Social Media 4 Emergency Management

Connect, Collaborate, Contribute

The Birthday Kids

When you have a blog, you have a voice.

And today, my voice will be used to say a special “happy birthday” to two of my favorite #SMEM friends.

Earlier this week, many of you lit up the Twitter-sphere with birthday well wishes to Kim Stephens (@kim26stephens). If you don’t know Kim, you should.

Not only does Kim author the iDisaster blog, but she is a bright, funny and caring planning contractor in the Maryland area who has been involved in social media for a number of years now.

kim_2

Kim Stephens (on the right)

I have had the true privilege of enjoying time with Kim in person and often, on the phone, as we chat about trends, activities and issues in disaster-related communications.  Kim has a bubbly personality and it always brightens my day to share a conversation with her.

And then, today happens to be Jeff Phillips’ birthday….yes, @_jsphillips. And I think he’s trying to be way too low-key about it.  Or at least the secret has been safe on Twitter.

Fortunately, Facebook doesn’t keep too many secrets (another reason, for which I am sure, he’ll say he “hates” Facebook.)

Jeff was one of the first emergency managers that I ever chatted with on Twitter.  Hidden under the handle, @losranchosem, initially, Jeff and I had a number of fun conversations, debating the efficacy of the Incident Command System (you may still occasionally see #doctrineTweets fly between us) and the differences in perspective between a state and local emergency managers.

But through it all, I have a deep love & respect for Jeff.  Even when we don’t see eye-to-eye on a particular topic, we both respect each other always.  And through our friendship, we know more about each other than just our day jobs.  From enjoying soccer matches to sharing music randomly on a Friday night, this friendship independently illustrates how social media can be used to meet others, who before its existence, may never have crossed your path.

jsp_1

Hey, at least I didn’t share the Gov Tech picture that you hate!

So, while I have the floor, let me just say this: if you are engaged in conversations in social media, you likely have friends who are as special to you as Jeff & Kim are to me.

And if you aren’t chatting with colleagues on social media, you’re missing out….I assure you.

Happy Birthday to ya, Kim & Jeff from me & Bono.

Print Friendly
Share

About the Tech in Your EOC…

windowsxp-300x230

April 8th is only one week away and hopefully you already know why this date is significant.

It is, in fact, the day that Microsoft Windows will no longer support Windows XP and Office 2003.

So, what does this mean?

Essentially, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for these machines.

Now, this doesn’t make your machine malfunction.

Instead, it makes it susceptible to hackers and there has been a lot of speculation that hackers are waiting for this magic date to go on a full-scale attack against those businesses and agencies who are still using the XP operating systems.

For people who use computers every day, hopefully, you have been aware of this date and making changes to migrate your systems onto new operating systems.

But I have a question for you. How about those computers that sit inside your Emergency Operations Center (EOC) or Emergency Coordination Center (ECC).

Often, we forget about those computers that sit dormant for periods of time throughout the year, except for activations and exercises.

If your EOC/ECC computers are still running XP, it’s time to make a call to your IT department and ask a few questions about the plans for these machines.

I hope this post catches none of you by surprise, but I already know the topic has caught a few off guard recently.

And the answer, “I don’t have money for new computers”, isn’t good enough. You need to determine an answer that maintains the security of your IT infrastructure and deals with this issue.

Are you ready?

Print Friendly
Share

Law Enforcement is Different

LESM

A few months ago, I was asked to develop a “Social Media for Law Enforcement Investigations” class.

At first thought, this seemed relatively easy. I have spoken to many different audiences from farmers to medical examiners about the value of social media in the past 5 years; however, this audience was slightly different. Cops with guns, piercing stares and a distrust of humanity frankly intimidated the heck out of me.

But because I like to ensure that I fully understand my audience, I did a lot of research and reading on this topic before I constructed this presentation.

And honestly, I came to a new appreciation about the struggles of social media for law enforcement. Not because engagement isn’t valuable for them, but because the duties and responsibilities to keep communities safe can directly run counter to the constitutional rights embedded in the 1st and 4th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

The Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative out of the U.S. Department of Justice published an excellent paper on the policy considerations for law enforcement agencies that summarizes the following key points:

  • Use of Social Media should be consistent with the laws governing police work generally,
  • Levels of engagement from overt to discrete to covert uses should be articulated,
  • Authorization levels for engagement should be defined,
  • Credibility & validity of content should be verified and confirmed,
  • Documentation, storage & retention of records should be clear,
  • Off-duty engagement & responsibility needs to be clarified.
  • Dissemination plan should be created for criminal intelligence information.

