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Thread: Do you use Twitter? If so, why?

  1. #1

    Do you use Twitter? If so, why?

    I'm putting together a handout for the Twitter table at the National APA Conference next month about the value of Twitter to planners.

    Are you a planner (or an aspiring planner) who uses Twitter? I'd love to quote you on why you tweet. Would you please reply to this thread with a 140 character reason of why you are on Twitter along with your Twitter handle?

    If you want more info about the APA's Twitter table or to read why other planners are on Twitter, here's my blog post on this topic: 10 Reasons Urban Planners Should Be On Twitter. If you'll be at the APA conference, please stop by and say "Hi" to us volunteers at the Twitter table. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Not on Twitter. Mostly mindless chatter. Not enough space to say anything meaningful.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Don't you have to have a cell phone first ?
    I still don't.
    Oddball
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    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
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    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    JNA, twitter is available on a webpage, mobile aps for phones or ipods too.

    I used twitter extensively when job hunting for networking. I was publishing a blog at the time as well and I used twitter to push the blog updates which drove quite a bit of traffic to my site.

    I use twitter for professional info. Though I follow 400+ people only about 200 of them post regularly and most of the time it is a quick form of stumbleupon where I can see a quick blurb about an article and a small link and decide if I want to read it or not depending on who it's from. I find a lot of interesting information come across twitter from obscure sources and foreign papers.

  5. #5
    Cardinal -- Many planners feel that same way that you do in that Twitter is just chatter. Other folks think it's a good way to stay in touch with interesting planning projects around the world.

    JNA -- Tide is correct in that you don't need a smart phone to tweet. You can tweet from a web browser.

    Tide -- Awesome reasons for using Twitter. I'd love to quote you if you're comfortable with me doing so. If so, what's your Twitter handle? Either post it below or you can tweet it at me: @cubitplanning. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kcarney View post
    I'm putting together a handout for the Twitter table at the National APA Conference next month about the value of Twitter to planners.

    Are you a planner (or an aspiring planner) who uses Twitter? I'd love to quote you on why you tweet. Would you please reply to this thread with a 140 character reason of why you are on Twitter along with your Twitter handle?

    If you want more info about the APA's Twitter table or to read why other planners are on Twitter, here's my blog post on this topic: 10 Reasons Urban Planners Should Be On Twitter. If you'll be at the APA conference, please stop by and say "Hi" to us volunteers at the Twitter table. Thanks!
    Let us hope this fad lasts longer than New Urbanism.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    kcarney - sent you a private message

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    There's a lingering nipping at me that I should use it. I'm in the leading demographic right? Early 30s, facebook-friendly, own and use a smart-phone with skill and ease. Yet I still have never ventured over to twitter or tweet, agreeing with a previous reply that it just seems like a bunch of chatter about what people ate for breakfast or what happened on American Idol last night.

    That said, if you're interested in professional applications, I know our highway department uses it to tweet about road conditions in town and have quite a few followers.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ThePinkPlanner View post
    There's a lingering nipping at me that I should use it. I'm in the leading demographic right? Early 30s, facebook-friendly, own and use a smart-phone with skill and ease. Yet I still have never ventured over to twitter or tweet, agreeing with a previous reply that it just seems like a bunch of chatter about what people ate for breakfast or what happened on American Idol last night.

    That said, if you're interested in professional applications, I know our highway department uses it to tweet about road conditions in town and have quite a few followers.
    I've never used Twitter and probably never will. Like many have stated, it just seems like mindless chatter about nothing in particular mostly by people who just feel a need to feel important somehow.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  10. #10
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ThePinkPlanner View post
    There's a lingering nipping at me that I should use it. I'm in the leading demographic right? Early 30s, facebook-friendly, own and use a smart-phone with skill and ease. Yet I still have never ventured over to twitter or tweet, agreeing with a previous reply that it just seems like a bunch of chatter about what people ate for breakfast or what happened on American Idol last night.

    That said, if you're interested in professional applications, I know our highway department uses it to tweet about road conditions in town and have quite a few followers.
    Quote Originally posted by Rygor View post
    I've never used Twitter and probably never will. Like many have stated, it just seems like mindless chatter about nothing in particular mostly by people who just feel a need to feel important somehow.
    Same here- i have no interest in using Twitter. I could understand how it could possibly be a handy tool if running a business, or when many people are interested in what you do- but that isnt applicable to me. I will stick with FB
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  11. #11
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    I don't even use facebook.

  12. #12
    Twitter is the most valuable way to sift through the millions of things posted on the web each day.

    It is vital to finding good content for me.

    Follow me @charliehilton

  13. #13
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    i am starting to agree with charlie hilton. i used to bookmark or "feed" many different websites, but i really can't justify doing that everyday. twitter has made that easier, as it harnesses other people's similar interests and their willingness to share what they find. in addition, these other tweeters check many more sites for fresh info than i would ever spend the time to do. twitter is good for people who seek to keep up on the bleeding edge of a topic.

