A journey into the twitter-sphere by a previously reluctant group member.
Having carefully avoided this question for more months than I care to remember, through not wanting to spend still more time on a computer, a colleague’s comment after a lobby meeting got me thinking:
If you’re not tweeting you’re not campaigning.
It may have been made half jokingly but I found myself asking the question 'If I can make the time to get to grips with Twitter, as an integral part of our local group’s toolkit, might our campaigning be rendered more effective as a result?' In short it didn’t take long to decide that it was worth trying after all.
It’s a bit early to say how effective it will be but I feel very optimistic. Early benefits so far have been:
- I’ve really learned a surprising amount just from following other people’s tweets and being selective about who I follow.
- The potential to extend our group’s reach through the informal network that twitter spawns amongst its service user base has really surprised me. This point seems particularly significant when so many people, in our experience, are either unwilling or just unable to attend face to face meetings. My impression is that many people, especially those leading very busy lives, use services like twitter as a type of filter, to take information on the move and having filtered it then determine which matters they’ll pursue and which they won’t. If our group’s not in that loop, the obvious consequences are that we’re just not going to reach those guys with our campaigns.
- Is it worth doing? Well time will tell but the early indications are very promising.
- Am I glad I put the time into it? Yes definitely just from what I’ve learned from other people’s tweets.
- Should others try it? Based on my experience I would say it’s worthy of serious consideration due to its potential reach. Which could be very significant.
- Once it’s set up it is easier than I expected and quite controllable time wise.
- Any down sides? It’s a bit dispiriting at first when the number of followers stands at a big round zero. However WDM colleagues have started following us and that’s been a real morale booster – thanks everyone.
The main task now, I think, is to try and put some interesting and informative tweets out into the ether and gradually try to grow our number of followers. I think I’ll try and prioritise the on-line actions as they’re a time efficient task that busy people can do if they’re so minded.
I hope this encourages other groups to give it a try. As far as I know if we follow each other we shouldn’t end up going round in circles, let’s find out together.
Tim Welch, Milton Keynes WDM (@wdmmkgrp)
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