While the common user of social media can look at anything and everything through their own personal lens, police officers must apply standards of good police work which means that there needs to be “reasonable suspicion” or “probable cause” to dig into information specifically about people on social media.

Essentially, there are 3 methods of engagement for law enforcement in social media:

  • Overt presence = This means that they are engaging directly as police officers openly.  And while many police agencies engage in this manner for information dissemination, often this is not the manner of engagement selected for investigations.
  • Discrete presence = This means that information is gathered via 3rd party or in a means where police presence is not directly open.  Many Virtual Operations Support Teams (VOST) teams which assist law enforcement would be considered a discrete method of information gathering.
  • Covert presence = This means that the police identity is directly disguised.  This occurs most commonly through use of faked profiles or use of proxy servers to disguise the ISP address of the computer being used to gather intelligence.

Research suggests that “covert presence” should require supervisory approval for this level of engagement, particularly if evidence is being collected that may be used to develop a case that will be aired in court.

Credibility, from a law enforcement perspective, is extra important.  Realize that while rumors do exist in social media, a law enforcement officer cannot afford to make an arrest on information that is not validated.  This means that tools like the Verification Handbook carry some extra importance and will be worth the extra time in the investigation process.

Documentation and retention of records is also incredibly vital to police work.  Realizing that law enforcement intervention will make its way to a courtroom, storage and retention of records need to be understood and captured in legitimate ways.  Requesting records from Facebook and Twitter can be done, but there are established methods for both of these platforms that need to be followed to make official requests for these records.

And, as for off-duty engagement, remember this:  Being a sworn law enforcement officer doesn’t stop at the end of each shift.  So, if a police officer sees some criminal activity online, what is their responsibility when it comes to initiating an investigation?  It’s important to have this defined for police officers who are always looking through the lens of their badge and duty to serve.

But more important than all of these policy considerations?  Police officers need to understand the potential of emerging social tools.  It isn’t enough to know how to navigate Facebook and Twitter.  But rather, police officers must realize that even fringe tools can be used to coordinate criminal activity.

Consider the power of Glympse to coordinate a crime-scene getaway among multiple people, Snapchat and Kik to cyber-bully, Tinder to find people around you, and WhisperPush for encrypted text messaging.

For me, as an emergency manager, I’m primarily focused on the popular social media tools in order to catch the broader conversation, but when you’re an investigator, you are specifically charged with finding needles in haystacks.  And this means understanding the power and capabilities of the various tools and networks in use.

If you are a police officer, you need to understand that police work is changing because of social media.  This isn’t a fad and it’s time to begin spending 5-10 minutes each day to dive right on in and start learning.  Your learning curve will be significant, but if you are willing to have an open mind, you can learn a lot more than you know today.  Work together and with your peers to learn in teams.  The more you can communicate with your brothers and sisters in law enforcement about these issues, the faster you will find yourself better understanding these issues.

A key resource for you as you begin this journey is the IACP Social Media Website at http://www.iacpsocialmedia.org/

And, for those of us who aren’t police officers?  If we are truly going to work in a “whole community” environment, we need to understand the rules of engagement in which some disciplines must work.  In order to ensure that our own rights are upheld, we need to respect that some communities will work differently in social media and that is okay.

We can all help each of our emergency response disciplines by encouraging better understanding of social media.  Each of us can put on the shoes of other disciplines and aim to look at these tools through the lens and perspectives of others.  Through this, we will better learn what challenges and issues we all face in this new world.

Print Friendly
Share

Whole Community

1799921_10102376210102754_31744960_o (1)

Who do you see when you look at this picture?

Our “Social Media & Emergency Management” Community is pretty special when you think about it.

Before I got involved in social media, I primarily surrounded myself with local emergency managers and public safety professionals like many of my colleagues. If you’ve ever been an emergency manager, you can probably relate to this. My world is always full of meetings.  We are busy planning training, exercises, writing plans and seeking input from those who will be affected by the plans being written.  And while we work with a number of diverse audiences, it’s often an overlapping environment. We see many of the same faces at a variety of meetings, right?

And then I got involved in social media and my peer group became increasingly more broad. The geographic locations grew beyond the United States and the backgrounds of the people all varied.  In fact, I found that social media broke down the institutional barriers between volunteers and professionals as well as contractors and government employees.  I learned quickly that there were some contractors who weren’t hell-bent on selling products to me all day long!  Each of us became human and started connecting with each other because something in the other resonated within us.

