Twitter is everywhere these days. If you aren’t Twittering away your life, you can rest assured that your mailman, nephew and boss are. Twitter, for the uninitiated, is a mini-blogging tool that allows you to post small status updates that are no more than 140 characters long. Users can get minute by minute updates on the people they are “following.”
Even though it sounds pretty mundane, everyone and their mother is now Twittering. From Steve Jobs to John Cleese, Twitter is the new blog. With the explosion of Twitter, came a multitude of similar copycat tools like Tumblr, Jabber and Yammer. There has been many a debate about whether Twitter can be a legitimate form of social media or whether it’s simply people telling their friends the kind of dressing they used for their salad.
The question then becomes whether or not Twitter can be used by a nonprofit organization for any sort of good. The debate has strong proponents on each side. If you want to learn more about the pros and cons, check out these links:
- LifeHack’s 5 Ways to Use Twitter for Good
- Beth Kanter’s 6 Signs that Twitter is NOT for your organization
Because here at the Social Source Commons we are focused on nonprofit tools, it has come to our attention that there are a MILLION tools for using Twitter. You can find tools for anything from inserting Japanese scripts into your tweets (Chirrup) to tweeting from the Mac OS X Terminal (BLT).
There may be a huge selection to choose from, but which ones, if any, can help out your nonprofit?
Out of the plethora, the profusion, the GLUT of Twitter tools, I chose a couple that I think might have the chance to be put to good use by a nonprofit:
A Twitter search engine that searches twitter posts so you can see what people are saying about a particular topic. You could, for example, check out what people are saying about your organization or your new viral video campaign. A sort of (very) informal surveying.
Like Google Alerts for Twitter, TweetBeep will email you an update about what is being said about search terms that you define. If your organization works with the environment, create a TweetBeep about “Climate Change” and stay on top of what people are saying about it without doing the legwork of going and searching for the terms every 20 minutes.
- Twits Like Me:
Finds people that you may be interested in following based on your Tweets. Let’s say that you tweet about nonprofit fundraising a lot of the time because it’s what you do. In theory, Twits Like Me will show you other people that are talking about the same topics, like fundraising, giving you a networking opportunity.
Send Tweets to a specific group of people rather than to everyone that is following you. For example, thank everyone who donated to your fund-a-thon without notifying your masseuse. Or Tweet at your field team that Al Gore will not, in fact, be showing up to your keynote.
Follow a group of people all in one fell swoop. This is useful when you encounter groupings of people you would like to follow in instances like this:
Beth Kanter’s Nonprofit TwitterPack Page
So if you decide that your organization could benefit by squeezing Twitter into its daily proceeding, check out these tools and see what sort of ruckus you can rouse up. And as always, feel free to tell me what tools you or your organization use for Twittering.
And if you get bored and want to shake it up a bit, check this out: Post Like A Pirate