Happily I just spent 7 days as the Twitter “rocur” or rotating curator on the @BeingTokyo account. I had a blast. Haven’t heard about #rocur accounts? I hadn’t either until recently. @BeingTokyo is a rotating curation account which means a different Tokyo resident is the guest host, tweeting each week. Living in Tokyo? You can volunteer to give it a try here.
In my time as BeingTokyo I was interested in four community and communication aspects of Twitter;
- Know the audience
- Engagement and growth
- Learn from others
- Online and offline experiences
How did my week go?
KNOW THE AUDIENCE:
I think before you write for and with any online community, the best plan is to start out as a participant. I had followed the @BeingTokyo account for about 6-8 months. I had watched as many rotating curators shared their lives in Tokyo for both those who want to come and visit and also for those who live here. I enjoyed reading the tweets and replies and because of this I wanted to give it a try. My interest in volunteering came directly out of the pleasure I had reading and interacting with the folks in the group over time.
I think it would be a bad idea to volunteer for something like this without at least getting a general understanding of who the community is, and what interests them. Make sure you are a good fit so that the experience is good for you and for the readers.
It is also important to ask the founders-owners of the account what rules and expectations they have for the curators they accept on the channel. @BeingTokyo has a great, easy to understand page making the system clear.
ENGAGEMENT AND GROWTH
Of course I hoped my week on Twitter would bring new followers to both the @BeingTokyo account and my own personal account @littlestgator . But my goal was also to watch and learn what kinds of metrics you can evaluate on Twitter, how posts perform, what things create the most engagement and I wanted to interact with new people and make sure they enjoyed their time following the account.
Overall I think I was pretty successful.
I also wanted share things I really love about Japan and to introduce projects I am working on. I wanted to share the great stuff some of my other Tokyo friends are doing and introduce cool people to each other. I wanted to promote the idea of #rocur accounts. And of course I wanted to inspire people to come and visit Tokyo and Japan.
When my time ended I created this quick little infographic on Canva that captured the stats from my 7 days. The web app is quite easy and enjoyable.
LEARN FROM OTHERS
Since I had being following the account for months, I already knew the week would be interesting. I wanted to learn from the followers of the channel and I certainly did. The key to this kind of learning is to ask questions. Reply to comments. Learn about what other people do and ask them to elaborate. During my week-long curation I discovered new spots in Tokyo I want to visit. I met future travelers and learned about what they thing is compelling about Japan which is key to my professional work as a travel writer.
I also learned about communicating more effectively on the platform as many of the commenters have large #’s of followers and are very engaging. Doing something like this you should not expect to be perfect or “the best”. Better to come at the experience with an attitude of Shoshin, a beginners mind. I tried my best to do that throughout the 7 days. You need to bring your curiosity and an open mind. People like to be asked questions and are normally quite willing to share which is a great thing about online communities.
I also recommend running some Twitter polls. Asking for votes on everyday things can be a fun way to engage online and most people have fun with polls. I asked a few things during my week. For example: 1. What people eat for breakfast. 2. Best casual Japanese food– Ramen won hands down.
ONLINE AND OFFLINE EXPERIENCES FROM #ROCUR
As I mentioned on my infographic, I was thrilled to have one of the people I was tweeting with show up at a creative writing meeting I host. These kinds of online-offline created connections are so wonderful. I don’t agree with internet critics that say online engagement is killing personal relationships. If you are motivated to follow through and if you behave as a caring and curious human, the online world is full of opportunity to meet new people and have new experiences in the “real” world. Of course as a woman online I need to remember to exercise caution but I met some terrific people who recommended new cafes to have coffee, new restaurants, new activities, and interesting places to travel.
On my side I hope I highlighted some new spots and of course some great real world projects and products — especially stationary since everyone at @BeingTokyo is now well aware of my reputation as a #stationaryaddict. In fact my most popular post as about a recent collection of amazing Japanese stationary products I have acquired.
BONUS TIP: WEIRD IS GOOD
People online like strange and crazy things– and Japan never fails to provide in that category. If you are active on Twitter and want to gain some viral traction, you can always get a spark following that human curiosity. My second top tweet was about Halloween pumpkin-chocolate french fries at McDonalds in Japan. Yup. And no, I have not yet tasted them but I probably will… (I am brave like that lol)
Overall I had an amazing time on my first run as #rocur and I am so glad I gave it a try. I am hoping to do it again and maybe even start a rotating account featuring various stationary lovers (you’d be surprised by how many of us there are). I am planning to stay active in the @BeingTokyo community. In fact the founders set up a twitter list for all the previous curators which is a ton of a fun already! Anyway, it was a great experience and I am still digesting the lessons learned. Come on over and check out my twitter feed! Thanks in advance.