So, when I look at this picture, I see the following people (in no particular order)….

  • Emergency Managers
  • Planning Contractors
  • Students
  • CERT Volunteers
  • Healthcare Employees
  • Technology Developers
  • Firefighters
  • Trainers & Exercise Planners
  • Federal Contractors

But most of all? I see friends that I have initially met because of social media.  We are all different, we come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and yet, we share a common communication platform and a passion to ensure that our communities are ready to face crisis.

These faces represent the states of Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, Florida, Washington, Ohio, and Washington D.C. ….and shortly after this picture was taken, we added California and Germany to the conversation as well.  And it wasn’t long before our California friend was talking to our German friend about their shared experiences in responding into the Philippines for Typhoon Haiyan.

Diversity fosters both creativity and trust which is essential to expanding the definition of “whole community” to include groups beyond peers that look and sound like us.  Fresh ideas and new ways of thinking are possible with diverse perspectives.

If your world is still insular as an Emergency Manager, it’s time to find & engage in conversations with peers with who are different than you.  It’s possible and this picture is living proof that relationships started online won’t always stay online if you’re willing to take a chance on opening yourself up to the whole community.

It’s worth the effort.

 

Print Friendly
Share

Time for a Tweet-Up?

Hilton_Alexandria_Mark_Center_outside

Recognize this hotel?

If you do, check your schedule for this Monday evening, March 10th.

This is the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center hotel in Virginia and it will be the site for the National Emergency Management Association Mid-Year Forum for 2014.

Whether or not you are planning to attend this conference, if you are in the local area and have any relationship to the #SMEM conversations on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, you should plan to stop by the Finn & Porter restaurant inside the hotel to meet up with a number of active SMEM collaborators.

This will be a casual gathering or #TweetUp and you are invited to join us.

Early rumors suggest that sightings of Kevin Sur (@rusnivek), Joanna Lane (@joannalane), Jeff Phillips (@_jsphillips), Kim Stephens (@kim26stephens), Todd Jasper (@toddjasper), Eric Kant (@etechops), Tanya Ferraro (@tjlasagna), Brandon Greenberg (@disasternet), Steve Peterson (@emergencycomms) and I (@cherylble) will be hanging out.

Don’t be shy! Stop on by anytime after 5p…..I suspect we’ll be there for most of the evening.

Also, feel free to follow the #NEMA2014 hashtag throughout the conference. I’ll likely do the bulk of my sharing through the @sm4em handle so as not to annoy my non-EM friends.

Have a GREAT week.

Print Friendly
Share

You Should Know Jack

@JackBurkman on left, @Jack_Burkman on right

@JackBurkman on left, @Jack_Burkman on right

Does the name “Jack Burkman” sound familiar?

If you are a sports enthusiast, you have probably heard about the lobbyist in Washington D.C. who is proposing legislation to ban gay players from the National Football League.

This week, I have a great case study to share with you about the “other” Jack Burkman.

Jack’s story is special because through his experience you will hear how being active in social media has helped him manage his own reputation, despite the activities of his name-sharing twin.

First, let me share a few important details about the less-famous Jack Burkman

  • Jack Burkman is a 3-time, locally-elected politician who serves on the Vancouver City Council in Washington State,
  • Jack has had a career in engineering and management for Hewlitt Packard,
  • Jack understands the importance of social media and the opportunity that it provides for people to be more involved in their community,
  • Jack made it to Twitter fast enough to snag the Twitter handle @JackBurkman, and
  • Jack is a genuinely great guy who loves to listen to all sides of an issue before making an informed opinion.

This past Monday, the “other Jack” went public with his desire to develop legislation to ban gay football players from the NFL.

And social media responded.

People rallied around the cause, sought out ways to contact Jack Burkman, and started posting.

And, for Councilor Jack Burkman, posts immediately began appearing on Facebook and Twitter.

The first one I caught was a simple word: “Idiot” which immediately caught my eye because the Jack I know is hardly an idiot.  And, in a quick search, it was obvious that people were mixing up the identities of the two men.

But what I noticed next was fascinating, @JackBurkman was responding and talking back.

In fact, my local Jack created a canned message which simply said,

He sent @mention replies to nearly everyone who included him in their vitriolic reactions.

On Facebook, Jack would reply to the comment and then, shortly thereafter, he would delete the comment altogether.

After a few hours of dealing with the comments, Jack changed his profile picture to this:

1975117_10202705116205454_1864633915_n

Jack understood that his profile picture could serve as his “online yard sign” and aimed to send a message via the colors used and his simple message.  He knew that the use of the rainbow colors would immediately cause people to say “wait a minute, why would Conservative Jack use those colors?”

