Category Archives: Twitter

Chatham House rules and Twitter

I was at a meeting recently where someone from Chatham House was present.

I was tempted to say ‘Chatham House rules’ in the manner of ‘I’m sorry I haven’t a clue’ and shouting ‘Mornington Crescent’.

Which leads on to my lesson for today.

As you probably know I monitor Twitter every day for mentions on the NAO. I noticed yesterday a mention of a colleague and what they were purported to have had said.

I was not aware that they were at a conference so I made a screenshot of the comments and sent them to the relevant person for their information.

The response was ‘oh I thought it was a private conversation’ but no harm done – or similar words.

It is easy to forget these days that someone can be easily filming a conversation on a phone or tweeting.

It is perfectly legitimate to say at an event that the whole thing is not for Twitter – though this can be seen as overkill and is not very transparent or engaging which hopefully the NAO wants to be.

More typically if you are in a workshop or seminar and you want to mention something slightly critical or controversial you can comfortably say ‘please do not tweet this’. I have done it myself and will do it again.

Generally people understand what this means and do not have a problem. If they do not understand the group present will probably correct them if they transgress.

Of course the best route is not to mention anything you might regret being ‘re-published’ in any format. It’s the old ‘common sense’ rule.



Filed under Twitter

Developing the NAO twitter account @NAOorguk, redux

I wrote this time last year about my basic principles of how to grow the NAO Twitter account.

Since then things have moved on a lot.

When I wrote the account had about 2,000 followers, now it has 20,000.

So am I doing anything differently? Yes and no.

I am still following the principle of proactively pushing the account by following people who tend to mention the NAO, particularly influencers.

Also it is key to follow people who retweet, favourite NAO tweets or add the NAO to their lists.

It has been noticeable that as the name of the NAO account gets in wider circulation how more often it gets referenced.

In addition its always nice to thank people for particular mentions, regular retweets or positive feedback.

Equally you must answer enquiries quickly.

Favouriting ourselves nice mentions of the NAO is always a good thing  as it retweeting praise for the NAO work, with some clearly defined parameters. We should not be blowing our own trumpet willy nilly. So if someone on Twitter likes something we have posted on Pinterest the chances are that we will retweet it as this helps highlight the value of the item that has been pinned.

We are getting to the stage now where we need to invest set amount of time per week into the account as it is one of our major communications channels. Particularly having clearer procedures for dealing with the interactions which are becoming a regular feature.

So this is where we are at the moment. What next?

We have a good base but it is only really a starting point. Despite what is said about numbers not being everything I still want more followers, 50,000 sounds good to me.

But we also need to look more at qualatitive metrics, focus on interactions with influencers, get more internal colleagues to contribute – it’s a long list.

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Filed under Pinterest, Twitter

Have your digital channel/s reached a critical mass?

When Felix Baumgartner jumped from space he reached a critical mass, in his case the speed of sound, and beyond. The same applies to digital channels.

I have seen this a number of times on our channels, most recently with our Twitter account @NAOorguk which over the last few weeks has jumped from 2,900 odd subscribers to 4,000. My dodgy maths makes that a 30% increase and it shows no sign of slowing down.

I did not expect this or know when it would happen. Well that’s slighly untrue. I did expect a gradual increase in take up, but not a speed of sound acceleration.

I can speculate why we reached a critical mass. I am going to claim some credit myself since I have actively promoted our account and tried to build a community of interest around it. As I explained a while ago. As the account name has got more widely circulated it has been referenced more widely. A nice virtuous circle.

Also, for a number of topics of NAO reports such as the Language service at the MoJ there was a very active online community of interpreters who also mentioned @NAOorguk regularly. Of course the level of spam and bots also increases.

Now here is the point – when we are set up new channels, or more precisely subscribe to something new, such as Pinterest, do we make clear to ourself and others that it might take some time to reach a critical mass? If not we can be storing up problems internally as expectations can be raised that might take some time to be met.

So it could be a good idea to avoid raising false expectations with new channels. A plan of how to grow the audience is probably useful and a flexible approach if these plans do not pan out. If possible you might be able to sketch out a mental map of how long you expect it to take for your new account to get off the ground and start flying.

If your channel does not reach a critical mass you might just have to let it crash and burn.

But if your account soars into the stratosphere claim the plaudits.

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Filed under Twitter