How I Learned to Twitter: A Social Media Novice’s Journey

I hate social media. Uttering these four words to Communication students at a National Public Relations Conference is like swearing at your grandmother. Picture the shock on your grandmother’s face and you can imagine the kind of looks I got at PRSSA’s National Conference in Atlanta, GA.

Before I got to college, I did not have a Facebook, a Twitter, or a LinkedIn. Now I reluctantly admit that I use all three (though I am actually incredibly proud of my LinkedIn profile so everyone should connect with me). As a future communication professional and current COM student, there is constant pressure to participate on social media, Twitter in particular. Since my Twitter presence was the most lacking and my fellow E-board members continued to harass me to join the COM bandwagon, I figured National Conference would be the perfect time to learn~the Twitter~.

So here is my short collection of things I learned during the long weekend along with some tweets I’m especially proud of:

  1. Examples, Examples, Examples! When you don’t know where to start, learn through example! I followed a few new accounts of other conference attendees in order to see what engaging tweets looked like. By checking out our very own @BUPRSSA run by the lovely Jess G (who’s a real social star), and our friends at @FIT_PRSSA who have such an exciting Twitter presence, I saw what informative and exciting tweets were structured like.
  2. Hashtags are fun! Hashtags are especially fun at events like conferences because they link all of the conference attendees and conference content. Using the conference hashtag #PRSSANC or tagging @PRSSANC sent my tweets to a much larger audience. I tried to use some of my own made up hashtags, many of which weren’t very catchy or clever, but I like to think they contribute to the personality of my social presence. #value#2
  3. People like pictures. Though I’m sure this fact is obvious to all you social media pros, for this Twitter newbie it was quite the revelation! When I started adding photos to my tweets, I proceeded to get more favorites and retweets. And a higher quality photo = a higher quality post.#3
  4. Take notes! Conference sessions can be quite dense, but it was so important to play close attention to everything the speakers were saying. By paying close attention and jotting down notes diligently, I was able to capture each of the speakers’ best moments in order to quote them in my tweets.#4
  5. Make it relevant! With every idea for a tweet I tried to ask myself how I could tie the ideas from the conference to relevant topics in my life or the world. As the conference coordinator for BU, PRAdvanced: Tune In! was constantly on my mind. I worked to tie many of my tweets regarding ideas from speakers and my experience at national conference to my thoughts and ideas for PRAdvanced.

So there you have it, a few of my Twitter lessons! I am still a firm believer in the fact that you don’t need to love or be good at social media in order to succeed in the communication world, I do believe that it is a skill everyone should try and understand. Though I am far from a Twitter pro, and I cannot exactly admit that I love to tweet quite yet, I am one step closer to becoming a #goodCOMstudent.

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