My aha moment of #hashtags

For the past month and half I have been tweeting and continue to do so on a daily basis as part of an assignment for a communications course I am currently taking at the University of Alberta. One of the main goals of this assignment is to increase my online social media presence and to expand my tweeter network.

Tweeting on daily basis has not been such a difficult task, as I always find interesting topics to tweet about, but increasing my network has been more challenging. Since I wanted the attention of my classmates, I used our course hashtag, #comm506, for every tweet I sent. This strategy helped me to increase the number of followers on my account in the first week of the assignment. This seemed like a great start, but in the second week I could not attract any new followers. This forced me to re-think my strategy, as I wanted to draw the attention of additional users.

During my third week, I thought that it would be a great idea to add another hashtag, something trendy and common among my tweets, and so I chose #socialmedia. I was very excited to when I saw that this hashtag attracted 3 new followers to my account. As in the previous weeks, however, I was not able to attract other followers in the following week.

In my 5th week of tweeting, I decided to play around with hashtags and add them in relation to the tweet I was tweeting out. For instance, if the tweet was about Google Analytics, I would add #googleanalytics.  This approach was very successful, resulting in a high number of new followers at the end of that week. In addition to that, I also noticed that random people sent me tweets in response to my earlier posts. That is when I had my aha moment of hashtags.

Hashtags are great! They should be used in multiple ways. First, they should be used to attract specific groups of users who are interested in similar issues. Second, it is ok to have more than one hashtag in a tweet. Lastly, it is important to add a hashtag that is related to the body of the tweet.

What is social networking and why people socialize?

Kadushin explains that people join social networks to derive some kind of benefit, by accessing information, which to them may seem valuable. This can include information on employment, answers to questions, finding people with similar hobbies, and keeping an eye on the activities of their friends (p.6). Kadushin’s view of social networks is rather pessimistic, as people seem to connect with others in the expectation of reaping a certain benefit. In other words, people do not engage with each other simply for the sake of doing so.

Even though I tend to agree with Kadushin’s assessment, I find it disappointing that people socialize with each other only when they feel they can get something in return. One can even notice this in relationships that should in theory be based on something more abstract. Even though our society tends to idealize the familial network as a social unit based on unconditional love and support, this is not necessarily the case. To be brutally honest about this, one has to realize that we engage in relationships because those relationships are good for us; we have a strong connection to our loved ones because they provide us with a benefit. Family members make us feel loved and appreciated. In situations when this is not the case, a family remains such in name only, as its members slowly drift apart from each other toward other groups that can provide them with those missing benefits.  This may sound very sad, but I guess this is just human nature. In fact, one cannot help but be reminded of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs when contemplating this topic.

Kadushin, C. (2012). Understanding Social Networks: Theories, concepts, and findings/ Charles Kadushin New York: Oxford University Press, c2012.

What is Twitter and how do you use it effectively?

If you do not know what Twitter is then you are missing out on a great communication tool that can help you stay up-to-date with your contacts and get the latest news or gossip. Twitter is an online social media tool that allows those with an account to write anything they want in 140 characters or less. Twitter is used by various organizations, businesses, celebrities, and ordinary people.

So, how does it all work? Let’s take, for example, and imaginary user by the name of John. John joins Twitter to follow his friends and favourite athletes. Every time one of his contacts tweets, John is able to see it and know what is happening. Similarly, John can update those who subscribe to follow him with his latest tweets. The nature of those updates can very, as some users may post their selfies from, let’s say, a concert, or announce an upcoming wedding. Although John can follow many people, they don’t have to follow him.

Having twitter can be fun as it allows you to interact and meet new people who have similar interests as you, but how can you use it effectively? Below are my top 5 tips based on my personal experience:

1. Tweet daily – tweeting on a daily basis can keep your contacts engaged and up-to-date. In addition to tweeting from your computer you can use your cellphone to tweet using text messaging or the Twitter app. You can also program your tweets ahead of time using TweetDeck and Hootsuite.

2. Retweet – create conversations with your contacts by retweeting others’ posts.

3. Use hashtags when tweeting – Hashtags can help find people who are interested in the same topic as you.


4.Thank your new followers – if you have a new follower, thank them for following you. Users feel good when they are recognized.

5. Think before you tweet – do not tweet stupid things. It would be up to you to figure out what is a stupid tweet, but remember that your followers may consist of friends, coworkers, and unknown people so you should consider their reaction to your tweet before tweeting out.

The above tips are based on my experience and I hope you find them useful. If you have other tips, feel free to leave a comment. In the meantime, follow me at Yuliya_Mass and let’s tweet to each other!

PLN – Visualized Networking Map

The second phase of my Personal Learning Network research consists of building a networking map that outlines my findings in a visual way.

My Personal Learning Network is visualized on the mindmeister. In order to start following people, I have searched various articles that talk about the management of public relations. I have found various articles about the topic and did a further research about the authors of the articles. If the author had a twitter or a blog account, I followed them. I also found groups on LinkedIn and one website that specialized in the management of PR. I also found various real life cases that I would like to use for my final presentation. Finally, I have created a few Google alerts and I receive topics of my interest once a day on my email.

PLN on mind map

For a closer look of my map click here.

What do you think about it?
Do you have any suggestions on how I can improve my research?