  14. #14
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kcarney View post
    I'm putting together a handout for the Twitter table at the National APA Conference next month about the value of Twitter to planners.
    How did the conference go? Did you find other planners were receptive?

    FWIW, Cyburbia has a twitter feed of new threads posted in the Planing and the Built Environment forums, with a few odd tweets about planning-related issues here and there. I don't Tweet personally; it's too much work on top of maintaining Cyburbia and my day job. I've been trying to convince local officials about the value of Twitter and other forms of social networking..
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Yes, largely because I felt my Facebook account was being overrun with mindless banter and baby photos. Ironically, I don't get any of that crap on Twitter...maybe it is because of the people I follow. I receive far, far more articles, interesting links and information on what is happening in my region and beyond then I have ever had with other social media mediums. I only follow about 50-60 individuals, organizations, groups, but I don't believe I've ever had a "XXX is going for coffee" update.

  16. #16

    4% of APA Conference Attendees Use Twitter During the Conference: Biggest Year Ever

    2011 was the biggest year for Twitter yet at the APA national conference. At least, 4% of conference attendees sent at least 1 tweet, and more than double the number of tweets were sent this year than last year. Tweets about the conference gave us a great source of data that we could dig into after the conference and look at the hot urban planning trends that were being discussed.

    If you're interested, here's my analysis of the tweets sent during the APA conference including the 33 most re-forwarded tweets or RTs, the words used most often, & the top Twitters. The stand out urban planning trends that I saw from tweets are: social media & technology, food systems, open data, how to plan for shrinking communities, jobs & entrepreneurialism, and what role do planners serve in today’s economic climate.

    Dr. Jennifer Evans-Cowley followed up my preliminary analysis with a deeper dive into APA 2011 Twitter data looking at the most popular topics of conversation, a sentiment analysis, and a look at equality of participation. Similar to other research about the use of social media a small number of people dominate the conversations with 6 percent of the users sending out 35 percent of the tweets. BUT, we can also see that we had a wide array of users with many participating one or a few times (72 twitters sent out 1 tweet & 62 twitters sent out 2 to 5 tweets).

    One more interesting post about Twitter & planning: Code for America just release the top Twittering Cities and Counties. The City of Minneapolis leads the way with over 8,000 Twitter followers.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    Maybe this should be in the "why not to use Twitter" topic: It can get you fired.

    Planner fired for calling the city 'an armpit'

    Lufkin City Manager Paul Parker says City Planner Trent Cantrell has been relieved of his duties after he took to Twitter to make disparaging remarks about the city.

    The Lufkin Daily News reports that Cantrell tweeted in March, "Lufkin is an armpit." Months before, he tweeted, "Just waiting for the heat to leave for good. Of course, Deep East Texas will still be a (expletive) hole."
    JOE ILIFF
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    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Joe Iliff View post
    [FONT="Times New Roman"][SIZE="3"]Maybe this should be in the "why not to use Twitter" topic: It can get you fired.
    I don't think using Twitter got him fired. I think being a dumb arse did.

  19. #19
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    For some reason, Cyburbia doesn't get as many Twitter followers as it should. There's a lot of planning-related blogs with many times the number of followers that Cyburbia has. We also don't get a lot of mentions or retweets. We've had a low-profile Twitter presence.

    We don't send out too many mass emails, but a couple of hours ago we sent out an email to all registered Cyburbia users, telling them about our feed. We're getting some new followers as a result, but I also got many "UNSUBSCRIBE" responses, as if this is some listserv. Let's see what happens ...
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  20. #20
    First off, I think it's awesome that Cyburbia is looking to expand its Twitter presence. More and more planners are using Twitter for professional and networking purposes, so it's a great place to extend the Cyburbia conversations and content.

    Twitter, just like any social networking site, has its own rules and conventions. I did a 10 second scan of Cyburbia's twitter page. The tweets that are going out are short and planning related, so great job on content.

    3 things that I did that increased the number of Twitter followers to my feed are:

    1. Loosely follow the rule of thirds: 1/3 of your tweets should be @ people (conversations); 1/3 of tweets should be RT other people/links to other interesting sites (helping others); 1/3 of tweets should be about your own content.

    2. Use hashtags. Dan, you already know this, but for others, the # symbol followed by words is called a hashtag & is used to mark topics in a tweet. So the tweet that Cyburbia sent out 1 hour ago was perfect "The Windy City is preparing for a heat wave — a permanent one. http://nyti.ms/kcBzXr (NY Times) #globalwarming" Keep doing that. Some of my favorite planning related hashtags are: #urbanplanning #transit #transportation #cplan #cities & #gov20.

