Social Media

Save the Date: Twitter Chat on Preservation Lingo on October 3

Posted on: September 27th, 2012 by Sarah Heffern

 

A Park Ranger addresses attendees of the National Rosenwald Schools Conference in June 2012.

Pretty much every person I know who works in preservation is extraordinarily passionate about their work, and will talk endlessly about the historic places that they've worked to save. But I have a feeling that when my colleagues and I talk to folks who love buildings in a more non-professional capacity, we sound a lot like the teacher from the Peanuts cartoons: "Waah wah waaaah. Waaaah wah wah waaah?"

For a field that depends so heavily on partnerships with community members and local preservationists, we often rely on lingo that is fairly incomprehensible -- and can even be off-putting -- to a layperson. Why is this? And how can we do better?

With those questions in mind, we'll be tackling -- and trying to conquer -- preservation jargon in our next #builtheritage Twitter chat, on Wednesday, October 3 at 4:00 p.m. EDT. If you're a regular participant in our chats, this would be a great time to ask a friend -- especially someone who loves historic places, but isn't a “preservation professional” -- to join you. The more perspectives we can get, the better!

How to participate:

1. Sign in to TwitterTweetDeck or TweetChat. We (the chat moderators) usually use TweetChat since it adds the hash tag automatically and allows for easy replies and re-tweets.

2. Follow and tweet with the hashtag #builtheritage.

3. Watch for the questions in the Q1 format. Provide answers using the A1 format, and interact with other participants using replies and retweets.

Oh, and what we mean by the Q1/A1 format is this: Questions (we usually have four per chat) are posed by the moderators as Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 about every 15 minutes. We ask that chatters reply with A1, A2, etc. to help everyone stay clear on what they’re responding to. A lot of side conversations and such still break out, but it helps keep things at least a little organized.

I hope you can join us!

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class.

[10 on Tuesday] 10 Twitter Terms Explained, Preservation-Style

Posted on: September 18th, 2012 by Sarah Heffern

 

“I don’t read your tweets. Everything on Twitter looks like it’s written in some sort of code that only the cool kids understand.”

This statement, made not too long ago by my younger sister, is one I’ve heard echoed by many others, including many colleagues in preservation. Since I’ve spent a couple of weeks making lists of why social media is important to our work and how to find the time to do it, I thought a quick primer on Twitter might be a great next step.

Bonus: This is actually two lists of 10 wrapped into one. Each explanation comes with an example from a local preservationist or preservation organization that’s worth following on your own account!

1. Feed: The main item you see when you’re logged into your Twitter account. The feed is made up of the latest tweets from the people you follow. The feed for @PresNation looks like this:

@PresNation Twitter Feed


2. Following:
The users whose tweets you have chosen to see. A good way to find new people or organizations is to look at who other preservationists are following; for example, check out who @FHLouisiana (Foundation for Historical Louisiana) tracks on Twitter. You don’t have to follow everyone, of course, but it’s a helpful way to discover like-minded folks.

3. Followers: The people who follow you. There is no requirement to follow everyone who follows you, but if someone looks interesting, by all means, follow them back! Here’s an example of a list of followers from our @PresNationLive account.

4. Tweet: The message you send out. The maximum length is 140 characters, including links to websites or images. Twitter automatically shortens any link to 20 characters (no matter how long it is!) and you can upload photos from either the Twitter website or its mobile applications.


5. RT:
Short for retweet, which is the term used for sharing a tweet created by someone else. Retweets can be done two ways:

  • Using the retweet button, which sends the entire tweet in its original format to your followers.
  • Using the quote tweet option (alas, only available on mobile applications), which allows you to add a comment before or after before sending.

You may also see MT, rather than RT. This stands for modified tweet, and is used when editing someone else’s tweet: 

 6. @mention: Using someone’s Twitter handle in a tweet so it links back to their account.


7. @reply:
Replying to a person’s question/comment; others' @replies show up in your feed only if you follow both the sender and the receiver. If you'd like your @replies to be visible to all, add a period before the @.