Now this isn’t the first time that Vancouver Jack has been mistaken for Conservative Jack.  In fact, in both 2006 and in 2010, Conservative Jack made the news for controversial comments and on both occasions, Vancouver Jack has received a ration of hateful calls and emails.

In the previous incidents, the emails and snail mail were slower to arrive, but Jack felt incapable of moderating the response because he only had the option of replying to people individually.

According to Jack, the 2014 attack was more virulant, but as quickly as it ramped up, it also quickly ramped down as the conversation was rerouted to the proper @Jack_Burkman.

I had the opportunity to interview Jack this past week and I asked him what he would share with other public officials who might be reluctant to join social media because of situations like this one.

In a very matter-of-fact way, Jack said, “I like the metaphor of a house burning down. You must stop what you are doing and deal with it. It’s the nature of the beast.  You have to be responsive to the public where they are at.”

With curiosity, I asked Jack whether he ever thought about turning off the comments on his Facebook page and he shook his head and said it never crossed his mind.  He engages in social media to reach the public and would never think about shutting off their access to him as a local representative.

While others might rush to shut off the comments, Jack welcomed them.  He also never intended to push people’s comments over to the instigator of this situation. His only goal was to inform folks and let them know that they had misdirected their concerns.  And people responded with fast apologies and deletions of their content.

You may be wondering how much time it took to respond, Jack noted that he probably dedicated about 4 hours on the first day primarily as he wrapped his head around how to respond most appropriately.  He replied to every email, tweet and Facebook post on his own.

In comparing the 3 different situations since 2006, it was clear that social media gave Jack a venue to talk back to those who were attacking him.  And if Jack wasn’t involved in social media? His reputation would still be under attack based on the use of his name.  Social media gave Vancouver Jack the ability to say “this isn’t me.”

Jack’s presence on social media also limited the number of direct phone calls he received about this situation.  In 2006 and 2010, the attacks came primarily on email & phone.  But this time? Jack only received 2-3 phone calls (of course one of those was from CNN requesting an interview before they learned they had a wrong number).

Jack credits his experience in commenting on news media blogs in teaching him how to respond in this situation.  He shared that when he is the first to post in a factual and friendly manner to news articles, the path of the conversation changes.  He said that  he has learned that you cannot join the conversation when the comments are already raging or on fire.  His goal is always to “turn the flame down” when he engages in social media.

To summarize, what are the key lessons that you might want to take from @JackBurkman’s experience?

  • Expect rumors & misinformation,
  • You cannot respond too quickly with factual information,
  • Presence on social media gives you the ability to be involved in the conversation,
  • Avoiding social media means that you’ll be left only with phone/email options to dispel rumors which is far more tedious to work with,
  • Your profile picture can provide visual cues to readers as well, if simple and clear, and
  • Don’t fear the negative campaigns, but rather figure out what messages will turn those flames down.

I loved watching how @JackBurkman handled this situation.  All too often, I hear public officials express fear and reluctance, about getting into social media without realizing how they are limiting their options when it comes to managing their reputations.

You don’t have to know Jack to realize the importance of sharing this story with those in your offices who are still on the fence about social media.

Rumors and misinformation will always be with us.

Get involved so you can set the record straight.

Print Friendly
Share

Are You Sharing the Message?

share

In the past two weeks, I’ve received the following YouTube video from more than 5 people with the important question, “should we abandon Facebook in and pursue other social media sites?”

This video is excellent because it nicely illustrates that “follower count” does not really matter. It is easy to buy “likes” through a variety of websites like Fiverr.com which is why I go crazy when people ask me “how do I get more likes?”  Followers and likes are an artificial metric that means nothing at the end of the day.

In the emergency services field, high follower counts indicate two things: Either an agency has acquired followers through sponsorship or they have had a disaster which drove internet traffic their way during an incident.

It is true that all emergency agencies should see surges in their followings during emergency incidents, if they are engaged actively on social media.  People will naturally follow your accounts if you are providing good information that helps them remain self-sufficient during a time of crisis.  These are the types of likes and followers that you want.

In 2011, Facebook introduced “EdgeRank” and since then, it has been increasingly difficult for your full audience to see the messages that are posted by an agency or business.

What this means, however, is that the key metric you should be watching is whether your messages are being shared with others online.  As the video above explains, Facebook looks for how much engagement your posts receive.  The more natural engagement, the more ways Facebook will move the message so that others can see it.

