By Anne Gentle
Every new car has a manual in its glove compartment. Software applications have a help link when you get stuck or want to learn more about a feature. User assistance is part of our web and so is Twitter. How can Twitter can be useful for technical writers, trainers, or web publishers who provide customer support or technical education?
Monitor and Listen First
Perform searches to find out which of your audience members and readers are on Twitter. Follow them and “listen” for places where technical documentation solves something they’re working on. I wouldn’t suggest that you interrupt conversations as they happen just yet, though. Don’t be the automatic tweeter who says “You were just talking about my company’s software? Check out my company’s help site!” Try to monitor just to get a sense of your readers and who might potentially follow you. After you set up notifications for keywords on search.twitter.com, read through what is being said about either your company, your products, or the subject matter related to your business. Listen, understand the overall sentiment, and then form an idea of who your audience could be. You can’t formulate what you want to say on Twitter until you can hear others first, and understand the flow of information and conversation there.