The Deets on Tweets – Michaela & Hamdi

More than the internet’s unofficial stream-of-consciousness, Twitter offers online communicators a platform to build and maintain brands. (“Twitter” licensed by Miki J. under CC BY-NC 2.0)

Click here for a compilation of our tweets in Storify.

By Michaela

Twitter is certainly an effective tool for communicating. From individuals and small businesses, to large corporations, the proper use of Twitter is a great way to promote and enhance. Twitter is a platform to share new and innovative ideas, endorse and promote a brand, and keep society updated.  One of my main focuses for the assignment was to capture images or moments that would entice my audience—primarily my classmates. It was sometimes a struggle to stay original and creative, however, this itself was rewarding. I found out a lot about MacEwan University and the downtown area of Edmonton from the research and hands-on tasks that came with the assignment.

Capped at 140-characters per post, good tweets need to be concise.  (“Twitter” licensed by Uncalno Techno under CC BY 2.0)

Another struggle was being concise. Often, there is so much to be said. It can be difficult to cut out information, and select the best portion. The ability to mold a message into a small character count, while still relaying a captivating message, is one that I think comes with practice. This skill is also useful across many sectors of life, such as strong rhetoric in speech.

Personally, I think organizations—such as MacEwan—could benefit from including more photos, videos, and captivating quotes to their tweets. The information supplied by corporate and academic Twitter pages seems a bit dry at times.
Because it is social media, there are many individuals and organizations striving to gain an audience on platforms such as Twitter, making the competition for original tweets large. People follow specific Twitter accounts not only for the news and updates, but for the specific style of content. The facts and statistics should not only be true and informative, but presented in an eye-catching manor. MacEwan does a great job on their Twitter account by staying connected with their audience—the retweets and replies are always quick. This shows their loyalty, contributing greatly to their brand.

Twitter Influence
A social media strategy and quality content makes all the difference between users and influencers online (“Twitter Influence” licensed by Bernard Goldbach under CC BY 2.0)

I believe any organization benefits greatly from the help of a communications team. People want to know where their money is going, what a business stands for, what an organizations brand is—so that they can connect. Social media is a free and advanced way to advertise one’s brand or organization, in turn building a following, and sometimes profit. The use of a communications professional ensures that the messages being addressed across social media platforms is clear, concise, and creative.



By Hamdi

From the flurry of hyperlinks and hashtags to the clipped register and endless stream of (often) unfiltered thoughts, Twitter can look like a mess.

Twitter is over capacity
From an outsider’s perspective, the volume and format of tweets can, at times, feel overwhelming (“Twitter is over capacity” by Xuanxu under CC BY-SA 2.0)

But it’s a manageable mess.

In my reporting, it’s been a great tool for tracking sources, conversations, events, and even the odd quote. Search filters and lists help you tailor and organize feeds. But that’s a passive user’s perspective. As an active user, I can appreciate the potential for brand and relationship building, and the skill it takes to do it right. To this end, media attachments and tags are necessary tools for the online communicator.

Tweets that get the most clicks and furthest reach tend to have pictures, videos, gifs, audio clips – anything more than just text. Richer posts give followers a greater sense the tweeter’s personality and a better chance of forming an emotional connection with the brand. But more than that, multimedia posts draw eyeballs and get users to linger, possibly respond, like, or even retweet your content to their own followers. Retweets can give tweets a whole new life on another’s timeline.

Hashtags allow users to target specific conversations and trends (“Hashtags” licensed by nina_pic under CC BY-NC 2.0)

Tagging draws focused attention from specific users (@MacEwanU) or groups in conversation (#BCSC202b). Endorsements from popular and verified accounts give tweets more weight and visibility from wider networks. We got the attention of @MacEwanU, for example, by tagging it in tweets that aligned with its brand: academic initiatives, positive reviews of the school, and faculty success stories.

Comments criticizing the school’s Wi-Fi, on the other hand, went untouched. No surprise there.

Otherwise, hashtags can target specific crowds like #yeg (Edmonton) or #Scandal (for fans of the TV series) and garner views on regional or international scales if the tag is trending.

Even though we were just filling out a checklist, this assignment got me to appreciate the time and work it takes to use Twitter effectively. Anybody can tweet a picture of lunch, but learning to spot promotional opportunities and deciding how and when to frame, tag, share, and engage with others takes training and discipline. Our periscope video, for example, didn’t get as much play as I’d hoped, but I never took timing or production quality into account. I’m not the most avid user, but 11:30 a.m. on a Wednesday probably isn’t social media primetime.


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