Information Systems
College of Business Administration
University of Missouri - St. Louis


  • Social network and "microblogging" started in 2006
    Identified as the third most used social network service
  • Terms
    Tweet: to send a message
    Follow: receive a message each time the person updates
        You can control if and how you receive messages from everyone or from specific people
        You can set to mobile phone if you wish
    Hashtag (#): designate messages that are related, such as an event, a group of people; it is a way to create groupings
        Before using, search to see if someone else is using it
        You can search for popular hashtags or the meaning of specific hashtags at, and
        An article on How to use Hashtags
        Sites such as provides real time monitoring of topics
    @ messages: a link to that twitter home page
    Retweet: reposting a tweet while giving credit to the original tweeter
    DM: a direct message to a specific user; that user must be following your tweets
    Tweetup: create an event (see, for example,
    Fail Whale: Twitter experiences an outage
                   Twitter's Fail Whale
    If you need help, go to the help page
    If you receive spam, send a message to @spam
  • Reasons
    meet people
    learn about interesting people
    find people: by name, by email or by brand
    find people on other networks
    check out the "suggested users" tab (by topic)
    August 2009 study by Pear Analytics found
    results of the Pear Analytics examination of Tweets
  • Notable Uses
    The 2008 Presidential election
    The 2009 Republican ethics lapse: the Republican Party in Connecticut set up fake Twitter accounts in the names of 33 Democratic members of the state legislature and sent out messages
    Arrest of Daniel Knight Hayden who sent out tweets about violence at a teabag protest in Oklahoma
    2007 California fires: those using Twitter kept their followers (who were often friends and neighbors) informed of their whereabouts and of the location of various fires minute by minute
    2008 Mumbai attacks: eyewitness accounts; list of dead and injured; vital information such as emergency phone numbers and the location of hospitals needing blood donations
    February 2009 Victoria bushfires in Australia: used to send out alerts
    2009 health departments: H1N1 alerts
    2009 Iranian Elections: rallying tool and way of communicating with outside world
    2009 Brazilian Supreme Federal Court: posts daily planner of the ministers and important decisions
    2010 Resignation by Sun's CEO: Financial crisis/Stalled too many customers/CEO no more
  • It is called "microblogging" because you are limited to 140 characters

  • How to shorten a message
    use characters instead of words:
        "+" instead of "and"
        "2" instead of two, too or to
    avoid punctuation
    use abbreviations
    Need help? Helpful sites make suggestions on how to shorten message
    Using links? There are services which help you shorten the links -- shortens links to share; user can track views -- shortens links to share; no tracking ability -- shortens links to share; allows some domain information in new URL
  • Searches can be done at
    quotes around phrases for "and"
    to avoid a term use "-"
    for either of terms, use "or"
    Advanced search is available at
  • Tracking trends: (for a specific time period)
    follow @tweetingtrends
  • Whom Should you Follow recommendations based on your specific activity recommendations based on your specific activity -- listing of the top media, entertainment, and consumer product feeds -- businesses on twitter -- business executives who tweet -- people in your organization -- enterprise collaboration
  • Why Tweet?
    Drive people to your blog or webpage by providing context for it
        If you want your tweets to show up on your webpage, go to
        If you want your tweets to show up on your facebook page go to OR
    Publish a short story, article or a book by posting one line each day
        @Genny_Spencer: diary of an Illinois farm girl
    Fundraising campaigns for not for profit organizations (e.g., Haiti)
    Boost your professional reputation
        Of course that means you must post interesting material that is well written and must post regularly on a specific topic
    Understand your customers
    Superbowl tweets for game and commercials
  • Why not Tweet?
    People may hear what you have to say:
        Gangs using Facebook, Twitter more often
        UK criminal who taunted police arrested
  • How does a business start?
    1. Listen first: Find out what people are saying about you
    2. Have clear goals:
        You must represent the business well
        Create a custom background
        You must not conflict with information sent via other marketing channels
        Your goal is to build relationships
    3. Integrate this channel of communication with other channels
        integrate material
        develop a way to respond, such as to complaints
    4. Start slowly and build your presence (you can tract this on
    5. Select a tweeter who "gets it"
    6. Manage staff
        include the names of tweeters in the bio (160 characters)
        sign message with the initials of the poster
    7. Coordinate accounts
        Create a page on your website with all accounts at your company
        Create a list of other, relevant Twitter accounts
    8. Make sure you are "findable"
        use company name in the "full name"
        identify individual in the description
    9. Be conversational
    10. Retweet customers
    11. Offer solid customer support
    12. Post primarily about your company
    13. Link creatively to your own sites
    14. Use this medium for promotions, contests and sales announcements ("you heard it here first")
    15. Reveal the human side of the organization
    16. use url shorteners (see earlier sites)
    17. Engage journalists, PR people
        follow HARO: posts inquiries from reporters looking for sources
        follow media people who cover your sector
  • Tools for business accounts -- incidence of different topics -- companies following different accounts -- allows you to manage multiple accounts
  • When Should Your CEO or Executive Director Just Say No To Social Media (borrowed from How Nonprofit Organizations Can Use Social Media to Power Social Networks for Change)

