A 'tweeter' from my front yard

A 'tweeter' from my front yard

I arrived at Tweet Camp Chicago, along with a couple hundred journalists, philanthropists, PR reps, entrepreneurs and one teenager. Some pretty big bylines were among the group. We had heard that Twitter was good for us, but we didn’t know why or how.

“There’s no such thing as a stupid question,” said photojournalist Karen Kring, one of the camp counselors. I tested her by asking if Twitter is something done on a computer or via telephone, and she was kind. The answer: Both.

Bit by bit, byte by byte, the media mavens took us through the mechanics and vocabulary of a Twitterer. Or, Tweeter. Or, just plain Twit. They showed us how to find people to follow and what we want to say. Or tweet. We got pizza and a commemorative t-shirt.

“Twitter is pointless and boring until you join the conservation,” said Scott Smith, who then was an editor and director of content for Playboy.com.

For sure. And then we saw specific examples:

Kim Mance, co-founder of the travel website http://www.gogalivanting.com said she uses Twitter to get quotes for her stories. She puts out a question and then follows up the responses via email. “It’s easy to get a huge stream and a range of perspectives,” she said. “It’s also easy to verify because you can see what’s in their profiles and who they are and where they have been.”

Alicia Dantico, then the social media director for Garrett Popcorn, spent long hours interacting with customers. Sometimes she surprised them by showing up in their offices with tins of freshly popped treats.

The teenager said he knew someone who was practicing to be on a game show and asked people to lob trivia questions his way.

As the day wore on, tapping noises from keyboards grew louder and louder as the campers became confident and tweeted their first tweets. I did, too. Follow me @pmckuen.