Book Review: Twitter For Good

Twitter is a powerful communications tool, but figuring out the best way to use it can be somewhat of a mystery. Twitter mastery can be especially daunting for nonprofits and other cause-based organizations, whose staffs have heard that Twitter can be a tool for changing the world. If that's true, then how does one go about doing so?

This guidebook, Twitter For Good, by Claire Diaz-Ortiz, the manager of social innovation and philanthropy at Twitter, seeks to provide answers. By and large it hits the mark. The book cites many case studies of successful Twitter campaigns and explains why those campaigns were successful. The book also explains the kinds of mistakes nonprofits make on Twitter, helping readers steer clear of those mistakes.

These are some of the takeaways I had from this book: Consider the benefits of using a Twitter client (such as Hootsuite) rather than using the Web interface to Twitter. Twitter clients can make following hashtags much easier. Consider the benefits of adding rich media to your tweets. You can engage your followers more deeply in this way. Develop skill at composing the right hashtag for your tweet. Be very careful to use just one or two hashtags per tweet.

This book contains many such tips. The writing style is engaging and easy to read. My one criticism is that the word tweet is capitalized throughout the book. This seems self-serving and unnecessary. It's as if someone from Microsoft wrote a book that capitalized the word software throughout it.

Who could benefit most from this book? Nonprofit and cause-related Twitter users who already know Twitter but want to hone their skills and techniques. Someone totally new to Twitter might find this book a bit much. While written for a specific audience, this book has relevance and appeal to general Twitter users.

Phil Shapiro

The blogger, a member of the Internet Press Guild, is an educator at a public library in the Washington, D.C., area and teaches an occasional graduate educational technology class at American University, in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at philshapiroblogger@gmail.com and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/philshapiro

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