Here are some ideas on how can you increase the odds that your information will be shared with your larger community:

  • When your business or agency shares a post of importance, like it or share it from your personal accounts, too.
  • If you have employees with personal Facebook pages, ask them for their help in sharing your agency content.
  • If you work with groups of volunteers, be sure that they are aware of your Facebook page and ask for their help also in amplifying your messages.  (Sidenote, however: Don’t just beg people to share your content. Be timely & relevant with your messages so that they will naturally have a higher likelihood of being liked or shared.)
  • If you share content in other ways (like via email or newsletter), be sure to include links to your social media accounts.

Let me return, however, to the original question…..should you leave Facebook because they use limiting marketing methods to ensure that they make money?

My answer to every inquiry was this:

Yes, the algorithms are clearly not working in government’s favor for public messaging; however, the sheer size of the population using Facebook still outweighs any other platform considerably at 1.23 billion users as compared to other social sites.  There is a great article that provides the user statistics on many different sites.  You’ll see quickly that the numbers are still in Facebook’s favor.

If I was choosing one other site to invest time into messaging at the moment, however, it would be Instagram.  This picture based site is garnering a lot of engagement and will require you to turn your messaging completely into pictures which might be a leap for many public agencies.  But…..if you want to stay in touch “with the kids,” you may want to work on figuring that out.

So, next time you scroll through Facebook, help your favorite agencies out by liking or sharing their content.  Your engagement is valuable and helps that agency counter the Facebook algorithms.

 
Print Friendly
Share

#SMEMBowl

superbowl

Here’s a newsflash: I could care less about sports.

Yes, I know I’m from Washington and this next week, I’ll be courteous and feign some interest in the fact that the current Super Bowl Champions are from my home state. I may have even made a pair of football earrings and wore blue today.

Despite my lack of interest, I do, however, tune into the Super Bowl.

But not for the reason that 99.99% of America does.

For the past few years, I’ve been using the Super Bowl to train, mentor and expose other emergency managers to the concept of Virtual Operation Support Teams.

What is a Virtual Operation Support Team (#VOST)?  It’s a group of people who come together and monitor social media for a specific purpose. And, when employed during emergency situation, that specific purpose is usually to monitor social media for specific information surrounding a crisis.

These purposes may include:

  • Finding pictures of damage throughout a local community,
  • Looking for comments from people who need 9-1-1 services, but can’t call 9-1-1 for some reason,
  • Looking for trending complaints or concerns about emergency response,
  • Tracking community-led recovery initiatives,
  • Watching the feeds of official public safety organizations for key messages to amplify, and
  • Sharing personal protective recommendations with the public.

When this type of information is found, it is routinely shared with the Emergency Response entity that it is connected to serve.

Now, to be clear, there isn’t a VOST capability just floating around, waiting to help everyone.  It is important to note that if a community or emergency response entity wants to have a VOST team, it must work to create such a capability in its jurisdiction.  There are currently 31 VOST team in various stages of development all around the world.

VOST Team Leaders convene monthly in a Leadership Coalition conference call to debrief activations and chat about how their teams are developing, training and exercising.  If you are interested in joining these calls, simply email Cheryl at cherylble@gmail.com to be added to the growing email list.

To learn more about the VOST concept generally, also feel free to check out the VOST website at http://vosg.us which is maintained by Joanna Lane of @NYVOST.

Getting back to our #SMEMBowl exercise…..here is what happened today.

  • The Game Parameters were placed on a Google Doc to advertise the exercise,
  • A Skype Incident Room was created. Everyone who wanted to participate was added into one Skype-chat so that we could all coordinate via text-based chatting,
  • A VOST Workbook was opened and access was granted to everyone who was playing (note: access has since been changed to “comment only” so that you can check it out),
  • People began to collaborate and fill in the workbook,
  • With a mix of experienced VOST members and brand new members, we were able to answer questions, mentor and illustrate some of the work that occurs on regular VOST missions.

At the end of the day, 15 people participated in #SMEMBowl and we have 5 freshly trained folks who have now had a taste of what working a real mission is like.  The returning members also had the chance to brush up on their skills and hang out with each other virtually.

And for those of us who could care less about the Superbowl?  We had fun AND prepared for our next disaster which is a huge win.

If you’ve never considered putting together a Virtual Operations Support Team (VOST), feel free to take a brief look through my agency’s Field Operations Guide.  If you find it useful, feel free to make a copy and modify it with your agency’s needs in mind.

