Innovations - Harnessing 'Twitter for good'

Sep 07, 2011

Are you using Twitter to do good in the world? Do you want to know how best to go about it? Claire Diaz Ortiz leads social innovation at Twitter Inc. Her new book, Twitter for good, launched on Sept.6. She answered your questions on how best to use Twitter to advance a good cause -- whether it be in support of a charity, philanthropic initiative or for-profit effort with the aim of solving a long-standing social problem.

HI All! Thanks for coming today to take part in a chat about my new book, Twitter for Good. I'm Claire Diaz-Ortiz, and I lead social innovation at Twitter, Inc.;)

How do I attract followers for my shameless plug "LeonTchaikovsky" on Twitter? I have one of those accounts where I have made over 600 comments and I believe i do not have a single follower who is not spam of some kind. I am one of those people who tweets like a tree falling down, and I am not certain if anyone can read me. I do have some funny tweets now and then. Honest.

Sounds like it's time for you to start connecting and making individuals relationships. Think about it less in terms of sending out informative marketing bits on your cause -- and more about developing real relationships on Twitter. Are some of your supporters already on Twitter? Deepen those relationships. Are there people you'd like to connect with? Reach out!

How can business' use twitter to benefit their business without negative attaches and in involving and enriching their followers?

If you're a business and you want to excel on Twitter, it's important to realize that (to some extent) you have to let your guard down. Twitter works because it allows a window onto your business, and you don't want to keep too closed off from your supporters and customers when connecting on Twitter.

Hi Claire, once again I'd like to thank you for your kind comment about my (some might think slightly harsh) review of your book. Do you think that the Hope140 Twitter account and website are working as hard as they could be? Stuart Witts :)

Hi Stuart -- Twitter is a crazy busy company and we work hard to do as much as we can with limited resources. I promise you I work 80 hours a week to make Hope 140 and other efforts powerful, and I do wish they could be better and more impactful ;)

HI, Claire. Are there certain types of events or causes that are a better fit for the Twitter Universe? How would I know if I'm reaching the people I should be reaching? Thanks, Fang

Hi Fang -- The beauty of Twitter is that it's a wide open for any cause to participate and draw strength from supporters. The one thing I would say is that make sure that when you first hop on and seek support, make it about relationships, and not immediately about fundraising. Most people in the world don't like to be asked for money immediately (on social media or elsewhere)! Make sense?

How do I find places where some are twittering about a subject I want to as well?

Make sure to use the search function on Twitter! It helps you find amazing individuals and lists of great causes. Also look out for follower suggestions -- it's a great way to pursue new relationships on the platform!

I like linking to outside content when I tweet, but doesn't that mean I lose Time on Site?

Don't worry -- that's great! The most important thing is that you provide excellent content to your followers so they keep coming back for more;)

Twitter allows you to bring together information from all different sources -- embrace that!

Is there a hashtag for this chat?

#Twitter4Good of course!

I wish I could have Twitter streaming as a sidebar on my homepage to view or use any time without leaving a site on web. Possible ?

Of course! Get the Twitter search widget here:

It's what I have on my blog ( as well.

Hi, Claire. First of all, thank you for the promo yesterday. I can't wait to read the book. Second, I work for a nonprofit, which is just getting started using Twitter. It's pretty intimidating, seeing other nonprofits with a ba-jillion followers, realizing how many people and organizations are out there. Where is a good place (or what is a good strategy) to start finding people to get involved with? I want to find people who care about causes more than their own name...or how awesome their lunch is.

Yeah -- it's hard to see the big, flashy numbers, but remember it's all about relationships. When just getting started on Twitter, go where you will have the most support right away: your existing donors and supporters. Find a few of them and Twitter, and start conversations. They will likely by so happy you're there that they start telling their friends;) Next step --> Branch out to find more people that *might* be able to help or support you. There are tons of potential supporters on Twitter - go find them!

In This Chat
Claire Diaz Ortiz
Claire Diaz Ortiz leads social innovation at Twitter Inc. She is the author of the new book "Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time." She can be found on Twitter via @claired.
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