After having a pop at PR academics who teach communication but don't use Twitter I suppose it is only reasonable to offer a helping hand. With apologies to most Mediations visitors who probably know more about it than I do, here are a few thoughts on Twitter for non-Tweeters.
OK, the first hurdle is quite a tough one. "Twitter" and, more so "tweeting" sounds very silly. This is unavoidable. Try to ignore it. The vague embarrassment about using the words never quite goes away but you can live with it.
Next, start following interesting people. Following - listening - is the key to getting value from Twitter. You could begin by following the people on Richard Bailey's PR Educator's list, but another good starting point is to check the profile of someone you find interesting and see who they follow. (Note that anyone can see who you follow, and sometimes the lists can give unexpected insights!).
Remember that you don't need permission to follow someone and potentially anyone can follow you and read what you are saying.
Take a little care in choosing your Twitter name and think through what the account is for. You need to use separate email addresses for the sign up process but you can then have multiple Twitter accounts so it makes sense to have a dedicated academic profile.
Once you get into the swing of tweeting, be a little bit personal. An academic Twitter account might be there primarily to pass on information but don't be afraid of let some of your character show. (It will, anyway - whether you mean to or not!).
Be useful. In an academic context Twitter is often about sharing information, stories and resources. Nobody can read everything they need to read nowadays but if you follow the right people they will do some of the reading and filtering for you. A large proportion of the examples, case studies and videos I use in lectures were flagged up for me by Twitter friends.
Ask qustions. If you need some information, or background, ask your Twitter followers.
Share stuff. I teach a lot of social media and it is a fast moving world. Parts of my lectures, the illustrations and examples, have quite a short shelf life so I lose nothing my sharing slides etc, and gain a great deal when friends do the same.
Use a Twitter client, not the Twitter site. This especially important if you are using a Mac or PC, not such a problem on a smartphone. I use Tweetdeck, which has columns for people I follow, for mentions of @mediations (comments addressed to me, or RTs of my tweets), direct (private) messages, and then many columns for hashtag searches on particular topics. For a many of my sceptical students Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or a similar platform was the thing that finally convinced them Twitter was worthwhile.
Learn the etiquette, and try and see your tweets through other people's eyes. It helps if you can make Tweets self-contained - "Yes, I agree entirely"!!!" isn't very illuminating for someone who has not followed the coversation.
Be concise (though avoid text speak), and if possible keep to around 100 characters maximum, so people can RT (retweet) your comments without chopping the end off.
Use hashtags to link your tweets to an event, debate or programme. I add #skchbg to tweets and retweets I think might be useful for Campus Helsingborg students. Hashtags are also the vehicle for trending memes and can be an artform in themselves. If you see an interesting Tweet with a hashtag, click on the tag and you will see all the other tweets similarly tagged.
When you do RT something you think is interesting, add a comment yourself - people often use < or <- to add their opinion, or give some indication of why they felt it was worth passing on (not sure how to do this on a Swedish keyboard!)
You can link Twitter to Delicious, so you automatically save posts you tweet about.
If you have got this far, I hope you have found some of this helpful. And if, by any remote chance you are one of those brilliant academics who frustrate me and others by not using a very powerful communication tool, do let me know your Twitter address so I can follow you.
And do try to avoid some of the mistakes flagged up here by Hootsuite (showed up in my Twitter feed just as I was writing this...