Book Review

Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time

By on Monday, January 28, 2013

Nonprofits and associations seeking to better benchmark and get results from their tweeting efforts will enjoy reading Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time by Claire Diaz-Ortiz, who heads up social innovation and executive leadership at Twitter.

She outlines the slightly dorky, yet easy to remember T.W.E.E.T. model for structuring your nonprofit’s Twitter engagement, which stands for Target, Write, Engage, Explore, Track. The author admits that the acronym is “jarringly obvious” but effective.
T. – Target  – understand what you want to get  out of Twitter for your nonprofit and define it. The author notes that organizations use Twitter for very different goals – some want a voice, others want to cultivate new supporters. She encourages you to define what you hope to get out of having a Twitter presence for your organization – saying “because everyone else has one” or “the boss thinks we need it” is a cop out.
W. – Write – captioned “why you should tweet like Kanye” – this segment encourages nonprofits to crank out content as they establish themselves on Twitter. The author warns against over- editing or second guessing your tweets. Rather, she urges that nonprofits try a variety of content to see what works. This is the chapter where real-life nonprofit examples really shine and offer many good ideas for Twitter managers who want inspiration. Charity : water’s photo of the day and use of multimedia to draw tweeps into its mission are discussed.  UNICEF’s approach to Twitter includes sending out about 15 tweets a week with at least one video. Similarly, Global Citizen Year uses video and SMS tweeting from difficult to access areas to share its story. Free the Children’s use of Twitter amid the crisis wrought by the 2010 Haiti earthquake demonstrated response in real time to an international disaster. The fundraising initiative uniting Twitter and CrushPad to raise money benefiting Room to Read is also discussed. An essay by April Rinne of Water.org offers  a meditation on seeing the world through a Twitter lens.
E. – Engage – this section covers other tools you can use to build linkages and amplify your reach on Twitter. Hashtags like #CharityTuesday can help people demonstrate their support for their favorite nonprofits, and event hashtags are a great way to share your nonprofit’s work and build excitement. When your nonprofit staff attend a conference and give a presentation, Twitter hashtags can help them connect with many more people than just the audience. An essay by @alya1989262, the first person to use the #Jan25 hashtag that united Egypt’s revolutionary movement in 2011, demonstrates how useful Twitter can be for protesters building a social change movement in real-time. Crisis-mapping using Twitter can help deploy resources and demonstrate the far-reach of a disaster or problem.
E. – Explore – This segment focuses on building relationships with influencers that can broaden your reach. Since I work in media relations a lot – I was fascinated by the careful dissection of how Global Citizen Year built  a relationship with New York Times columnist Nick Kristof through Twitter. So often people want to build these kinds of relationships with reporters at top-tier outlets, but have NO IDEA about the amount of back and forth and effort that can go into them. Building relationships with influencers like Kristof, is a skill set every nonprofit needs.
T. – Track – looking back at your goals from step one (Target), will help you understand what you need to track and count to evaluate your Twitter engagement. A list of suggested metrics is provided. An essay by nonprofit Born2Fly about its fundraising Twitterthon on 09/09/09 offers field-tested insights in how a fundraising campaign through social media can be done and what to expect. The advice on emailing and direct messaging key contacts in advance of the campaign was especially good and really shows how you often have to seed your network (and build relationships for the long-term) before a major push.
Following chapters on the specific segments of the T.W.E.E.T. model, there was a chapter highlighting how to fully apply the model. I was a little disappointed that one of the organizations cited as an example of how to apply the T.W.E.E.T. model was a fictitious nonprofit, Inua. A South American television station was used as the other example of how to apply the framework. In a book targeting nonprofits that is hanging its hat on usage of a specific framework for nonprofits to use, I would expect to see a real nonprofit example here in this chapter, especially given the author’s credentials and work with nonprofits on behalf of Twitter, and the use of real nonprofit examples earlier in the book to illustrate concepts. However, the examples do show how the T.W.E.E.T. model can be applied.
Overall, the book offers a lot of helpful guidance for nonprofits seeking to do good in the Twitter-verse. I give it four and a half stars. Read more about Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time at www.twitter4good.com, purchase it from Amazon and follow @claire on Twitter for more information.

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Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at Time

Ami Neiberger-Miller is a public relations strategist and writer. She is the founder of Steppingstone LLC, a virtual and independent public relations practice near Washington, D.C. that provides public relations counsel, social media advice, writing services, and creative design work for publications and websites (portfolio). Ami blogs frequently about media relations, social media, public relations and other issues. She also reviews books on her blog about public relations, nonprofit life, work-family balance and social media practice. Follow her on Twitter @AmazingPRMaven.

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