We will be talking about experiences with native milkweeds during our “TXplants Twitter Tuesday” event to be held online 7 to 8 pm, Tuesday, November 1.
The Houston Chapter (Twitter handle @NPSOT_HOU) will be moderating this exciting first-of-its-kind online event. All members and people from other nature and environmental organizations are encouraged to join us online using the Twitter social networking platform during this event.
Right now, many of you are probably asking… What’s this Twitter-thing all about, anyway?
Well, the best way to describe it is to say Twitter events like “TXplants Twitter Tuesday” are much like having face-to-face discussions with your friends while sharing your experiences, opinions and pictures of native plants. However with an online event everyone does not have to be in the same place; all they need is a computer, tablet or smartphone and a Twitter account.
For a little background, Twitter is a free social networking service that allows registered users (those with a free account – See: www.twitter.com) to broadcast short posts called tweets on the Twitter online platform. It is much the same as you may have experienced on Facebook, but Twitter messages are limited to just 140 characters in length. So they have to be short and to the point, but they can contain images to share. Twitter users can follow and respond to posted messages by following a marker called a hashtag in the message. In the case of this particular event, the hashtag is #txplants.
— Native Plants HOU (@NPSOT_HOU) July 31, 2016
An example tweet taken from a recent Houston Chapter post. The three important components of this tweet are:
- #txplants – a hashtag that people can follow and use to track the ongoing discussion and respond. This needs to be included in the message.
- @WildflowerCtr – This is the Twitter handle (or name) used by the Wildflower Center in Austin; just like @NPSOT is the state organization’s Twitter handle and @NPSOT_HOU is that for the Houston Chapter.
- pic.twitter.com/291KEBAg2z is an abbreviated link to a photo of a Grass Skipper that can be seen by followers that is the topic of the tweet.
For “TXplants Twitter Tuesday” event participants can share comments and photos real-time and followers can respond and/or post their own messages. The discussion continues with posts and replies, and so on. The hashtag #txplants keeps everybody on Twitter information stream of the discussion.
The topic of our Twitter event is “Experiences with Native Milkweeds”. In November, the fall migration of the Monarch Butterflies should be near completion and it will be time to share with others what you saw, photographed and learned. According to the National Wildlife Federation, “the monarch butterfly population in North America has plummeted by over 90% in just the last 20 years. One of the biggest factors in monarch decline is the increasing scarcity of its only caterpillar host plant: milkweed, and especially native milkweeds.”
The goal of this event on November 1 will be to build an awareness of this situation while sharing experiences with native milkweed via Twitter. In the process, event participants will make new friends and contacts, and explore new ways to find and share information via Twitter.
According to Houston member James Holmes, “I’ve been amazed how much I’ve learned from others since starting to tweet from the Houston Chapter account. My passion is taking photographs of native plants and associated wildlife. There is a world of activity out that I’ve found in the Twitterverse.” While many people in the 50 years and older category are active on Facebook and access state and local Facebook pages, there are many younger people that find the shorter messages and faster pace interactions of the Twitter forum more to their liking. Hopefully through events like “TXplants Twitter Tuesdays” we can tap into their energy to further promote Texas native plants. Also, keep in mind that #TXplants can be used for other native plant discussions before and after this Twitter event.
We are planning future TXplants Twitter events. So, please make your feelings known what topics you would like to pursue.
Already have a Twitter account? Great you are ready to go. If you’re new to Twitter, here’s how you can participate: Just sign up for a free Twitter account at www.twitter.com – use your real name or not! My twitter handle is VintageTexas. To make it easy to follow and participate in this event, go to the Tweetchat room set up for TXplants: http://tweetchat.com/room/TXplants. No registration is required; you can login simply by using your Twitter account. You can also use other Twitter apps like TweetDeck.
We are looking forward to participation from other chapters from around the state and from our many friends that share our interest in native plants. If you have any questions leading up to the event, please contact me at: 713-714-6931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.