Twitterers, Speak Up!

About the author: Jeffrey Levy joined EPA in 1993 to help protect the ozone layer. He is now the National Web Content Manager.

Ever notice that link on the right of our blog pages that says “Follow us on Twitter?” Twitter.com lets people get short, real-time updates from other people who are also on Twitter (it’s called “microblogging,” and there are other sites besides Twitter). Most of it is friends chatting or colleagues sharing tips. And that seems to be the best possible use for microblogging.

But another way to use it is to post your headlines. It’s like RSS plus: no feed reader needed and you get everyone’s feeds in one window.

Our friends at usa.gov put post titles from their blog, GovGab. on Twitter a few months ago using their RSS feed. It took them only a few minutes to set up, and then it ran by itself. That seemed like an easy way to check out this system, and it’s free, so Greenversations has been on Twitter ever since. And boy, were we surprised at what happened.

With no advertising, 25 people started following us, making us wonder what would happen if we made it easier. So we added the link on the right. On Wed., the 300th Twitterer started following us: @thegreenscene. And a few more pile on each day. With that success, we decided to try our news release headlines on Twitter, too.

This is a great example of using a Web 2.0 tool to put information where the people are, instead of making them come to us (speaking of which, have you seen our Question of the Week widget?). As of today, most of our blog’s traffic is people reading on this site. But between Twitter and our RSS feed, I think that will change.

Changing gears a bit, I’d like your help if you’re a Twitterer. You all have people following you, and some of you have hundreds or even thousands. Let’s try an experiment, to see whether people who already follow us influence people following them. If you’d like to help:

  1. Please tweet us (post on Twitter). It could be as simple as “Check out EPA’s blog on Twitter: @greenversations” or “EPA’s tweeting its news releases: @usepanews”
  2. Leave a comment here introducing yourself.

And whether you’re on Twitter or not, tell us how you use Web 2.0 to stay in touch with what’s going on with EPA, this blog, and environmental protection in general.

I’ll be checking our numbers and will report back with what happens.