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From Twitter With Love (or "How-to connect with the eZ Publish Community on Twitter using Hootsuite")

Tuesday 13 December 2011 9:59:15 am

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The eZ Publish Community is exposed on many different channels: Forums, blogs and tutorials on share.ez.no, Google+, IRC, Mailing lists...and Twitter. You can get the full list of all available channels here at http://share.ez.no/get-involved/exchange.
 
Let me explain first why I found Twitter a noisy place and then how I found ways to boil it down to pure fun, without reducing the amount of qualitative content processed.
The beloved hashtags are:

  • #ezpublish
  • #ezcommunity
 

Twitter, the (scary) basics

I will specifically focus on Twitter today. I scan and garden the eZ Community Twitter activity several times a day, which is particularly suited for peer-to-peer, live interactions, but also group discussions and evangelism. The inherent limitation of this means of communication is the message length: no more than 140 characters. While it might sound very limiting at first, it turns out that Twitter truly is a new way of exchanging that did not exist before, thus leading to new usages, new habits and new tools.
 
From a community management perspective, Twitter is one of the online places where one's brand/community reputation is publicly at stake, on a channel where:

  • light speed spread of content,
  • avalanche/after-shock effects,
  • potentially infinite volume of data to process

are common. Scary.

Did you ever, all of a sudden, realize that after a one hour long ramble on Twitter, only 1%* of all the messages you processed was useful to you? That, in other words, you could have spent (doing the math now) 36 seconds processing through the useful content and spent the other 59 minutes and 24 seconds doing something else? (processing Google+, for example).
 

*NOTE: the percentage may vary.

 

It's all about filtering

The 99% of non-useful stuff is varied. It can range, depending on the type of persons you are following, from live biography ("I just hit my toe on the bed frame, ouch, it hurts! #toeintheframe #pain"), to pure spam ("Click this link to win an iPad now: http://scam.com/ipad #ipad"), through direct or indirect branded content ("I just tested the brand new, unreleased XXX tablet, check out my review: http://blog.somewhat-influential-blogger.org/i-received-a-free-tablet-and-brag-about-this-since-i-am-super-happy").

 

Lists

One counter measure is using Twitter lists. This is a native feature, allowing you to segment a bit by adding the persons you follow to one or several lists, public or private, corresponding to a specific group of interest, like for example, Robin's list of eZ Community members. Further on, it is possible to:

  • Check what is tweeted by the members of this list (and only them either through the Twitter web interface or any application, most of them support lists)
  • Have people follow your lists. Handy for them, the lists will be self-updated as you curate them (they have to be public, obviously).
 

Pros & cons of lists

Pros: Provides a good level of per topic filtering.
Cons: Curating a list takes time. A non-properly curated list may become less focused when list members' interests derive.

 

The pain points turned on their back using search & Hootsuite 

Now comes search. The ability to search the whole Twitter-sphere for keywords or hashtags, in real-time and the ability to search for a series of keywords depicting one center of interest. For example, you may want to read all tweets regarding eZ Publish and the eZ Community, by using: https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/ezpublish%20OR%20ezcommunity%20include%3Aretweets 
 
What if you have more than one center of interest? Say PHP and eZ Publish. Relentlessly seeking increased ease-of-use and time-effectiveness, one loves to have one single configurable tool to handle Twitter both from your desktop and in mobility. Let me introduce HootSuite, which i am personally using on a daily basis (I like it a lot).
 
It handles (among other) Twitter lists and multiple searches, presenting both as streams of tweets in one unique interface. On a side note, it also supports the usage of multiple Twitter accounts, as well as other social media tools (Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc).
 
Here is how you can proceed to connect with the eZ Publish Community on Twitter using HootSuite.

 

Step 1: Create a HootSuite account

Navigate to http://hootsuite.com and fill out the right-hand side form. You will immediately see the following:

Hootsuite Welcome page

 

Step 2: Configure your streams

Hit the "Add a Twitter profile" button, then "Connect with Twitter." A new column will appear, your "Home feed." This is where the fun begins - configuration of your streams.
 
Click the "Add Stream" button right under the one and only tab (labeled after your Twitter account), select "Twitter" in the left-menu (modal window), then the "Search" sub-tab, as shown below.

Hootsuite Twitter Stream configuration page

 

Save the changes, it's done. You now have, at a glance in your browser, most of the eZ Publish Community activity on Twitter. You can interact from HootSuite directly: reply, retweet, follow, unfollow.
 
Feel free to tweak the search words. You could for instance add:
"eZ Find OR ezfind OR eZ Flow OR ezflow OR eZ Conf OR ezconf."

 

Step 3: Go mobile

If you happen to have an Android-based phone, or iPhone or iPad, it becomes easier to stay in tune with the eZ Publish Community when in mobility.
 
Simply install the HootSuite application, log-in, and you will instantly see the streams configured from the web interface a few paragraphs ago. All types of handy notifications are available, and it is a very decent mobile Twitter client. This is my favorite one, acting both as client and multi-stream scanner.

 

Step 4: Tweet from HootSuite, tag with #ezpublish

This should get you a bunch of new followers :)
 
Useful Resources:

 
You can find the eZ Publish Community under the four thematic accounts listed here: http://share.ez.no/get-involved/exchange#twitter.
 
I am @jeanvoye, and I’m looking forward to Tweeting with you,
Cheers,
--
Nicolas

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