Twitter is my personal social platform of choice for so many reasons. Because of this, I’ve given a lot of thought to how I use Twitter and my community is always first in my mind. However, I have several communities and balancing those needs with the rest of the community can be challenging.  Inspired by Jeremiah Owyang’s article, which he refers to regularly, I’m writing my own post to help my community better understand how I use Twitter and how they can get more out of following me.

I do have conversations over Twitter.
At its heart, Twitter is about connecting with people as opposed to broadcasting. For that reason I make no apologies about having conversation on Twitter. When I think its relevant to only to the community of the two people conversing, I’ll simply @mention the person when I begin the tweet. This is a little known secret, when you begin a tweet with an @mention, that tweet is only visible to those community members who follow both the sender and the recipient. In this way, I try to minimize the reach of those chatty conversations. This said, I’ll be increasing the “thanks for sharing” posts as Direct Messages or combining them together. I know its nice to mention those people publicly so others can find new Twitter followers, but I feel like we all now have lots of great ways to find new Twitter followers and this is sort of an outdated practice.

If you don’t like social chatter: Follow my hashtag #akamaimkting:
I don’t just tag my own posts with this hashtag, I utilize it as a mini curation tool for my audience. Sometimes, I actually tell  my clients, follow my hashtag for hints and tips throughout the week, its like a free bonus round for everyone, including my clients.  If you want to get right to the meat of the best social media blogs, articles and research that I’m reading, create a keyword stream using that  hashtag and skip the rest of the noise.

I try to focus local info to the later part of the afternoon.
I’m fairly involved with the local community and have I’m fortunate to have lots of local conversation on Twitter.  That means events and lots of hashtag usage. In the evenings, you’ll see a lot more local conversation and chatter. Check me out in the evenings to see where I am or hear about local events, nonprofits efforts I see and other community activism pieces. I can’t say that I NEVER mention local information during the day – but its heavier in the evening my local time. Its one of the built in advantages of living in the last time zone in the United States.

 My Tweetstream is not for sale.
I choose what to say and how to say it. I represent myself. I may mention clients, but I do so out of my own decision and its never part of my contract. That said, I often do get passionate about my clients, so you’ll sometimes see RT’s from them in my stream, but there, they reflect my own passions, interests and thoughts.

I use hashtags and I’m not ashamed. 
I think hashtags are one of the most brilliant elements of Twitter. The elegance of organizing conversation in this way is beautiful (reference my use of #akamaimkting to enable clients to cut through the clutter.)  I probably have 15-20 hashtag streams throughout my Hootsuite account. Hashtags organize a conversation and are a virtual invitation for others to join.  I see a lot of recommendations not to use hashtags, and for my personal account that doesn’t work for me. I might recommend to a client that they minimize hashtag use…or I might not. Hashtags are a powerful tool and I think Twitter don’t use it enough.