If your agency is still struggling to monitor social media during times of crisis, consider developing a VOST team to help you manage and seek out valuable information.  Our VOST community has an active Skype Room called “All Things VOS” which you can be added to anytime.  Simply connect with a #VOST team leader by using the hashtag #VOST in a tweet with your request.

It’s okay to love sports, but don’t stand on the social media sidelines and hope that it’s okay that you don’t engage.  People will be talking and managing your emergency without you if you ignore the conversation.

 

 

 

Print Friendly
Share

Never Too Old

1490820_10202619562684558_459251072_o

Two days ago, my grandfather turned 90 years old.

Today? He joined Facebook and sent me a “friend” request. I nearly fell off my chair.

Age is one of those fascinating things in social media because there are many people who relegate social media to the “younger generation” and yet, there is a growing number of seniors who regularly use social media

In fact, in November of 2013, NPR shared that seniors (over the age of 65) are, indeed, the fastest growing group on social media. They were, of course, citing the most recent PEW report on Internet Life which noted that over 50% of seniors now use social media.  This demographic change in recent years is due, in large part, to the number of people who turn 65 every single day.

But the truth is, with regards to senior usage of online sites, people join social media because of “perceived” need.  While many seniors are happy with their networks of relationships, many also realize that they can stay in touch with a broader number of friends and family online.  This can be particularly true with keeping pace with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

And, all too often, I hear middle-aged emergency managers quickly dismiss social media without even evaluating their community’s use of social media.  In fact, I often say that if I had a dollar for every time I’m told that peers of mine feel like they will retire before they really need to care about social media, I would be rich.  But I do shake my head.

Our communities are using social media.  Our kids are using social media. Our parents are using social media. And even our grandparents are using social media.

And just in case you need a little perspective on my Grandpa’s age.

  • The FCC was formed when my grandfather turned 10 years old in order to regulate radio communications.
  • The very first Winter Olympics was held in France along with the very first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
  • IBM was actually founded the year he was born.
  • He saw “Gone With the Wind” at age 15 when it was first released in the movie theaters.

If you are avoiding social media, it’s time to stop. Seriously.

 

Print Friendly
Share

Flawless Grammar?

1530301_10100533709403945_1579538872_n

Earlier this week, some of my friends were taking a class at the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) for Advanced Public Information Officers.

They shared this Twitter slide as it was shared in class and it made me a little crazy for the following reasons:

  • Twitter is platform that allows you 140 characters.
  • Your goal is to have your information re-shared or retweeted.  This means you can’t use the full 140 characters.  A better goal is about 100 characters.
  • If you’re critiquing grammar on Twitter, you probably haven’t really been on Twitter.

Engagement on Twitter can look very short and sweet, but rarely follows anyone’s style guide. Sorry, Chicago.

Here is an example:

In this Tweet, by my friend Caz Milligan, here are some things to notice:

  • The first character is a “.” This allows the general public to see the Tweet.  If Caz had directed this tweet to @mtthwhgn, only she, the recipient and those who follow both Caz and @mtthwhgn would see the Tweet in the general timeline.  By putting any character at the start of the tweet, it will be seen by anyone that follows Caz.
  • You’ll notice the use of the SMEM hashtag as illustrated by #smem.  This is like shipping a Tweet into a stream.  A hashtag (placing a # sign in front of any word) will make it independently searchable.  So, anyone watching the #SMEM comments on Twitter (but who may not follow Caz) will also be able to see this Tweet.  Same goes for her use of the hashtag #resilience.
  • The word “thank you” is shortened by TY (also, probably not in any style guide for good grammar).  You’ll also see regular use of the acronyms RT (re-tweet) and MT (modified tweet).  Many other text-based abbreviations are used in Twitter.  Here is a good list if you need a reference:   http://www.webopedia.com/quick_ref/textmessageabbreviations.asp
  • And while you don’t see it in this Tweet, you may even see numbers used in place of words like 2 = to, too, two, 4 = for and/or B4 = before.

While the world can always use more encouragement for folks to focus on grammar, practicing your good grammar skills on Twitter is not really necessary.

The Twitter community will ask you to provide timely, relevant and interesting information.  Accuracy is good, too, although in dynamic situations may be a little tricky.  I’ve heard it said that you can be timely or accurate, but rarely both at the same time.  Your community will forgive you for inaccuracies as long as you quickly correct misinformation and communicate regularly.

So, save your grammar pokes for Facebook, okay?

santa grammar

Print Friendly
Share
  • Subscribe via Email

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Archives

  • Recent Comments