National Harbor, Md. — Anyone can be the authority of a field of expertise, if only for seven minutes. That’s the power of Twitter, according to Liz Rock, associate manager — enterprise social media for the Association of International Certified Public Accountants.
Rock presented her education lab “Hashtags, Handles, and Tweets, Oh My!” at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Not-for-Profit Industry Conference on Monday. Though a familiar social media platform to many, just half of attendees in the room indicated that they had much familiarity with the platform. Considerably fewer operated a personal or professional account. The lab provided attendees with some basics.
Twitter is like a personal newspaper, according to Rock. One can choose to focus on the business section, sports, comics, or all of the above. Information feeds are very news-oriented and time sensitive. The average shelf life of a tweet is just seven minutes — meaning at that point those who will see it have seen it already.
Strengths of Twitter include the ability to ascend to a thought or subject-matter leader. If you or your organization were to provide consistent insight or news on a particular topic, the opportunity is open for others in the industry to turn to you as an authority. Rock noted that a large number of the conference presenters ascended from the Twitterverse. They started by engaging with AICPA via Twitter, then contributed a few guest blogs, and then, finally, were invited to lead conference sessions.
- Twitter also lacks a hierarchy, Rock said. Everyday people can interact with world leaders and business moguls without much of a barrier. Basic steps to using Twitter, according to Rock, include:
- Create an account. Include some information about yourself in the designated space. Also be sure to include a photo of yourself. Nobody wants to look at Twitter’s default image — an egg;”
- Use hashtags. Including hashtags in posts is helpful in allowing your insights to be aggregated with those of similar topics. Hashtags on topics such as blockchain and cryptocurrency are particularly popular in the accounting field at the moment, Rock said; and,
- Engage with others. Not dissimilar from Facebook, there are options to “like” someone’s post, share or “retweet” it, and retweet along with a personal comment.
An attendee asked whether it was best to operate one or multiple accounts for personal professional use. Rock stated that it is a matter of preference, but multiple accounts has the potential of confusing others. Using one account for both personal and private life might also create issues, especially if one publishes controversial personal thoughts. Rock’s preference has been to keep platform separate: LinkedIn and Twitter accounts that are purely professional and a Facebook account that is purely private.
Those with additional questions and concerns about Twitter may access AICPA’s user guide at https://bit.ly/2MGAPjI