Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Lowering Twitter barriers to entry

Is Twitter a generational thing? Yes and no. Is everyone on Twitter? No. According to the Pew Internet & American Life 2012 Twitter Survey a little over a quarter of people aged 18-29 surveyed used Twitter, compared to about one tenth of those in the 50-64 age group. Yes, that difference is big, but what I find interesting is that three quarters of those aged 18-29 do not use Twitter. In fact, the majority of people polled do not use Twitter and if you dig a little deeper you notice that less than a tenth of Twitter users surveyed use it on a daily basis. Why is that? I would argue that part of the reason has to do with having the time to experiment with a new tool and do research into its value or how it fits into your work flows or life. This serves as a barrier to entry. With myriad ways to engage, who, either young or old, has time to achieve a comfort level with new technologies? If this is the case, how do we lower those barriers? How do we increase people’s comfort level such that they can use Twitter as well as other social media?

To help lower some of the barriers to entry, the Agrilinks team has developed resources and how to’s. You can learn more about Twitter and good practices on our Twitter Training 101 page which includes a ~20 minute module on using Twitter. Twitter 101 also outlines some of the benefits of using Twitter, such as increasing your online visibility (and the visibility of your work), building relationships with others focused on similar technical areas, contributing to the dialogue on these topics, and more. The recently published Twitter 102 Training walks people through setting up an account and tweeting. In order to make our #AskAg Twitter Chats more accessible, we have developed guidance around the process, as well as a cool video. We also give people the opportunity to watch the conversation in real-time by providing a live-streaming window on the event page and sending out links to Twitter chat tools such as TweetChat and Twubs.

We strive to help make use of social media as easy as using a phone or email. Many of our #AskAg Twitter Chat experts had never used Twitter before or had created an account years ago and never did much with it (guilty!). For all of our social media platforms, we want to put the user experience first and foremost so that technology fades into the background while knowledge-sharing and learning take center stage.

How do you seek to get people in your organization to experiment and use social media? What have you found that works? Training? Incentives? Demonstration? Please share your experiences or add resource recommendations to our Twitter Training Page.