Twitter "followers" number. One answer: become a college instructor, and assign your students to join Twitter and follow you!
By the end of this week, Red River College's first-year Creative Communications students will all be on Twitter. Interestingly, for the first time this year (in my classes at least), more first-year students were already using Twitter on entering the college than not.
But while most students are already on Twitter, many haven't been using it as a professional tool. Twitter isn't about what you did last night or what you're having for lunch, if you're using it to help establish and nurture your professional career in communications: it's about sharing useful information with communities of interest.
We're covering the topic of tweeting appropriately in class; but generally, my advice is "if you wouldn't want to have to explain it during a job interview, don't say it on Twitter." The fact is, if you say anything on Twitter you wouldn't want to have to explain in a job interview, chances are very high you won't get the job interview in the first place.
Employers will look for you on Twitter, and will judge your professionalism based on what they see.
Below, I've provided a roundup of useful online resources that give Twitter newbies some advice on how best to use it to reach their professional objectives.
Why are you on Twitter? A 'Twitter 101' lesson - First in a series of three really helpful Twitter lessons for beginners by Mike Johansson (@mikefixs) on Social Media Today.
Twitter 101 Day 2: How will you use Twitter? - Johansson's part 2
Twitter 101 Day 3: Who will you be on Twitter? - Johansson's part 3
Twitter 101: What to Tweet? Twitter and Your Personal Brand - good advice from Neal Schaffer (@NealSchaffer) on what to tweet to help position yourself professionally. Not sure I agree with "Tweet, and they will come" as an absolute, but that's OK.
PR Conversations - The angle of this article by Heather Yaxley (@greenbanana) is how to use Twitter for PR events, but the advice is valuable for many other organizational uses of Twitter, too.
Finally, if you're looking for background and specific how-tos about Twitter, check out Mashable's Twitter Guide Book - a good starting-point for the basics from @Mashable.