Going from having a Twitter account to being a fruitful Twitter user involves building community — finding interesting people with whom to interact. In this transition, which is not always a small one, I think the Twitter introduction (Twitterduction) is an underrated element.
There are several types of Twitterductions:
1) The One-On-One. Being old-fashioned, this is my favorite type. Usually I introduce one of our students to someone who can help them in their pursuits, knowing the other person will also benefit from knowing the student. It involves two posts, one to each Tweep, and looks something like:
TimNekritz: @person1, meet @person2, a singer-songwriter based in NYC. She’s very talented, involved in social media and generous in helping others.
TimNekritz: @person2, meet @person1, a student singer/songwriter. She has a great voice, crafts nice songs, but needs to make some connections.
Hard to do a lot in 140 characters or less, but I try to give a very short synopsis of who the person is and why s/he is worth getting to know. Adding bits of praise is nice to do too. (I think we overpraise celebrities and underpraise the people in our lives, and am happy to try to reverse this trend.)
2) The Direct List Introduction: When I began Twittification, @rachelreuben, my social-media role model, gave a list of helpful and amusing people in higher-ed Web communications to follow. They followed me back and conversations started almost immediately; it was like being guided into an online cocktail party. The Web being viral, I soon met others in the field through those Tweeps. People new to Twitter sometimes ask me for similar recommendations, and I’m more than happy to pay it forward.
3) The Broadcast Introduction. This generally takes two forms: The welcome and the general recommendation.
The welcome usually involves a Tweep’s co-worker, friend or spouse new to Twitter with a message like: Everyone say hi to @NewTweep, who just joined Twitter. He’s a talented writer and funny guy, so you may want to follow him. (Note the praise as well as the callout to other writer types.)
The general recommendation is sometimes just a shoutout (Have I mentioned that @rachelreuben is one of the smartest and most helpful Tweeps I know?). More likely you’ll see recommends on #followfriday, where people may choose one favorite or a bunch of people with some theme (Web wizards, music mavens, groovy gentlemen, etc.). I prefer follow recommendations with a little more information included, but the spirit of generosity itself is a wonderful thing.
If you haven’t Twitterduced anyone lately, give it a try. At least two Tweeps — maybe more — will thank you.