Navigating the murky waters of Twitter

While I consider myself to be fairly tech savvy, I’ve been discovering how little I know about some things. I’m referring specifically to Twitter.

Ever since I discovered Facebook and was able to reconnect with childhood and high school friends, I’ve been hooked. But I’ve since learned that Facebook can also be an important piece in a journalist’s toolbox. And we’ve certainly implemented Facebook – and Twitter for that matter – into our Daily Freeman-Journal online media offerings.

But Twitter has been a bit of a mystery to me. It took a while to understand the terminology like hashtags, retweets and Follow Friday (#FF), the shortcuts and how to reply to comments. Frankly, I have a personal Twitter account with a meager 27 followers. Mostly I just read what all of the people I’m following (214) are saying. One of the coolest things that happened to me on Twitter, was when I made a comment about the TV show “The View,” and Whoopie Goldberg replied. At least I think it was Whoopie sometimes it’s hard to tell if it’s the actual person or someone posing as them. It can be a bit confusing.

But this week, the Chamber of Commerce brought in a pro to teach area business people – eager Twitter newbies – how to navigate through those murky waters. I wouldn’t say I’m a Twitter aficionado, but I’m certainly more informed than I was earlier this week. The workshop was part of the Chamber’s “From How to Wow” educational series. Rob Williams, a business analyst at University of Northern Iowa and UNI team lead for IASourceLink, parted those murkey waters for a roomful of local business people and showed us all how Twitter can benefit a business. He demonstrated how we could reach out and find other Twitter users in the area, showed examples of businesses with a strong Twitter presence and even showed ways for a business to increase its number of followers.

So now I?feel even more tech savvy and ready to cast my pearls of wisdom out into the Twittersphere, carefully, of course. The workshop this week made it very clear that once you push the send button, that tweet is out there forever and ever. All the more reason to double- even triple – check the content being sent. As the saying goes, better safe than sorry.