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Twitter Canada exec visits U of T's Rotman School of Management

Rory Capern leads Twitter Canada's operations, focusing on media partnerships, marketing, communications, research and sales. He has a background in sales and business development in the tech sector with Google and Microsoft (photo by Geoffrey Vendeville)

Twitter Canada's managing director Rory Capern spoke about the future of the company and tech industry in Canada

In bursts of 140 characters or fewer, many University of Toronto students and faculty communicate their ideas to the wider world. 

For some, Twitter itself is a topic of study.

Mara Lederman, an associate professor at U of T’s Rotman School of Management, has recently analyzed tweets about major U.S. airlines and their daily on-time performance as she studies the relationship between companies and consumers. Alex Hanna (@alexhanna), an assistant professor in U of T Mississauga's Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology and the Faculty of Information, has researched how Twitter responds to U.S. presidential debates.

On Thursday, Twitter Canada’s managing director, Rory Capern, stopped by U of T to discuss innovation in Canada and how one of the world’s most widely used social media platforms is changing. 

Canada offers an “amazing market in technology,” where some of the world’s brightest engineers can be found, Capern said.

For Twitter Canada, the country is also a laboratory where the company can test ideas without too many risks, he said.

Capern told the audience that Twitter has seen video consumption on the platform increase, especially in Canada, and so it is planning improvements to make it easier to watch and share videos. 

After the talk, Capern provided three tips for students and academics looking to grow their Twitter following.

Capern's three tips:

  1. Be deliberate about content: Capern said it helps to narrow the focus of your tweets to a few subjects that are important to you. “I curate my feed in a way that my audience is going to find interesting,” he said. Usually, he tweets about Twitter Canada, technology in Canada and his next greatest passion, golf.
  2. Frequency of tweeting actually makes a difference: Capern tweets regularly. “What I do and what the best practice is, is to tweet on a calendarized basis,” he said. “Between 8 and 10 in the morning is a very good time.” 
  3. Use the full canvas: Through force of habit, many Twitter users think of it as a medium for text rather than videos or pictures. But Twitter is becoming increasingly visual. “Those tweets that have photos, articles and videos attached get more people’s attention,” Capern said.