How to use Twitter for Internal Communications

06Jan09

Twitter is my favorite social media tool, obviously. And there are ways to use it for internal communications.

I currently have it set-up with some of my co-workers to help up collaborate on projects and (as long as everyone is checking Twitter) it works well for instantaneous communications. Here’s what we do…

We set-up an account just for us (name secret since we do use this for internal communications, I will refer to this as the general account) and protected the updates so that people cannot see them. I’d suggest something that is evocative of your group of people you work with and your organization.

Then you register this Twitter account with GroupTweet.com. What Group Tweet does is turn any direct message (private message between two accounts on Twitter) into a Tweet that is sent out like a normal message from that account. The reason is stays private is because we protected the updates, so anyone that follows the updates must be approved, meaning you control who sees the updates.

For example I send the tweet “Can everyone meet @ 2pm today to go over the proposal?” as a direct message to the general account, then my general account will send out a message that says “via MissLynn13: Can everyone meet @ 2pm today to go over the proposal?”. Pretty easy huh?

Alright the downsides: There is a bit of lag time, not as instantaneous as a normal Twitter experience. Also, if you are a big Twitter freak like me, the messages can get lost in the mix. You can solve that by looking at the account’s stream on Twitter.com/generalaccount, but still.

The Alternative: Yammer.

Yammer is an internal Twitter like communications platform. They modeled it on Twitter’s great features, but added some features of their own, like groups. I set up a Yammer account for AAPA, but we found Twitter mixed in better to what we were already doing, though I do really like Yammer and think it a GREAT tool for internal communication. The only downside is that someone has to have an email with your companies domain, so if you have to communicate with the leadership, they need to have an email with your organization’s domain. Okay bummer, but with the option for file sharing Yammer really makes up for it’s downside.

Just remember though, if you try something don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work right away. It takes time to get used to using these tools. Add-on desktop applications are a way to shorten the learning curve (Yammer has one of these too!), but it takes time to learn to use the tools. Use terms that people are comfortable with, like instant message. I always describe Twitter as a broadcast instant message service.

Good luck & happy communicating!

~Lynn

Resources:

Post on 360 Digital Influence about Yammer

GroupTweet

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55 Responses to “How to use Twitter for Internal Communications”

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    A way to keep track of that generalaccount would be to use a desktop client like Tweetdeck or Seesmic.

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