8. #hashtag:
Using a “#” before a word makes it a clickable search term in Twitter. We often use #preservation, #savingplaces, #PresConf, and #builtheritage. If you’re planning a campaign that uses Twitter, such as #SavePrentice, it’s a great idea to come up with a hashtag in advance and do a quick search on Twitter to see if anyone else is using it.

If a hashtag or other term becomes wildly popular, it is said to be trending -- and appears in a box on your main page, to the left of the feed.

Additional note about hashtags: they are also often used to denote a side comment or sarcasm. So, if you see a hashtag like #nerdswithcameras, it’s not really meant to be a search term.

9. Direct message: Twitter’s non-public communication channel. It can be found via the envelope icon on most mobile apps or in the same drop-down menu as settings on the Twitter website. You can only send direct messages to people that follow you.

@PresNation direct message

10. Twitter chat/Tweet chat. A designated time for folks to discuss a topic, using a hashtag to gather all the conversation together. We host one monthly on the #builtheritage hashtag, and @JennWelborn, a public historian, has pulled together a list of other history-related chats on her blog.

Did I miss anything you find incomprehensible about Twitter? Let me know in the comments, and I'll follow up.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class.

Twitter Chat Transcript: No More "White Elephants"

Posted on: September 12th, 2012 by Sarah Heffern 2 Comments

 

I learned something interesting on last week's #builtheritage Twitter chat: So-called "white elephant" buildings are not just an issue for preservationists in the United States. Historic building advocates from Canada, the UK, and Turkey all actively participated in the conversation. Happily, everyone seemed to have as many great examples of saves as they did of buildings in need of saving.

While much of the chat centered around the planned questions, there was also an active side conversation on the language we use when we talk about hard-luck buildings, and how we might be able to do better just by changing the way we speak about them.

Case in point: Rather than call the buildings "white elephants" -- which places the blame for a building's state on the structure itself -- why not instead call them something like "buildings in need of creative solutions," which empowers a community to think differently about them.

Here are some highlights from the chat:


There were too many success stories share to include them all in the slide show above, so here are links to more of them:

And, of course, there's a full transcript available if you want the complete scoop.

Save the date: Our next chat will be Wednesday, October 3 at 4:00 EDT. We’ll be chatting about window rehab with the Preservation Green Lab.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class.

Save the Date: Twitter Chat on White Elephants is September 5

Posted on: August 30th, 2012 by Sarah Heffern

 


The Old Naval Hospital on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, c. August 2008.

For the first 10-plus years I lived in Washington, DC's Capitol Hill neighborhood -- and for many years before I arrived -- one of our most notable landmarks, the Old Naval Hospital, sat vacant, a seemingly unfixable white elephant on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

Various proposals bounced around over the years, including a brief period of time when it was in contention to be rehabbed as a mayoral mansion, but nothing really came together until a few years ago when a recommendation from the neighborhood-created Old Naval Hospital Foundation for a community center was approved. And at long last, the gorgeously (and green-ly) rehabbed Hill Center opened in late 2011.


The Hill Center, c. November 2011.

This is the kind of white elephant success story every person who has ever developed a crush on derelict building dreams of. But how to make it happen? Here in DC it took a coalition of concerned citizens organizing, but every story is different.

We'll take up this topic -- saving white elephants -- in our September #builtheritage chat on Twitter. We'll talk about how to rally community and financial support (for example: tax credits), creative ways to keep white elephants vibrant while awaiting a permanent use, and more. Please join us September 5 at 4:00 EDT. 

How to participate:

1. Sign in to Twitter, TweetDeck or TweetChat. We (the chat moderators) usually use TweetChat since it adds the hash tag automatically and allows for easy replies and re-tweets.

2. Follow and tweet with the hashtag #builtheritage.

3. Watch for the questions in the Q1 format. Provide answers using the A1 format, and interact with other participants using replies and retweets.

