How I Use Twitter in Alpharetta

I started writing my Roots in Alpharetta blog about a year and a half ago. I knew right away that I wanted to integrate social networking somehow. I’d been on Facebook for a while but decided on Twitter for the blog. I learned that Twitter was more of a micro blogging platform. I thought, “Hey, I’m a blogger so I should be micro blogging as well.” What I didn’t know at the time was how I would use Twitter as a tool to stay connected to the Alpharetta community.

But before I get into it, let me explain how you can make a Twitter account. Go to www.twitter.com and follow the instructions to join. It’s a very simple signup process. Once finished you’ll have a unique name. For the blog I have @rootsalpharetta. Feel free to follow me! From here you can micro blog about anything, so long you limit your thoughts to 140 characters.

Once you make an account you’re free to continue to use the twitter.com website. But unlike Facebook, Twitter has extended their service to allow other tools to leverage the technology. You’ll get a much better experience if you download and install one of these third-party applications. I like TweetDeck which I’ve installed on my laptop and Android phone.

Twitter in Alpharetta

So how do I keep up with Alpharetta on Twitter? The quickest way is to follow local news media. For example, I’d suggest the Revue & News at @NorthFulton. This is the easy part. The real power of Twitter is using it as a listening tool. Create a search in Twitter and type “Alpharetta”. You can do this in TweetDeck, the twitter.com website or just about any tool. The result is a real-time feed of anyone talking about Alpharetta. What will you see? At first it’s a lot of garbage. I’m watching the feed while writing this article. I see Alpharetta tweets about a concert at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, a relo’s moving truck, a job opening for a tax specialist and someone going to Starbucks, just to name a few. It’s a lot of nonsense really.

To cut through the chatter I make judicious use of filters by removing some keywords. I cut words like “job” and “career” to remove automated job postings. Adding “4sq” will remove FourSquare checkins. I don’t need to know that you’re at Starbucks on Windward Parkway.

After most of the noise is gone I’m left with some interesting happenings. I might learn of a new business in town or maybe find reviews of restaurants I’d like to try. This is also a great tool for learning of breaking news. Is there a traffic catastrophe on an Alpharetta road? You can bet someone’s tweeting about it. Or how about severe weather rolling through? People are tweeting about it in specific detail. Nothing beats Twitter for hyper-local breaking news.

I also expand my searches to include Johns Creek and Forsyth County. Many Forsyth tweeps will use the #ForsythCo hashtag for easy searching. Milton is tough to search on because it is a common name. Fortunately Alpharetta is a very unique name on which to search. Imagine if we lived in a place called Springfield?

By using Twitter this way I’ve become connected with people who live, work and are passionate about Alpharetta. In return I try to share new information I’ve learned, often before I can write about it on Roots in Alpharetta. If you come at it with this helpful mindset you’ll often receive more than you give. That’s certainly been my experience as I’m truly grateful for the connections I’ve made.

Let me know how you use Twitter. Who are your favorite local tweeps to follow? And most importantly, let’s introduce ourselves!

3 Responses to “How I Use Twitter in Alpharetta”

  1. Dustin June 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    You know I love Twitter! Glad we’re connected.

    I have an Alpharetta search, but hadn’t thought about filtering out some of the noise (4sq, job, etc). Good suggestion!

  2. Dennis Murray June 5, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    I was one of the originators of the #ForsythCo hashtag. I use it for posting traffic, events, anything of use to other residents.

    Twitter has been a fantastic source of ultralocal info in times of weather emergency – last winter’s storms and the severe thunderstorms of this spring. During the winter storms posting road info helped other residents know which roads were passable and which not so much. During the storms it was a good barometer of what was going on, severe weather wise.

  3. Lee June 8, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    Dennis, I forgot about the winter storms. Twitter was indeed very helpful then. I understand a similar thing happened a few years back with the gas shortage. I wasn’t using twitter at the time. Wish I was.

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