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Dogs Trust starts twittering

Howard Lake | 31 July 2008 | Blogs

It’s good to see the Dogs Trust starting to use micro-blogging tool Twitter. So far, with just 203 tweets (short messages), the charity has built up a network of 184 friends and 130 followers who receive their messages almost instantly.
The charity has used their Twitter feed in a number of ways to engage with supporters and dog-lovers:
* it has shared its response to the Dangerous Dogs Act:

* shared good news stories about dogs:

* mentioned the latest update to their blog:

* interacted with other Twitterers, thanking them for sharing news with them, and for mentioning them in a presentation:

* updated readers about a litter of pups:

The charity is publishing about four or five tweets per day which would seem frequent enough to keep people engaged. Nor are they doing anything fancy like twittering from a mobile phone: all their latest tweets have been published via the web.
It does particularly well at aggregating information about dogs from other sources, such as a news item in an Australian newspaper. In other words, the charity is not just spouting its own PR and announcements. This bigger picture approach is what makes Dogs Trust’s use of Twitter such a good model. None of the tweets I’ve seen were a direct fundraising appeal.
To quote from Steve Bridger who has recently promoted the charity’s use of Twitter, “engage first, fundraise second”.
I shouldn’t have been surprised to find Dogs Trust twittering. After all, since 16 April 2008 they have been publishing a blog which features feeds from the charity’s YouTube channel and its Flickr.com slideshow, together with a ChipIn.com widget fundraising for $2,000. Of course, the blog features the latest updates from its Twitter feed.
The charity also has presences on social networking sites Facebook, MySpace, and bebo. It has even created its own Facebook application.
Of course, some of you will be reading this very news item via Twitter, if you are following UK Fundraising’s Twitter feed.