Grumpy Twitter Purist: “What’s this – another silly hashtag to clutter my timeline?”
H: “Well is you feel like that – but you don’t have to follow. We are all free to choose how we use twitter.”
Grumpy (but feeling guilty): “OK – so it’s an acronym – for what?
H: “Norfolk and Norwich Twitter Network.”
G: “And what’s that?”
H: “A name I came up with to describe all the wonderful people I follow (like you – *flattery*) who support Norwich and Norfolk in their tweets.”
G – but emollient: “OK – who can join? Do I have to live in Norfolk? And what are my duties?”
H: “Anyone can join. In fact, you have already joined (you RT’d something about an event in Norwich) – let’s call it auto-enrolment. You don’t have to live in Norfolk either (but it helps…Why would you want to live anywhere else?). No real duties – but it would be great if you could use your social media network to continue supporting cultural life in Norfolk and Norwich.”
H: “Well – for a start it will probably make you feel better – it gives you a sense of belonging and doing something useful to help others. It also brings people together – that makes us stronger as a society. Isn’t that why we use social networks?
“It is also a great way of promoting Norfolk and Norwich to the outside world – it shows that we have a vibrant community and take pride in it. That in turn will help persuade people to #VisitNorfolk and #VisitNorfolk for holidays, which is good for the tourism industry and for the wider economy (think of all those people employed in restaurants, petrol stations, art galleries, hotels – all needing services such as advertising, laundry, baking).
It might also persuade more people to set up businesses in the county. There is some evidence that companies are attracted to communities with strong cultural amenities (call it ‘The Opera Effect’ http://www.theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2011/11/opera-house-effect/586/)
G: “OK, OK – so can I advertise my business using #VisitNorfolk #VisitNorwich?”
H: “No. – (Well, yes but) I suggest you don’t. You see – the whole point of this is to support others. Say you run a tourist related business – you could just post tweets saying ‘Use me when you #VisitNorfolk’ – but I guarantee you that most people will regard this as boasting (or puffery to use the PR term). It’s counter productive – it doesn’t engage your audience.”
G: “Go on.”
H: “Here’s a suggestion: to convince people that you are an authority on the local area – tweet about what’s going on in that area. Tweet about fêtes, concerts, county shows, local shops, good pubs, beautiful walks, fun things for families to do – and so on. People will follow you because you are a source of information – and, if your twitter profile is good, they will find out all they need to know about your service, when they need it.”
G: “OK – so I use #VisitNorfolk and #VisitNorwich in my tweets when I want to promote someone else’s event or service?”
H: “Exactly – and there’s more. You see, like many people, I have saved various search terms – including #VisitNorfolk #VisitNorwich – and I check them regularly to see if anyone has used them for interesting tweets. If they have – I retweet them.
“So using recognised hashtags helps people who are interested in the same thing find your tweets – and share them. That increases (amplifies) your reach, your influence – and that gets you more followers”
G: “So how to I let people know I have joined #NaNTwiNk?”
H: “Ah – that’s the fun part – you can tweet about it – either simply tweet ‘I’ve joined #NaNTwiNk and so can you…’ – and include a link to this blog – or, if you prefer you can tweet ‘I’m in the pink, I’m in #NaNTwiNk – and here’s the link…’ (but you might think that too silly for words).”
G: “Something like that. And what about the name – that also sounds very silly. As others have said – Nan Twink – is she some friendly granny?”
H: “I know – but NATO sounds pretty silly (rhymes with potato) but it still works – at least you won’t forget #NanTwink will you – and what’s so wrong with a bit of silliness now and then?”
G: “Fair point – goodnight.”
H: “Thank you – goodnight too.”