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April 4, 2016 / Ciara Myers, Editor

What’s all the fuss about Twitter?

by Ciara Myers
Program Associate
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Recently, Twitter celebrated its 10th birthday. For a decade now, all over the world people from varying backgrounds have been able to share their most inspiring, funny, informative, and thought-provoking, in-the-moment ideas in just 140 characters. Social movements, including #BlackLivesMatter, #OccupyWallStreet, the #IceBucketChallenge, and countless others have gained momentum and spread like wildfire due to the ease of typing a simple message with a hashtag attached. And when you think about how we receive breaking news today, compared to how we received it years ago, things are vastly different. Now, you can click on a hashtag and find out why you may have just seen several police cars zoom past you; see what happened on your favorite TV show last night; or even get updated on the highlights of that big conference you weren’t able to attend.

But I’m not on Twitter, I’m decidedly anti-social media, and that’s just who I am,” you may say. Well, here’s the part where I (hopefully) change your mind, at least about Twitter, a social media platform that is so simple that it’s almost foolproof:

  • First, it’s free to sign up. When your organization releases its latest report or has its biggest event of the year, there are a number of ways you can promote it – many of which cost money. With Twitter, you can craft a clear, concise message to let people know of your new offering, pair it with an interesting visual and a link to view more information, and with brevity, ease of task, and visual appeal, you have now promoted that new report or that big event.
  • Next, Twitter is a great site for learning. Let’s say you have been in the dark about an important social issue that affects your community. Not only can you scroll down your timeline and find all the resources that people and organizations you follow have shared, but you can also click on a hashtag to find out what people are saying about issues that matter, like affordable housing (#GretchenTweets), racism (#PuttingRacismOnTheTable), corporate social responsibility (#InstituteforCSR) and more.
  • Finally, Twitter is a great way to learn about what’s going on in the world from the perspective of real people, not communications professionals. And, don’t forget, you’re one of those “real” people, too. People are interested in finding out your thoughts, learning more about what you think matters in the world. And just when you think you simply don’t have time to tweet, there are tools you can use to schedule your tweets ahead. The ideas and activities are already in your head. The time commitment is minimal.

Have I convinced you? Are you reconsidering your stance on Twitter? It’s a platform that can truly create a sense of community and camaraderie with those involved in the same line of work as you. No one is ever too old, too computer-illiterate, or too late to join in. When you do decide to join, follow us @WRAGTweets and WRAG president Tamara Lucas Copeland @WRAGPrez. You now have all the tools you need to catch up on what you’ve been missing. We’ll see you on Twitter!

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