    3. Use some advanced tools to figure out what time to tweet and capture other metrics. 6 of my favorite free Twitter tools are listed here: http://www.slideshare.net/kcarney/twitter-handouts2

    If all of this tweeting stuff is Greek to you, I really like the book Twitter for Dummies. Even if you are a twitter pro, you'll learn something new from this book.

  21. #21
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kcarney View post
    First off, I think it's awesome that Cyburbia is looking to expand its Twitter presence. More and more planners are using Twitter for professional and networking purposes, so it's a great place to extend the Cyburbia conversations and content.

    Twitter, just like any social networking site, has its own rules and conventions. I did a 10 second scan of Cyburbia's twitter page. The tweets that are going out are short and planning related, so great job on content.

    3 things that I did that increased the number of Twitter followers to my feed are:

    1. Loosely follow the rule of thirds: 1/3 of your tweets should be @ people (conversations); 1/3 of tweets should be RT other people/links to other interesting sites (helping others); 1/3 of tweets should be about your own content.

    2. Use hashtags. Dan, you already know this, but for others, the # symbol followed by words is called a hashtag & is used to mark topics in a tweet. So the tweet that Cyburbia sent out 1 hour ago was perfect "The Windy City is preparing for a heat wave — a permanent one. http://nyti.ms/kcBzXr (NY Times) #globalwarming" Keep doing that. Some of my favorite planning related hashtags are: #urbanplanning #transit #transportation #cplan #cities & #gov20.

    3. Use some advanced tools to figure out what time to tweet and capture other metrics. 6 of my favorite free Twitter tools are listed here: http://www.slideshare.net/kcarney/twitter-handouts2

    If all of this tweeting stuff is Greek to you, I really like the book Twitter for Dummies. Even if you are a twitter pro, you'll learn something new from this book.
    That's all great advice, and I'm going to follow it. Thanks for taking the time to share it!

    Right now, we've got a script that provides our Twitter feed with links to new threads in the on-topic areas (Planning and the Built Environment forums). Unfortunately, we can't really add a hash tag like #urbanplanning to those. I've just started to retweet others and post links to articles off the site.

    I still have a lot to learn about Twitter culture and etiquette. The other problem is overcoming what's been one of our weak spots for the past few years; Cyburbia gets a lot of traffic, but not the buzz that goes along with it, especially from urban pundit/urbanist blogger types, and what we call the "plannerati". We've always had to work a lot harder for the attention we do get than other sites, and I would imagine the same might be true of Twitter. For example, our Twitter feed isn't followed by anyone who has tens or hundreds of thousands of followers (e.g Richard Florida), so we're not going to benefit from their retweets.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  22. #22
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Followup question: do you think it would be spammy to post a note about Cyburbia's twitter feed to the mailing list of the local APA chapter? After all, they just added a feed for "the other site" on their Web page.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Followup question: do you think it would be spammy to post a note about Cyburbia's twitter feed to the mailing list of the local APA chapter? After all, they just added a feed for "the other site" on their Web page.
    Hit or miss Dan, it could go either way for you. Twitter is all about self promotion but utilizing other twitter feeds and facebook/linkedin to self promote is more accepted than email lists.

    I have seen the cyburbia twitter feeds recently and I think you need to separate your personal thoughts/tweets from the cyburbia forums. Maybe you can make a cyburbia_forums account and use that as the forum agrigator and then cyburbia as your personal??? Just a thought but I don't think the two should mix or if you do you should use a lead in marker like [D] for Dan or whatever you want to distinguish your tweets from forum auto-tweets.

  24. #24
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    Hit or miss Dan, it could go either way for you. Twitter is all about self promotion but utilizing other twitter feeds and facebook/linkedin to self promote is more accepted than email lists.

    I have seen the cyburbia twitter feeds recently and I think you need to separate your personal thoughts/tweets from the cyburbia forums. Maybe you can make a cyburbia_forums account and use that as the forum agrigator and then cyburbia as your personal??? Just a thought but I don't think the two should mix or if you do you should use a lead in marker like [D] for Dan or whatever you want to distinguish your tweets from forum auto-tweets.
    Good points, Tide. Thing is, when @cyburbia_forums was just the forum aggregator, not too many people were following it. Sure, thousands of blueshirts will follow @theothersite when they're not tweeting on anything besides themselves, but we've always had to try a bit harder. So, we're trying something different; the odd personal tweet, and a attempt to follow the "rule of thirds" as kcarney described. So far, it seems to be working.

    There's other ways to get just a feed of the Forums; RSS, for example, although it's not as prevalent as it once was.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  25. #25
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    I use twitter to market my products, it is a means of getting connected to peoples similar to facebook, but since twitter is more textual and less on applications and all, people are keener to read and reply back.

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