Twitter users: Please join me for TWEET LOCAL TUESDAY

twitter-birdI’m running my own social experiment on Twitter, trying to get people to tweet about items of local importance on Tuesdays, using the hashtag (label) #TLT for Tweet Local Tuesday and a hashtag for their community. Please join @griffinjay, @rosscurrier, and me, @tld, on Twitter to spread the word. Our hashtag for Northfield is #NfldMN.


  1. Hi Tracy! I’ve been Twittering for a while now, but I don’t fully understand how to participate in your experiment. Could you give more detailed instructions? Thanks!

    March 17, 2009
  2. Tracy Davis said:

    Geez…. you mean I’m starting to use cryptic Twitter shorthand in my everyday regular posts? Thanks for calling me on that. Let me take another stab at this, and bear with me, Bonnie, because I know you know a lot of this already.

    There are a few Twitter movements out there, like one called “FollowFriday”, in which people are encouraged to suggest Twitter users they recommend that others follow. I like the idea of trying to focus on tweets which may be of particular local significance, which (due to the nature of Twitter) may be seen by many people in different parts of the world. It has the combination of a community boost, and allows for some cross-pollination of ideas with other likeminded people. Hence, Tweet Local Tuesday. But before I get to the details on that, let me give a little background on Twitter.

    Twitter is limited to 140-character messages, so some shorthand conventions have developed to facilitate communication.

    Let’s pretend that Griff (@griffinjay on Twitter) sends out a message:

    griffinjay Northfield MN has a great community blog called

    If I wanted to forward the original message to the people who follow me on Twitter, I would preface the original message with the letters “RT” (for retweet) and his username (to give credit):

    RT @griffinjay Northfield MN has a great community blog called

    If I wanted to reply to that post, I would preface my reply with his username, including the @ sign, like this:

    @griffinjay Tell me more about this blog. How do you know about it?

    This syntax, called an “@reply”, is public like the original tweet.

    If I wanted to reply with a direct, private message which would only be seen by Griff but no one else, I’d preface my message with the command “d griffinjay” (which is shorthand for Direct message to user), like this:

    d griffinjay That’s the lamest thing I’ve ever seen. What were you thinking?

    So, there are four basic forms of dialog on Twitter:

    • The original tweet
    • d username (direct private message)
    • @username (public @replies to someone)
    • RT @username (retweets of someone else’s tweet)

    Sometimes, tweets are given a label called a “hashtag”, which is a word or phrase prefaced by the # sign. This allows people to track tweets on a particular topic. The Twitter hashtag for Northfield is #NfldMN. Now there’s a hashtag for “Tweet Local Tuesday”, which is #TLT.

    If you want to participate in Tweet Local Tuesday, there are a couple of ways to do it.

    1) Send a tweet of your own, with information or a link to something local, including the tag #TLT and maybe #NfldMN or #MN, like this one I did today:

    Latino community making excellent strides in entrepreneurship & local food production #TLT #NfldMN

    2) Another option, which I hope we’ll be able to do more of as more people participate, would be to simply “retweet” someone else’s tweet, like this one:

    RT @SchoolLunch: Addressing barriers to increase amount of locally grown food in school lunch programs in #MN. #TLT

    Man, this really looks complicated when I write it out, but after you’ve tried it a few times, it really isn’t. Hope you’ll jump on the bandwagon with me next week.

    March 17, 2009
  3. Thanks for explaining all of this, Tracy! Very helpful to a Twittering newbie.

    March 21, 2009
  4. Anthony Pierre said:

    have you guys seen this video

    March 22, 2009
  5. Jerry Bilek said:

    great video, I twitterstand.

    March 22, 2009
  6. Jerry Bilek said:

    ouch, a bike is a useful vehicle for transportation. as far as I can tell most people twitter nonsense:
    “Tomorrow is Monday, but does that mean anything when you are on vacation?”

    @rockie4yahweh Yes, the new packaging on our “Seasonal” coffees is awesome. They did a nice job … both are very tasty.about 6 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to rockie4yahweh

    it’s not even english.

    I save money riding my bike. I’m healthier because I bike. Can twitter do that?

    March 23, 2009
  7. Griff Wigley said:

    Jerry, I spread community-building ideas via Twitter. I’m happier because of it.

    Hospital Administrator Paul Levy spreads his management values and leadership moments via Twitter. His influence is greater because of it:

    You’re dissing the tool because you’re only seeing a certain slice of the population using it.

    Here’s a former Northfielder who’s now a business/marketing consultant blogging about the ‘network effects’ of social media, including Twitter.

    Andrew Eklund, St. Olaf and Big Wu Alum and now Ciceron CEO, has a Star Tribune “your voices” blog. His most recent post:

    How Loud Is The Crowd?

    March 23, 2009
  8. Jerry Bilek said:

    I’m not dissing twitter, I’m mocking it. Paul Levy’s tweets are just advertisements for his blog. Why not just visit his blog or subscribe to his RSS feed(I can’t believe I just said that)? You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. the most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, slightly less well known is never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line. even less well known is never never fall victim to advertising under the ruse of social media.

    I read Eklund’s column. He didn’t point to any real value of twitter, just how easy it is to use and how it reaches a lot of people.

    March 24, 2009
  9. As a communications professional, I can see some real opportunities here. The ability to send short, timely messages to people who are interested in receiving them, without the sharing of a lot of personal information as may be involved in some of the other social media sites, does seem appealing. A nice case in point is Just Food Co-op’s (@justfoodcoop) daily lunch special updates. No ego, no pointless minutiae, no detailed profiles, no long blog posts to scan. Very functional.

    In agreement with Jerry, I do find the “Tweets” that include strings of hashtags and @s and links rather off-putting.

    March 24, 2009
  10. Tracy Davis said:

    I have to confess, I’m having a lot more fun and finding Twitter much more effective with my business account rather than my personal/civic one.

    The people I’m following as @tld (civic) are much less conversational than my @GuildcraftRugs cohort. My business following really puts the “social” in social media, whereas my civic following seems to be like dueling monologues without much interaction.

    I don’t know if that’s because my personal following is more policy- and issue-oriented, or just happens to be stacked with more broadcast-type tweets. I’m still working to figure it out. It’s a rather fascinating sociological study, I must admit.

    Jerry, you might like this latest movement that’s making its way around Twitter – the 3/50 Project.

    March 24, 2009

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