December 3rd, 2008
Although Twitter has turned into an (almost) instant messenger service, it was originally designed as a microblogging tool. The idea was to give short updates on what’s going on around you to a group of friends.
Twitter does still work well that way. Only now, your group of “friends” might be thousands of people, and what’s going on around you might be a natural disaster, an election or a concert. Twitter can be an excellent tool for “live Tweeting” these big events.
Here are five tricks for getting the most out of your live Tweeting:
1. Pick the right event (note: funerals are the wrong event). Ideally, the event you want to live Tweet would be interesting to the vast majority of your followers. Bonus points if it’s an event a lot of people want to attend but can’t get into and it’s not televised.
2. Tweet as often as is needed, but not too much. Yeah, that’s horribly vague, but if you use Twitter for a while, you’ve seen someone do “too much” on Twitter. If you flood your followers with too many Tweets, no matter how interesting they may be, you’ll annoy them and maybe even lose them. If you must live Tweet an event from an account with diverse followers, be sensitive to the fact that a lot of your followers might not care. In that case, keep Tweets to a minimum (hit only the high points). If you feel like you need a lot of Tweets from the event, start a separate account just for that event. If possible, start that new Twitter account well before the event and try to recruit followers who might be interested in that event to follow the new account.
3. Follow regular good practices on Twitter. When you find a relevant, useful tweet from someone else at the same event, retweet them. Reply to people who ask you questions. Thank people for helping you out.
4. Don’t #go #hashtag #crazy. They’re #annoying. It’s OK to use a hashtag in moderation (as in one or at most two per Tweet). Hastags do have a place – they allow for people to aggregate Tweets from an event and give an easy way to find event-specific Tweets in Twitter search.
5. If possible, post photos, quotes from people at the event and any observations that you truly think will be useful to your followers. Content is, as always, king.