Monday, November 14, 2011

5 Ways to Engage Others Using Twitter

There is a bit of art in composing engaging and thoughtful tweets. The ultimate question as a tweet composer is, "How can I say what I want to say in only 140 characters? And, how can I convey tone and mood through as few words as possible?"  The real fun of tweeting is trying to communicate the most you can with as little as possible, but you only know you have communicated it successfully when someone responds to your latest tweet.

Of course, like anything we write, what good is what we tweet if we do not have an audience? How can we possibly feel good about what we tweet if no one ever responds to us? The ultimate positive feedback as a Twitter user is to have someone respond to something we've tweeted, or have someone re-tweet our last post. If all you do is post tweets and no one ever reacts, are you really engaging in the art of microblogging? It seems to me you're only yelling in the darkness and you don't even get the satisfaction of an echo.

How can one really engage in connecting with others using Twitter? Here's some ideas that move beyond posting "What's happening?" Perhaps some of these will help you engage in art of Tweeting for Engagement.
  • Compose a tweet on something controversial. Sometimes the best responses I have gotten using Twitter are posts that capture a rather controversial topic. Of course a bit of caution is in order. Controversial doesn't mean offensive. Controversial is expressing an idea not readily accepted or thought about. Post a Tweet that goes against the grain of what others are tweeting and see what happens. Don't be rude or offensive. Post your thoughts in a matter of fact manner.
  • Post a provocative and powerful quote. This is one of my favorites since I am always reading anyway. I collect quotes constantly. Sometimes I'll post a thought-provoking statement by an education researcher and see what happens. This is an extremely effective way to get an education conversation going on Twitter.
  • Post a thought-provoking and engaging question. This is similar to the quote Tweet. The difference is that you post a question that has no simple answer, or if it has an answer, it is provocative. Questions beg for a response, especially those questions you know your followers are likely to have opinions about.
  • Share link to a thought-provoking and controversial article. By far there's nothing like a provocative article or blog post to stir up Twitterverse. Share a study that seems ludicrous. Point out a blog post that is likely to cause an eruption. Twitter is an excellent place to provoke debate where everyone is limited to 140 characters so it's easy to get a word in edgewise, even the shy person.
  • Respond to other's tweets with questions or additional responses. As you read through your timeline, find a tweet that begs for a response. Tweet out a question that demands an answer. Or, post a response that is sure to engage the other person in an exchange of ideas.
Perhaps I am bit too strong when I say a good Tweet is a  form of art, but it is true that if you want to engage others using Twitter, you've got to post more than, "I'm standing in line at the grocery store." Bottom line is this, if you want to engage others in conversation when using Twitter, you've got to be controversial, thoughtful, provocative, and maybe just a bit artistic. What do you think of the art of "Tweeting?"


  1. Thank you for your thoughtful posts. I always learn something of value from you and share it with others.

  2. Thank you for your kind words. I am glad you find them helpful.