How can I get more Twitter followers? —Gabriel Arana
Twitter has become indispensable for journalists. Not because it’s the best place to find sources (though it can be useful for that) and not because it leads to the most productive conversation (though it can be quite inspiring), but because it’s the profession’s digital watercooler. Admittedly, the logic is kind of circular: Journalists, especially those looking to advance their career, should be on Twitter because other journalists are on Twitter. Here’s how to get greater exposure there:
1. Be consistent. Tweet at least a few times each weekday. If you have a hard time finding “tweet-worthy” links, pay attention to your other sharing habits. What have you Gchatted a friend about today? What topics did you bring up in the morning edit meeting? Which headlines leapt out at you as you scrolled through The New York Times or your RSS reader?
2. Don’t hit that “retweet” button so often. As often as possible, have your 140-character summary and your avatar show up in your followers’ feeds. Put things in your voice.
3. Quote the most interesting fact from a piece you’re tweeting, rather than just summarizing it headline-style. Sometimes headlines can work on Twitter, but more often it’s a shocking fact or a succinct quote that will prompt people to click.
4. Make more jokes! Twitter is the perfect place for the sort of side-of-the-mouth commentary you find yourself making at happy hour to your coworkers. You’ll probably have to edit it somewhat before you click “Tweet,” but hey, isn’t that your job?
5. Be sure you’re tweeting at peak moments—i.e. during the presidential debates. You don’t have to read every tweet in your stream, but do keep an eye on it and do weigh in occasionally. It’s to your advantage to join the conversation when a maximum number of people are paying attention.