    Of course, using social media may not be for every CEO or Executive Director. If they can't sustain their presence on Twitter or blogging, they should stay away. This isn't to say that they can't have an assistant who might do some of the scanning and flag items to respond to, but if a CEO starts engaging with people on social media channels and then there is silence - that is not a good thing.

    It is also important that CEOs and Executive don't just tweet or blog for the sake of doing it. They should must have something to day that is of value or use it for relationship building. Finally, if the CEO cannot take public criticism or wants to have control over what followers or commenters say, then they shouldn't use it and delegate the role someone else in the company or organization.

    1. Listen First: Before jumping in, it is useful to do some listening first. Are there other organizations or businesses in your sector where CEOs or Executive Directors are using social media. Find those and review how they are using it.
    2. Safe Place to Practice: It is a good idea to do a little bit of coaching with your CEO or Executive Director to show them how Twitter works and to avoid too much "public learning." Some organizations use software like Yammer which is an internal Twitter to practice before setting up on Twitter.
    3. Get Past Information Overload: It is important to let busy CEOs know that they don't have to be on Twitter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is also a good idea because the thought of opening up another communications channel might be overwhelming for a CEO is already concerned about email and information overload. Help them learn a quick and efficient way to use Twitter.
    4. Pick a Small Project First: Before launching a CEO blog or CEO Twitter account, it might make sense for the CEO to start off using the organization's branded account or blog, particularly if they are not very comfortable with the tools or plan to devote a small amount of time.
    5. Share Unique CEO/Executive Director Insights: CEOs have perspectives that others in the organization may not. Whether using Twitter or writing blog posts, they should share their thought leadership, know how, and vision with their fans and followers. A good way to do this is share what they are reading and learning.
    6. Let Them Be Who They Are: CEOs and executive directors who are using social media, above, just need to be themselves and let their personality shine through.

  • Metrics for Success
    1. Post count - the number of times you've tweeted in a given time frame
    2. Replies - the number of times another person's tweet has started with @username in a given time frame
    3. Retweets - The number of times you're tweets have been "retweeted" in a given time frame
    4. Mentions - the number of times your username was included in a tweet (but wasn't considered a reply)
    5. Friends & followers
  • Is this technology sustainable? Check out Gartner's Hype Cycle They say:
    Microblogging. Microblogging, in general, and Twitter, in particular, have exploded in popularity during 2009 to the extent that the inevitable disillusionment around "channel pollution" is beginning. As microblogging becomes a standard feature in enterprise social software platforms, it is earning its place alongside other channels (for example, e-mail, blogging and wikis), enabling new kinds of fast, witty, easy-to-assimilate exchanges.
    Gartner's Hype Cycle

  • Page Owner: Professor Sauter (
    © Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.