Oh, and what we mean by the Q1/A1 format is this: Questions (we usually have four per chat) are posed by the moderators as Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 about every 15 minutes. We ask that chatters reply with A1, A2, etc. to help everyone stay clear on what they’re responding to. A lot of side conversations and such still break out, but it helps keep things at least a little organized.

Hope you can join us -- it should be a terrific conversation!

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class.

 

If there’s one thing I hear regularly from historic sites, small preservation groups, and other people working to save places, it’s “I’d love to do social media, but I don’t have time!”

And I get that, really I do, because even though now my entire job is working with social media, that was not always the case. I’ve spent many years with Facebook, Twitter, and other channels (remember MySpace?) as sideline work, sandwiched in between other responsibilities.

So, when I say you can build and maintain an engaging social media presence with just a small window of time each day, I promise it's tried and true. Here's how:

1. Plan, plan, plan. Yes, crafting a plan can’t be accomplished in a half hour a day, but a little extra time before you get started will make daily maintenance much faster. Check out this handy 101-guide to setting up a conversation calendar -- or, here’s an infographic, if you’re more visually inclined.

2. Keep a list of resources. You may not always be able to answer questions -- or be the right person to respond -- so as part of your plan, make a quick cheat sheet of resources. I’d recommend keeping basic social info (website URL, Facebook page, Twitter handle) on hand for local and statewide preservation organizations, local government agencies involved with preservation, and your State Historic Preservation Office. If you find you’re sharing the same info -- like a tip sheet, for example -- over and over, save it somewhere you can get to it easily, like Evernote.

3. Don’t try to be everywhere. As I mentioned in my post about getting started with social a few weeks back, it’s better to have one or two strong social channels than a bunch of semi-dormant ones. This kind of focus is especially important if your time is limited.

4. Make it a habit. Because social media works best when it’s a two-way conversation, be sure to participate regularly. Even if you can only engage briefly, you’ll build a following faster if people know you’re reliable.

5. Set a timer. It can be all too easy to fall down the rabbit hole with social media, so set yourself a time limit and stick to it. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in even 15 concentrated minutes.

6. Talk about what you’re already doing. A lot of the resistance I hear to participating in social is around having to “create” one more thing. Don’t -- there’s no need. Social media works best when it’s immediate and real, so talk about what’s already going on. Tweet a photo of a cool building you see on the way to work and ask your followers to do the same. Share a news clipping about an ongoing project and ask your fans to share their opinions.

7. Let Google help you. Not sure how you’ll know when there’s a news clip about your work or an interesting preservation story on a local blog? Google has terrific -- and free! -- tools to make this easy. You can subscribe to blogs using Google Reader and stalk your own projects by creating Google Alerts, which you can have emailed to you or added to your Google Reader account. And Google even makes it easy to share directly to Facebook or Twitter from Reader.

8. Let your fans/friends/partners help you. Follow/friend people who are involved in projects in your community and look at what information they’re putting out. Re-tweet or share interesting things that you see, follow their hashtags for more leads, etc. And let your community talk among themselves -- keep your Facebook wall open to posts and comments from fans. We’ve found that questions often get answered a lot faster from “the peanut gallery” on our Facebook page than we can get to them.

9. Use free scheduling tools. Facebook lets you time your posts in advance, so users with limited time can pre-load their big stories, and then use the rest of their time to answer questions/engage with users. Likewise, a tool like HootSuite can be helpful for pre-scheduling tweets so your account isn’t a once-daily “data dump” as you share articles, photos, etc. in your designated time frame.

10. Make it simple for people to connect with you. It’s easy to lose enthusiasm for social media if there’s no conversation going on, and it’s easy to blame “no time to do it right” when that happens. Making it simple for people to connect with you -- by linking to your social channel(s) on your website, business cards, and email signature -- can expedite the community building that makes social fun (and useful)!

What tips about social media time management have you picked up in your travels? Share them with us in the comments!

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class.