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A Guide to using Twitter


‘Why should I be on Twitter? I don’t care what people are having for supper and they won’t be interested in what I’m doing’.

This is a common response from people who aren’t currently using the Twitter social media platform when asked about it. But what’s Twitter really about for people who work in O.R.? 

Mainly, it’s a really good way to stay up to date on current events and hear about what other people are doing professionally – for example, papers, blogs, comments and opinion-pieces. Twitter can be a good way to have an interaction with your favourite commentators, it’s a good way of networking, staying abreast of the latest trends in O.R./Analytics (and all the other things you’re interested in) and following hashtags during events to see – or contribute - live comments.
It’s unlikely that ‘No one cares what you’re doing’ but, in any case, Twitter is not just about what you are doing and what others are doing. It’s about the world around you and it’s about the community you create within Twitter. It’s about the companies, universities, people, events and interests that matter to you.
In business, the conversation is no longer about what you are doing, who you are doing it with, and why it matters to you. Organisations and opinion-formers aren’t just pushing out one-way messages through print, radio and TV ads. They are now using social media to interact with people in real time.
Organisations are using social media to find out more about what people want and find interesting and are constantly searching Twitter to ensure they can respond quickly.

How to get involved
The OR Society currently has 1,145 people/ organisations following its Twitter feed. Here’s how to join the growing ranks:

Step 1
If you are completely new to Twitter, you’ll need to go to and Sign Up and create an account. Tip: Keep your username short – Tweets are a maximum of 140 characters so if your name is too long, people won’t mention you in re-Tweets.

You’ll need some people to follow to get started – we suggest theorsociety, informs, Louise Orpin, FrancesSneddon, DrMilesWeaver. Log into your email to confirm your new Twitter account.

Step 2
Set up a brief profile – make it personal.
You need to tell the world a little bit about yourself and show them your photograph. Don’t be shy and skip this – people like to see personality on Twitter. In the BIO box add a short description about yourself.
Anyone who looks at you on Twitter will see this – it’s your ‘sales pitch’ and a big part of what makes others decide whether to follow you or not. You might want to reference the OR Society!
At, from the top bar click on the cog button and select ‘EDIT PROFILE’, click ‘CHANGE PHOTO’ to add an avatar that will be displayed next to all your Tweets.

Step 3
Search for theorsociety to see if any of our followers are people you’d like to follow – if so click on their names and, when their profile is on screen, click on ‘Follow’.

Or go to @theorsociety

Step 4

Choose people you want to follow (the ‘who to follow’ and ‘find friends’ functions will help). Some of those you choose to follow will follow you back and you’ll have a Twitter group that will grow. You can unfollow/ block/refuse to accept as followers people whose Tweets you do not wish to read or have follow you.

What shall I write? Anything as long as it’s not more than 140 characters! Join in the discussions; share details of the interesting things you’re doing; link the group to articles or blogs you think they’ll find interesting (shorten lengthy urls by using shortening services such as tinyurl – you have 140 characters to get your message across! Tell the world what event you’re attending today and your opinion of the event.



If you see a problem suggest how O.R. could have helped solve it – share your O.R. expertise, upload a picture.

Tip! Add a #hashtag to your tweet so it will be found by people not following you. For example, adding #analytics will get your tweet found for people searching Twitter for comments on Analytics.

Step 5
If you see a Tweet you think those who follow you will find useful, ‘re-tweet’ it to your followers. You can add text before quoting their tweet (if there’s room!)

Tips and tricks

  • If someone follows you, follow them back (unless they’re a spammer)
  • Always give credit to the original author for anything you re-tweet
  • Tweet in the early evening for the biggest audience
  • There are loads of ‘Apps’ that will let you tweet from hand-held devices
  • Don’t include more than two #hashtags per tweet

Why bother?
It’s true that, depending on who you choose to follow, Twitter feeds can be populated with inane messages. However, at the other end of the spectrum, it is possible to keep yourself updated about current events and your professional life by following, for example, BBC news feeds and, of course, @theorsociety. And, since tweets are restricted to 140 characters, those who post messages have to cut to the chase!

There is another benefit to The OR Society and the profession: every time you tweet, or re-tweet about O.R. or link to an O.R. related website, Google takes note – especially if you link to respected websites. So tweets add to the likelihood of elevating O.R. and the Society in search rankings.

Enjoy life in the Twittersphere!