Twitter for Trade Unions
Is your trade union on Twitter? Are you? If not, you should be.
Twitter is a powerful social media tool that keeps you informed as events occur. You can keep up-to-date on your labor union, your industry and any other news or personal interests.
Savvy trade unions tweet or post messages about contract negotiations, marches and rallies, petitions and a variety of other issues.
Each Tweet is a maximum of 140 characters, which may not seem like a lot of space at first.
As you get comfortable with Twitter, you’ll be amazed at what you and others can accomplish in 140 characters and how little of your time it takes to stay informed.
How To Sign Up for Twitter
1) Open up your Internet browser and type in Twitter.com. This will take you to Twitter’s home page.
2) Sign up for a Twitter account on the right-hand sign of the screen.
3) Type in your name or organization’s name, your email address and the password you want to use to access your Twitter account.
4) Click on the “Sign up for Twitter” button, which will bring you to a new screen.
5) Fill out any remaining fields on the new form and select your username, which will become your “Twitter handle.”
A note of caution. Your first choice of username might be taken so consider alternatives. You also can have fun with your username and create a stage name.
6) Click on “Create my Account.” A new screen appears welcoming you.
7) Click “Next.”
Here’s where Twitter suggests folks you can follow. Most of them are popular celebrities who have millions of followers. If you’re interested, just click “Follow” after their name.
How to Find Your Labor Union on Twitter
8) Notice the “Search” box above Twitter’s suggestions where it says “Find People to Follow.” Type in your union’s name or acronym.
Here’s an example where I typed in IATSE, the acronym for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. When I did this, up comes the Twitter handle for the International as well as IATSE organizations.
9) Do this for your union and click on the “Follow” box for people and organizations that you wish to follow.
9) Type AFLCIO in the search box. Up comes the Twitter handle for the AFL-CIO as well as AFL-CIO affiliates in organized labor. Follow any or all of them.
10) After you’ve selected a few people to follow, click “Next.”
11) The following screen prompts you to Find People You Know. Most of your first followers will come through your personal contacts so it’s a good idea to find and follow them.
Following your contacts lets them know you’re on Twitter. If your contacts are active Twitter users, they will usually follow you back. You can also bypass this step altogether and proceed to the next step.
Posting Your Profile Photo and Bio on Twitter
12) On the next screen, Twitter will invite you to upload an image which we strongly recommend. Use a good quality photograph, 500 square pixels, which is Twitter’s optimum size for profile photos.
13) Here’s also where you can include a short bio of yourself in 160 characters or less (20 more than tweets). If you’re stumped for ideas, click on some of the folks you follow and look at their bio’s.
14) Click “Done.” On the next screen you’ll reconfirm your email address. Be sure to visit your Email account and confirm.
Writing Your First Tweet
15) Now you’re ready to compose your first tweet.
You can tweet anything within 140 characters, which includes spaces. I recommend that you don’t post messages you wouldn’t want your kids to see or that a lawyer might not approve. Think former Congressman Anthony Weiner, AKA Carlos Danger.
If you’re unsure about Twitter, pick people or news organizations you want to follow and check in on their Tweets. As you observe what other people are tweeting, you’ll start to get ideas for your own Tweets.
There are several neat features within Twitter that you’ll come to know the more you use it. I’ll talk about these features in a future post.
Go Mobile on Twitter
One final suggestion. If you have a smart phone, be sure to download the free Twitter app. It’s a great way to access Twitter when you are on the go or on the picket line 🙂
You can follow me on Twitter @nancycinsf or follow FX Crowley @fxcrowleysf. Don’t forget about @aristndrds. And be sure to let us know in the comments below if this post inspired you or your union to sign up for Twitter. Solidarity Forever!