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May 2010

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« CLEAR Training in Washington, DC - Social Media and Mobile Tools | Main | A Social Media Cliff Hanger: Making Sure Your Parachute Opens »


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Barry A. Martin

Hi Beth, it's not a sophisticated tip, but may be useful to entry level folks.
The sooner you can get off and onto a desktop app–I'm currently using Nambu (mac), but many people are happy w/tweetdeck, etc–the sooner you can start creating persistent searches.

I use this a bit like RSS feeds. For example, I have clients in food and hunger spaces, so I have search terms like "food", "policy", "research", and names of local policy-makers and people I want to follow.

If I don't have a lot of time to socialize, but I want to make sure to catch certain things, these are the conversations I peek at.

That help?


I make sure that I have RSS feeds set-up for Twitter searches for my org's name (and several ways it is misspelled)as well as several of our key programs. Because we're a Jewish org I also have RSS searches set up for terms like "Jewish" and "Israel" but use the advance search functions to limit the results to tweeters in the DC area since they are my primary audience and those terms return a massive number of results without them. I am liking the addition of saved search options to the sidebar of Twitter, but wish they would incorporate the advance search options with them to make them more useful. I also use Splitweet to monitor both personal and business twitter accounts -- you can set-up brand alert monitors through that site, but they are unreliable and very time-limited.

Zan McColloch-Lussier

I was originally opposed to using Twitter for our nonprofit- because I saw it as broadcasting and not listening. I was so wrong. It is a great resource for listening.

I don't have any fancy tricks, but what I do is add search terms on TweetDeck for current issues which affect our work. We are a community foundation that serves the Northwest LGBT community. So right now I have search terms set up for "anchorage discrimination" (because some of our grantees are working on this) and "Pride scholarships" (because we just awarded them). This is an easy way to see what other people are talking about issues we care about, so we can follow them.

I also use tweetbeep, which will email you whenever a search term you put in is tweeted. you can direct it to only pick up tweets from a certain georgraphy. the system goes down sometimes, but it has been helpful.

Maryann Devine

Thanks so much, Beth, for pointing us towards What The Trend! Those mystery hashtags kind of drive me crazy -- I've been wishing for some sort of hashtag directory or translator for quite a while now. Yay for What The Trend!

Matt Koltermann

For Cross-Cultural Solutions' Twitter stream, @volunteerabroad, we use two people and a combination of HootSuite and CoTweet to monitor keywords and manage our presence.

One of us is primarily responsible for broadcasting tweets about our volunteer abroad programs, relevant industry happenings, and other interesting tidbits of cultural interest, and she uses HootSuite to schedule them. We definitely like HootSuite because it's a web app (I've tried so many desktop Twitter apps, but I'm just not a fan of not being able to access settings and persistent search queries across multiple computers, so I'm always partial to web apps), but we use it mostly because it allows multiple admins and has a great scheduling interface. Broadcasted content makes up about, oh, 30-40% of our tweets.

Then there's CoTweet, which I use for the majority of my monitoring and conversational tasks. I LOVE CoTweet for monitoring because it's tweet assignment workflow works really well for me: I like to do all monitoring tasks first, and then all response tasks second.

I have about eight persistent search queries that I browse through a few times each day and, rather than responding to each tweet as I see it, I assign it to myself to handle later (the back-and-forth between monitoring and response used to short-circuit my brain, so now I just do one at a time). Then, when I'm through with monitoring my searches, I go to the "Follow Up" pane and process all the tweets I assigned to myself.

So, right: CoTweet's designed to work best in a multi-person admin environment, but I'm the only one using it at the moment. The reason is, though I'm bullish about CoTweet's future and how our organization can really benefit from it as our presence grows, I find that its tweet-sending and scheduling tools very often have issues with the Twitter API, which makes it very unreliable and not worth rolling out to other staff members at this time. But, it's web app-ness, monitoring tools, and assignment workflow totally work for me, so that's what keeps me coming back...even if it means I end up having to go to Twitter to respond to tweets I've assigned myself through CoTweet.

Regarding the search queries I monitor, for an example, I've found that I've had success with reaching out to peeps on Twitter who have said they're looking to "volunteer abroad" or "volunteer overseas" or "volunteer in Africa," many of whom who have thanked me for taking the initiative to point them to us as a program they can consider.

Oh, and thanks for the BackTweets reminder! It hadn't occurred to me that people would type our entire URL in their tweets. Found a whole bunch that totally made my day.

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