Thursday, May 7, 2009

How Uses Twitter

When I started the aviation safety site back in 1996, I didn't have a built in audience or any offline publications, so I had to continually evolve how I used the web site and other online resources to find and build an audience. Along the way, one of the key tactics I developed was to look at emerging trends in online communication and to use those that help to serve the audience.

Twitter was one of those technologies. Once I saw that Twitter was getting some traction and being increasingly adopted by users, I incorporated it into several elements of the universe. Specifically, whenever I send out a mailing on the opt-in mailing list, that mailing list automatically generates a tweet. I also tie in the two top blogs with my Twitter account, and those also generate tweets for each no entry. Finally, if there is a breaking news item like a plane crash, I typically use Twitter to send out a brief headline and a URL to a web site page or blog post with additional information.

One of the unexpected benefits was that Twitter and related technologies opened up additional options for connecting with the audience. The most direct is the connection opportunities with those who choose to follow on Twitter. The other is the Twitter search function at It is a great tool for quickly finding useful links to breaking news stories. For example, after a plane crash, there are usually hundreds of tweets coming in every minute, and at least a few will have links to news media and other resources that have timely information on an unfolding event.

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