Zacharie on the Phone

Are you on Twitter yet? What about your kids? The microblogging service has gone through growing pains over the years, but even if you’re not into using it for news and oversharing, there is a wonderful way to use Twitter to live blog your young child’s life. Seriously.

Twitter As a Family Archive

One of the first things I did with Twitter was get my kids their own account. Even when they were infants, I had them on Twitter for a couple of reasons. First, the land grab. There are only so many “names” out there and once someone has yours, it’s gone. I feel very fortunate my first born is @zacharie instead of a silly nickname with hyphens and numbers. Secondly, Twitter is an instant way to diarize their lives as things happen.

Zacharie Tweet

When you have a mouthy toddler and preschooler, some pretty amazing are said. By having a Twitter account, you can quickly thumb that sentence into their stream and save it for posterity. “Mama, tractor’s sleeping,” “I’ll get you cupcake,” and “I need to do my e-mail” were all magical things for a toddler to say and we remember them all through Twitter.

(I should note you don’t have to make these streams public, you can make the accounts private and save the content only for friends and family.)

Twitter For Networking

Twitter is also great to create connections and crowd source answers to problems. Once you have an account, ask your friends and colleagues if they’re online. Search through their “following” and “follower” list to look for interesting people and add them to your stream.

You can also search Twitter for people in your area. Go to the advanced search page, set the geography to your neighborhood and look for words like “dad, parent, kids, soccer, sports, school, babysitter” and other parent-centric words. You’ll quickly be able find active parents in your community to help you build out a network of interesting people to follow.

Twitter’s been around for four years now, so there are many niches and groups. You can find politicos, athletes, artists, musicians, celebrities, bloggers and more. Twibes is a good place to find people that aren’t necessarily local sorted by different keywords to suit your interest.

Twitter Tools

I work at a desk for most of the day and have TweetDeck open in the background to monitor the conversations on Twitter. You can open columns for keywords and sort the people you follow by category.

Twitter is a little intimidating at first, but just think of it as a huge dinner party with pockets of conversation all over the room. Soon enough you’ll find the pocket that’s comfortable for you and find valuable connections. You just have to give it some time and effort.

This post was originally published on Man of the house in 2011.

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