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Using Twitter as Professionals

#Why_did_Twitter_succeed_in_Saudi_Arabia or #لماذا_نجح_التويتر_في_السعودية  Saudi netizens like Twitter because it allows to express themselves freely in an otherwise conservative society.

Things like internet penetration rate and mobile phone accessibility encourage more usage of social networks but there are more to using Twitter than just that for Saudis. Based on tweets from the hashtag

But as with everything else, Twitter is a tool that can be used differently depending on your personal or professional objectives. Although Twitter is considered a social network similar to Facebook, especially by those who just don’t get it, it’s actually a news network, one that is mainly used to share information and public messages that can be transmitted using no more than 140 characters.

Regardless of your working field, being active on Twitter is going to help your career a lot especially that you live in Saudi Arabia, where the highest population of Internet users exist. What does that mean for you? It means you have more people to interact with online than offline probably. In addition to that, being on Twitter or Facebook is a great way to increase your knowledge of technology, social media, marketing and your industry as well.
In this article, we will explain Twitter for you in the simplest way possible.
Creating your account
Before you go on and create your Twitter account; decide if you want to engage with the community and connect with professionals and colleagues or just want to follow news and articles as well as follow the leaders in your industry to learn from them. While your purpose might change or even be both; to connect and engage as well as keep up-to-date it’s essential to have a plan.

After deciding on the purpose of having a Twitter account; the next step is signing up and choosing your username. While you can change your username (@username is called handle in Twitter terminology), it is not recommended to do so after a while because people will most likely remember your old handle and keep on using it without knowing you have changed it. This will cause messages sent to you publicly (mentions) or direct messages to be lost.

It is wise to choose a handle that is closest to your real name, this way co-workers and past colleagues will recognize you immediately. Stay away from nicknames and usernames that contain numbers. Another option is to use your professional blog’s title or Website name as your Twitter handle. Then it will help you market your Website/blog professionally and build a brand for it. When you start working on your Twitter profile; the first and most important part to work on should be your bio. Think of your bio as your personal brand statement which is typically a 1-2 sentences that answer the questions: who are you at the core? Who do you serve? And how do you do it differently?. A personal brand statement should be memorable, punchy and solution oriented.

Your bio should include a semi-professional picture of you; and I say semi because you need to show your personal side as well but don’t over do it. Technically, Twitter uses square profile pictures, so try to scale your picture appropriately before you upload it. The maximum file size for the profile picture is 2MB, but what will people see is a 73x73 image on your Twitter profile page and an even smaller 48x48 one in your tweets. That said, people can still see the original picture you uploaded in full size if they click on it. You can also upload a picture to be your profile header. This one can be as large as 5MB in size. The recommended width and height are 1252 x 626 pixels.

Congrats, your profile is ready. Start tweeting about professional topics and personal interests but focus more on your work; your job, your field, the industry. This doesn’t mean that you should only talk about the things that you do or know, Twitter is all about conversations so participate in them by asking questions, helping others and sharing and retweeting others’ opinions and links.
Remember this: if you don’t have tweets yet, people will not follow you. Try to have at least 20 tweets before you follow others.
Join the conversation
There are several ways to start following people on Twitter. When you sign up for Twitter it often suggests a list of users based on the interests listed by you. Later on, whenever you view the profile of a Twitter user you’ll find suggested people to follow who are similar to that user. Twitter has a search engine that you can use to search for tweets or people either by name, handle, keyword or geographical location. Start by looking for former colleagues and co-workers.

Many people choose to be notified by email when someone new follows them on Twitter. They will receive a short description of your profile, which will help them decide if they want to follow you as well. Another tip is to use Web services like Twellow or Wefollow to find experts from your industry. Dedicate certain day for searching and following new people. Twitter was made for daily usage so don’t abandon Twitter for more than a day if you have to but watch out for constant tweeting as followers will start unfollowing you if you tweet everytime you every 10 minutes even though you don’t have anything meaningful to say. You’re cluttering their timeline and damaging your brand. Some might not unfollow you out of courtesy but they will definitely skip your tweets. Make sure that you respond to mentions all the time and give thoughtful comments.

Follow trending topics and hashtags. A hashtag is a user-made category or tag; think of it as a name for a conversation that was started by someone on Twitter with the intention of creating a trend or classifying a set of upcoming tweets. Hashtags are words preceded by the symbol #. Twitter turn a hashtag into a clickable link that aggregates all tweets using that hashtag, making it searchable. For example, if you are tweeting about using Twitter as a professional you can use any or all of the following hashtags:
Try to search for those hashtags as an exercise.
Or if you are tweeting about a financial management workshop taking place in Jeddah, you can use any or all of the following hashtags:
Bear in mind that the above hashtag are only examples. Anyone on Twitter can create a hashtag or use an existing one; sometimes not knowing if it exists or not. Most of the well-organized events have official hashtags that they announce online and offline. The rule is, if there’s an official hashtag or one that is already trending, use it. It will help your tweets reach more people and contribute to the main conversation taking place.
Managing your Twitter feed
Just like Facebook, Twitter lets you add accounts that you’re following to lists; except these lists can be public if you want to. This makes it easier for you to read and respond to tweets. Go to your profile page and click on the "Lists" section to create a list. Choose the people you want in your list, and decide if you want other people to see it, by making it public or private. To stay connected to your timeline; download Twitter application to your smart phone, so that you can catch up on your tweets during your commute or waiting times.
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