Saturday, October 31, 2009

Twitter Lists

Twitter has implemented lists. Ideas and features of Twitter lists are:

  • Lists are public by default, but can be private.
  • Lists are linked to Twitter profiles.
  • Other Twitter users can subscribe to your lists.
  • You can subscribe to other Twitter users' lists. In other words, if you see someone has an interesting list, just follow their list.
  • Lists can be used to divide content by topic or divide twitter friends by personality or how they give you value. 
      • I have used Tweetdeck for this, but organizing Twitter users in Twitter could be even more helpful. However, I wonder how hard it will be for me to keep the lists updated.
  • Lists have the potential to serve as a discovery mechanism for finding great tweets and accounts.
  • Expect APIs to support lists in new Twitter apps.

Yesterday, someone asked how I am using my lists.

I have created a few lists. At this point, my goal is to point new Twitter users to these lists.

Some of the people I work with find social media, the openness, the chaotic nature to be overwhelming. In Facebook, I use the “recommend” feature to connect new Facebook users to some friends they may not know are in Facebook.

By using the Twitter list feature, I can give Twitter newbies a little guidance by showing them my lists. The newbies can decide who to follow or just follow my one or more of my lists. After all, there is not much fun in using social media if you cannot find friends or potential friends.

Here are some of my lists:

Ag list contains the people I follow in the agriculture industry. These may be ag journalists, ag marketing professionals, agribusiness people, Cooperative Extension agents, University faculty, and farmers. (This list is very similar to the same people in my Tweetdeck Ag column.)

Cooperative Extension list contains people who work in Cooperative Extension or people who work closely with Cooperative Extension--usually the relationship is through land-grant university affiliation.

Alabama Cooperative Extension System list contains people who work with Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

If my goals were different, I might organize the lists to include some of my priorities, like my favorites, the ones who make me think, those who make me laugh, the ones who tweet interesting links, photos, and quotes, and my favorite restaurants.

Some have created lists as to indicate the top people to follow in particular areas, (i.e., top public relations people to follow). I, instead, am looking at the list feature to organize and to share—not by limiting but by giving choices.

I am still working on my lists, so give me more suggestions. Tags:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What is Online Engagement?

While I talk to various groups about the value of social media, I try to help them think about using social media for their own learning, for collaboration, and for engagement.

Almost always in these discussions, participants think of using these tools to broadcast information. "We can use Twitter to publicize a new blog post." These suggestions are great, and absolutely can be used.

But then, I try to move the conversation to how social media brings many other benefits that we have not been able to capture in typical web pages. One power of social media tools is the ability to engage others.

But, a question that comes to mind for many is "What is online engagement?" First, we need consider the basic definition of engagement.

The act of sharing in the activities of a group
"the teacher tried to increase his students' engagement in class activities"
- participation, involvement, involution

Allegiance defines engagement for business as:

The “emotional bond” or “attachment” that customers and employees develop with your business during repeated, ongoing positive interactions with your company. This bond goes beyond a single moment in time and is instead, defined by the enduring behaviors, attitudes and heart of your employees and customers.

When we engaging others, we are not pushing content (products, services, advertisements), but rather we are conversing, asking for opinions, involving others in problem solving, idea and content development. Engagement means we are engaged and involved, and others are engaged and involved.

When broadcasting (one to many), we are speaking to or lecturing to audiences, students, clients, customers, or potential customers. When we are engaged, then we become community or group members (formal and informal groups). Also, customers, clients, and students are community or group members. We converse with people who share our interests and with people we enjoy listening and talking to.

Methods that indicate that our organization is engaged online. 

  • We listen to others, even to those who believe differently.
  • Authentic communications that describe events, opinions, and information in ways that others know and can identify with the individuals within our organization, as well as our organization as a whole.
  • Transparent, upfront and open content, processes, ideas and opinions that help others understand our organization and that we leave no doubt about our intentions, purpose, and values.
  • Practices that indicate that knowledge is built and created by many and our organization, nor any individual, is the only expert.
  • Fast and responsive communications that indicate we are listening and value the importance of at-the-moment thoughts, problems, discussions, and issues.
  • Flexible and agile processes and reactions that indicate our organization is designed to meet every changing needs of others.
  • Real empathy for community members where we develop an understanding of others and their needs.
  • Ongoing demonstrations that indicate we believe in the importance of building relationships with others outside of our organization.
  • Immersing ourselves in environments where others are.