You may think of technical writers as people who sit in dimly lit rooms and write long, boring documents, well, think again. We’re now getting social and writing helpful content in 140 characters or less. It’s true!
Twitter allows you to share short bursts of genius in the form of quotes, games, political discussions or follow celebrity gossip; however, this platform can also contain mini-tutorials, helpful links, dynamic searches and possible connections to real people who may lead you to the information you need.
Searching for Help
To look for what you need within Twitter, type hashtags (#) or just the text related to your issue into the Search box at the top right of the Twitter page, next to your profile picture.
I used #Word2010 for an example and did a quick search, a full page of documentation displayed. By selecting Live, Photos or Videos, I could get more options. Live would show the conversation happening at this moment regarding my topic.
Photos will show a page of images relating to my topic, allow me to choose the one with the most relevant information for me and open the tweet so I can dive into more details.
Videos may be the most helpful since the tweet has the help file embedded within it. By clicking into the tweet, you can get instructions immediately without going to a website.
Searches can be saved by selecting the More Options drop-down and choosing Save Search. This allows you to return to the previous search page and receive new options with the same criteria.
Making Contacts and Connections
Twitter is a social platform and should be used accordingly. If, after doing a search, you find someone who is an expert in what you’ve searched or you see that they consistently post interesting content reach out to them and connect. Further details on the prospective connection can be seen in a snapshot by hovering over the bolded name at the beginning of the tweet text or selecting the name to view their profile page where you can see their views, followers, tweets, likes and lists.
You can reach your connections by:
• Retweeting posts to your followers (the user will receive a notification of this post)
• Clicking the Reply arrow to send a personal message
• Creating @mention (@stefwriter) post (they will also receive a notification)
• Clicking the bolded name (Stephanie Whitlow) at the beginning of the tweet text and clicking Follow
Ask questions of those who may be able to offer assistance or may direct you to others whom they follow to obtain additional help. Not only is there a possibility of getting your questions answered, but you may have made a connection that can help you in the future.
140 characters may seem restrictive but it really isn’t. The limiting text actually forces you to closely define what your needs are and creatively construct a way to narrow your search. You have the option to search millions of posts for help terms and find helpful people to answer your questions, now and in the future. Take advantage of the power of Twitter and message me @stefwriter if you have any questions, for documentation help or just to say hi!