter! Truly, these days I’m more surprised by what I don’t find on Twitter than what I do.

6) You Can Follow Your Favorite Topics

Twitter allows you to keep up to date with your favorite topics. Are you interested in education? What about nursing? Are you a business professional, looking for the latest information in your field? What if you have personal hobbies such as writing, sewing, hiking, kayaking, wine tasting or traveling? Twitter allows you to follow accounts that match your interests.

And it isn’t only about following specific accounts. Some of you may have seen the “#”-symbol floating around, perhaps in a friend’s Facebook status or even being used in text messages. On Twitter, the “#”-symbol is called a “hashtag”. What are these? When I first started using Twitter, I had to learn what hashtags were and how to use them. Twitter gives a brief explanation here. Other sites go even more in depth, like here. Hashtags are used before words or phrases that are relevant to your tweet and make that word or phrase searchable on Twitter. Users can look up topics of interest by hashtags (e.g. “#education” or “#winetasting”) in the Twitter search field to find tweets about those topics. Twitter is a one-stop shop for all kinds of information.

7) You Can Get Information in Real Time

Facebook is great, but how often do you realize you’ve found something out on FB an hour or half a day after it has happened? If you want to know the instant your favorite band’s concert tickets have dropped or get a blow-by-blow account of your favorite sports game, TV show, etc, having a Twitter account is a great way to get information in real time, as things are happening!  This has many practical applications as well.  For example, you could choose to follow accounts that will give you updates on local news, traffic, weather or city/regional events in order to better plan your day or make the most of your weekend. And all that information can be found in one place, saving you a search across multiple websites!

Reviewing Our Reasons, One More Time

So what are the reasons you should be on Twitter?

  1. It’s not scary
  2. It’s free
  3. It’s easy
  4. You’re not required to do anything once you have an account. What you do it up to you.
  5. You can follow people and things (friends and family, TV shows, music groups, sports teams, etc)
  6. You can follow accounts and tweets related to your interests (personal or professional)
  7. You can get information in real time, right away

The possibilities of what you can do with Twitter seem to be expanding all the time. Not everyone uses Twitter the same way, and that’s ok! Twitter is what you make of it, and there’s no right way to make Twitter your own. Who knows? Perhaps, after some time, you’ll find you want to add your two cents to the online discussions. If so, that’s great! We’ll talk more about ideas for what you can tweet about later.

Where to Start When You Have an Account

I’m sure we’ll talk more about this in upcoming posts, but for those to take the leap and create an account, here’s what you can do to start with:

  • Find your friends and family. Connecting to people you already know allows you to have a personal connection with what’s being posted and to see how they’re using Twitter.
  • Think of 5 topics of interest (personal or professional) you want to know more about. Search them out in Twitter, both by keywords and by hashtag searches.
  • Consider searching for accounts that relate to local interests and issues (accounts related to the neighborhood or city or state you live in). A good example is searching for local news accounts. Also, search for accounts related to your hometown, especially if you no longer live there. Reading about news from where you grew up helps you feel connected to the community.
  • Search out groups you have a connection with. Maybe there’s a Twitter account for your church, your softball league, your club, your alma mater, your professional industry. You might be surprised at what you find!
  • Download the Twitter app to your SmartPhone. Reading tweets on the go is a great way to stay informed and an excellent time-waster.
If You’re Going to Tweet, What Not to Do
  • Don’t share private, personal information! This includes the obvious: passwords, DOB, SSN, credit card  or other financial information, telephone number, and email address you don’t want made public, etc.
  • Don’t say anything you don’t want getting out publicly. This is the internet. It’s a very bad idea to bad-mouth your boss or backstab a friend in a tweet. Even private tweets aren’t safe because one of your approved followers might still share what you post. Use common sense!
  • Don’t tweet dates you’re traveling or are on holiday. It’s a great way for burglars to know when you won’t be home! This also means you shouldn’t post too much about your daily schedule. (Also, something that’s just my own personal preference, but I would suggest that if you have a foursquare account that you NOT share every check-in on Twitter. That is far too much information about where you are all the time for those who wish to do you or your property harm. The odd share now and again probably won’t hurt, but be thoughtful of how much you share publicly).
  • Don’t be offensive. Yes, free speech is great but certain posts can get you kicked off Twitter. No violence or threats directed towards others, no pornography. You can read the Twitter rules here. No one can stop you from posting your views or opinions, however extreme, but you might want to consider how far what you post could spread before saying certain things.
  • Be careful when talking about others in your tweets. Some folks prefer working in a world of anonymity online and may not want you to splash their real names all over your tweets. I prefer referring to individuals by their Twitter handle (e.g. @usernameX) rather than by their real name. Make sure you know what your friends and followers are most comfortable with before mentioning them in your posts.

That’s all for now. I hope this post has given you some reasons to join and some places to start. Comment below if you’re a new user that has decided to join Twitter. What convinced you? If you’re still thinking about joining, tell me what’s holding you back? I look forward to hearing your feedback!

Join now!