15 tips for joining in a twitter event

They can be hugely popular. Whole sectors joining in a hashtag for a day to tell their individual day-to-day stories. By putting hundreds together you build a bigger picture. Here are some tips.

by Dan Slee

So, you are wondering whether or not to join in #housingday, #ourday or a similar real time Twitter event.

But I’ll bet you think that you’ve nothing to say and not many people will find what you are doing interesting, right?

Good news. You couldn’t be further from the truth and by taking part you’ll be lending your voice to create a far louder noise around an area that no doubt doesn’t always shout about itself.

Back in 2010, me and some colleagues staged #walsall24 which was the first real-time Twitter event in local government. We won the first LGComms gold social media award and for a day the borough was the centre of the digital universe. People from across the council used Twitter to post the day-to-day things we were doing.

We’d taken the idea from Greater Manchester Police and tweaked it. It’s great to see others now take the idea and tweak it further so it’s the voice of a sector and not just one authority.

The #housingday initiative has grown from strength to strength as a way of telling the social housing story. Like any success, it has many fathers. But Ade Capon from Yorkshire Housing is the man responsible for first taking the plunge.

Here’s 10 ideas to help you make the most of the day

  1. The more mundane it is to you, the more interesting it is to them. Trust me. Everyone thinks they do a fairly dull job. To others its madly interesting.
  2. Tweet the little things. Tell people about the drain cover you just fixed, the window you are replacing, the meeting you’ve been to. It all builds a picture.
  3. Take a picture. A picture tells 1,000 words and when you’ve only got 140 characters that’s pretty useful. People like pictures. They get shared more too. You don’t have to be David Bailey.
  4. Take a video. With Instagram you have about 14 seconds of video that can be shared to Twitter.
  5. Take some audio. Soundcloud is a cracking app that lets you record people talking. Ask someone to say who they are, what they do and what they are doing today. Then share it to Twitter.
  6. Share some content. Press the retweet button and share what other people are doing.
  7. Ask a question. Ask what people think. Ask the for their own experiences.
  8. Follow a member of staff. Pick someone who does a frontline job. Then follow them around. You can tweet about what they are doing and where they are in realtime.
  9. Stage a Q&A. Persuade a senior person to be available to answer questions on a topic. Promote it. Share the answers.
  10. Embed your Twitter stream on the organisations’ website so non-Twitter people can see what is being said.
  11. Build it and they will come is silly. Go offline. Tell people about it. Email them. Put it in team briefings. Shout. Shout. Let it all out.
  12. Capture the tweets you’ll send and the comments you’ll receive on the web. By all means use Storify to capture what is being said. That’s an easy drag and drop web application you can use to preserve things.
  13. Capture the tweets you’ll send and the comments you’ll receive as screenshots. Take a screenshot. Email it to people. The officers in the repairs team. People like that.
  14. Feature the residents. How long has Mrs Smith lived in that house? What does she think of her windows? What could she suggest to improve the area she lives in?
  15. Ask people to do something. Don’t just let the day be just noise. Here’s the thing you’d like people to sign-up for. Here’s the consultation you’d like them to get involved with. Channel all this to help you make a difference.