The Association of Professional Futurists (APF) is planning to host a new apf #futrchat. The inaugural chat is Thursday Oct 14, 2010, 4:00-5:00 pm EST on The Future of Education. Use #futrchat #apf; we’d love for others to join in.
Some members asked for a quick intro for using twitter.Here’s the basics.
Sign up . It’s simple; requires a 160 character bio, avatar image, and eventually a background. All which can be changed later.
Join the conversation. Please let me know you’ve arrived, just cc: @urbanverse in the tweet and I will see it. Then I’ll reply/tweet back and others will see you. Re: content, I rarely post what I am doing. Breakfast news? Naw. Giving a presentation? Sure. Peak oil stats, a new vertical farm, those are worthy. Post a link to an article or something meaningful about the day, your work.
Not: What are you doing? It’s: What can you share?
As you converse and follow, your community grows. Twitter is a light, loose tool; you make it what you want. You can see others’ conversations and they can see yours – get used to it. It’s all public. Follow whomever you want, theQueen of Jordan or the local bakery to catch today’s specials.
Tweetdeck allows you to have multiple columns open simultaneously and group people according to interests. This is the “client” tool I use for most of my tweets because I’m working from a desktop or laptop. Hootsuite enables sharing, managing, and analyzing from a single dashboard. Close to half of all tweets are from mobile devices so people use other applications.
What’s different for futurists?
What is particularly useful for futurists? In a word: Search. While searching is perhaps intriguing to others, it’s the lifeblood of futures work. On twitter, you see real time stories by witnesses and advocates (recognizing the pitfalls of immediacy), articles posted by authors, links via experts (such as my futurists list), and information through news feeds like @nytimes. It’s a bit like RSS or Google with expert guides, who are the people and organizations that you follow. You shape your experience with those follows and your searches by topic. When you open your twitter homepage, you will see in your feed what we (the people you follow) are searching today.
The best way to search on twitter is to build your network and watch for patterns. It’s the most time consuming too. Some tools will help you organize specific searches
Tweetdeck allows you to have multiple search columns open simultaneously.
Here’s a comparison of six search services.
This list of 50 ways to search twitter should satisfy your needs.
Initially, you might find primarily today’s news. Many search apps focus on trending topics, which are frequently curious and amusing but rarely useful. I did get a sense that the average twitter age was decreasing based on trends, long before stats came out. But that was more of a casual observation than a research project, a sense because I was in the space daily. To get better hits efficiently, you need to craft your search terms, build a network of trusted sources, and monitor patterns.
Twitter is not a stand-alone site. It’s a screen for monitoring and connecting. Darren Rouse @problogger calls it, an outpost. He puts his blog in the center of his web presence; that’s the way to think for monetization purposes. You want to attract people to your site, your storefront.
For accessing the public brain, twitter is the center. It makes sites, ideas, people, events, causes visible. It is the agora, the public square. As a futurist and researcher, I think in terms of open knowledge, (pre)emergent ideas, and a shared community that is accessible on twitter.
If your interest is to influence as a thought leader, then you want to spend far more time on blog content development, follow lists of influencers (different than early signals), engage them on twitter and on their blogs, and track twitter and your blog traffic daily with analytics.
What’s Your Experience?
I wonder how other futurists use twitter and the other social media sites?
Do non-futurists use it in a similar way? Or do you have a different take?
Ok, new users (or current users), does this help? Make sense? I have internalized a lot of the early steps, so please, if you have questions, just ask.
images: 17 ways to visualize the twitter universe. on Flowing Data.