Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Should your radio club be using Twitter?

The Perseids Meteor Shower has had plenty of publicity in the media this year and a 'Meteorwatch' has been taking place on Twitter, where observers tweet what they're seeing (or not).

This turns what could be a rather solitary pastime into quite a social one, which seems good - as well as having opportunities for help and advice to be givem.

I was impressed to see that the Newbury Astronomical Society have been using Twitter to publicise some of their activities.

It occurred to me that more radio clubs might want to be doing similar things to publicise their activities to both hams and non-hams alike. Maybe you could use it to remind people of upcoming talks, field days and so on. During events you could use it to send pictures or audio of what's going on. It's really simple and will almost certainly generate new interest.

Some amateur radio organisations such as NCDXF, TWIAR and so on have already embraced Twitter. The K5D expedition used Twitter too.

Be careful not to overload your followers! Personally, I found the K5D status tweets every hour a bit too frequent. It's great to have frequency information available, but in my opinion (which may be wrong!), that's better located on a website - leaving tweets for 'news/photo updates' as well as the occasional reminder of where to find definitive operational information.

Equally, I wouldn't want to see DXClusters tweeting DX spots - or people tweeting a list of QSLs received! All good information, but probably better disseminated through different channels. In my opinion, at least!

Of course, the nice thing about Twitter is that if you don't like how someone is using the service, you can simply 'unfollow' them and you don't see the updates anymore. Result!

Either way, it's clear that radio clubs and organisations can benefit from using Twitter to keep people informed of what's happening, in a topical and exciting way.

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