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Using Twitter Effectively

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You may have noticed Metal Toad has been expanding our scope when it comes to blog content – namely a lot of interviews, event coverage, and a podcast. Because Metal Toad is active in the Portland tech commuity, and because we believe so much in open source software and web standards, we think it is important to try and capture and share as much of the knowledge that is floating out there as we can.

As Technical Editor, I’ve been put in charge of not only capturing all this cool stuff, but making sure that you get to see it. Normally our procedure for getting this stuff out is posting it to our blog, mentioning it on our Facebook and Google+, and then tweeting about it – usually with just the blog title post, bitly link and Twitter credit to the author.

However, a converstation we had with Laura Fitton at the recent WebVisions conference made me rethink that strategy. Although I believe our blog posts have excellent content and are worth a read, it is up to me to get you, the reader, to click that link and read the article, or else zero value is gained for you and our effort to reach out to an audience has failed.

Be Useful

Laura mentioned in our interview that the number one thing you should be to your audience is be useful. So when she said “you can just put up the title of the blog and a link to the post…” with a disapproving face, behind the camera I thought to myself “that is exactly what we do. “ It also immediately made me think of our posts to reddit, which we occasionally do. Posts with titles that ask a question or otherwise engage the audience seem to perform much better than submissions with just the title. The quality of the content is there in both, but engaging the audience is the important part… and waving a flag with just a blog post title and a link isn’t enough.

It is an exciting time for us as we keep expanding the ways we reach out to the community, but it is important to us to hear back. Please share any thoughts or ideas on the best ways that you share your stuff, whatever that is. Meanwhile, we will keep trying to create content that reflects our enthusiam for what we do… and by “we” I’m including the reader as well. Open-source software is “social” by default, and I hope the content we create and share is valuable for both creator and reader.

Date posted: June 11, 2012


Thanks for your work with web design issues and topics. Most of all your support of open source.

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