Why I Recycle My Tweets and Why You Should Too

Since I began working at the Harvard Business School (HBS) in January 2013, I have sent out 821 tweets to linked content such as articles, photo galleries, etc.

How do I know this number?

It’s simple, really. I have counted and added EVERY one of these tweets to a tracking spreadsheet I created when I first started at HBS (a glimpse of this spreadsheet is below).

tracking sheet FINAL2

In a previous post titled “Rules of (Twitter) Engagement,” I discussed the merits of a tracking sheet to measure clickthroughs, retweets, and other interactions via social media.

In this post, I will share how this tracking sheet has also helped foster alumni engagement through the recycling of tweets.

Share What’s Important

The 821 tweets mentioned above pale in comparison to the total number of tweets I have posted. Since January, I’ve tweeted more than 3,000 times. These tweets have ranged from responses to questions posed by alumni to tweets related to our bi-weekly “Question of the Week”; none of these tweets included links to content. I have included a sample of these “general tweets” below.

general tweets

With the sheer volume of tweets in mind, it would be nearly impossible for me to find specific tweets if I didn’t have some type of tracking mechanism in place. Without this sheet, I would have to search through my entire feed to find what I was looking for.

But why does this even matter? Or, more to the point, of what use can a tweet I sent out in the past be to me in the present? From my experience, tweets to linked content, regardless of when they were sent, can be incredibly useful in fostering alumni engagement.

To illustrate this, I have included a few examples of how I have used “old” tweets to engage my alumni audience.


In the example above, HBS alumnus Scott Harris tweeted about trust in the business world. After reading his tweet, I vaguely recalled that a fellow HBS alumnus blogged about this topic. With the help of my tracking sheet (searching by the keyword “trust”) I was able to locate my original tweet about Charles Green’s post and share it with Scott–this whole process, from finding the initial tweet to tweeting it to Scott, took under five minutes. By following this “tweet recycling” approach, I was able to 1) provide a “service” to Scott (i.e., connecting him with content based on one of his interests) while also 2) promoting Charles’ work.

And, almost as important, I was able to complete this process quickly and with little effort.

Below is another example of this alumni engagement process at work.


In this case, HBS alumna Kathy Korman Frey shared a link to “evil laughs” sometime in March. Shortly after Kathy tweeted the link, I sent a tweet asking her why the laugh of “Dr. Evil,” the antagonist from the Austin Powers films, was not included on the laugh track. Kathy responded to my tweet and I also shared the link with a fellow alumna.

Several months later, I came across an article on HBS alumnus Matt Salzberg and the success his company had in raising $5 million in funding. After I tweeted congratulations to Matt, I asked him what he had planned next for his company. His “world domination” response provided a great opportunity to share the evil laugh link that Kathy had shared. Like with the Scott Harris/Charles Green example, I searched my tracking spreadsheet for the word “laugh,” found the original tweet, and kicked off the engagement process. Again, I was able to engage with my alumni swiftly and then move onto the next engagement opportunity.

Was this post helpful? Is there anything I missed? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Robert Bochnak manages social media for the Harvard Business School’s alumni office. He’s also the former writer and editor of GradMatters: The Blog for Tufts GSAS. 

Follow Robert on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertBoc.


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