What is twitter about?
It seems the world is a-twitter about the social networking platform Twitter. With celebrities like Oprah (Oprah), Puff Daddy (I am Diddy), and Ashton Kutcher (A plus K) along with an increasing number of CNN personalities like Rick Sanchez (Rick Sanchez CNN) and mainstream media journalists getting on twitter, the general public and marketers are increasingly wondering what twitter is and how its changing the way we do communication. Think of it like text messaging or an online chatting forum on sterorids. Its one gigantic water cooler for one to many communication. Although, I think its best use is actually the one to one messaging that builds audiences, followers, trust, and relationships.
Perhaps you’re wondering how to use twitter? What is all this buzz about twitter about? Web pro news has a great article that provides great answers to the inevitable question, what is twitter for? how can I use twitter? Personally, I think it can be for marketing, but NOT in a direct way generally. Its generally for marketing in a networking kind of way. You build a network of people that trust that you are the (local or niche) expert in a given field (or at least you are potentially a thought leader). Here are some of the responses Web Pro News received to their question:
Its important to note that there are privacy settings on twitter and you alone have the ability to let someone follow you or not by setting those settings to open or closed.
What if I don’t know who to follow? You have a couple options:
1) You can follow Mr. Twitter who will suggest people for you to follow
2) You might want to follow people who are interesting who live near you (you might google your local town + twitter)
3) You can follow hashtags on Twitter. Hash tags are like subject headings like #californiafires or #nascar or #nbabasketball or #nashville.
4) You MAY want to autofollow people, because actually following people can be a pain if you get a lot of random followers.
Here are a couple common sense rules for twitter:
1) search for stuff you are passionate about with the search function or specific hashtags
3) say something interesting. common sense for communication holds true
4) engage directly in dialog via the @ or the direct message function (when people follow you)
5) twitter mobs or conversations will form in an ebb and flow around news events (both online and offline)
6) sometimes people don’t respond to you. don’t take it personally.
7) sometimes it takes 15 seconds for people to respond to you….sometimes 15 hours or 15 days….its just the nature of the medium, especially with noobs.
8} Add a personal picture
9) Add a personalized background when you get a chance. its your chance to personally brand yourself.
10) Add some sort of contact information if you like, for instance your Linked In, Facebook profile link, or perhaps a link to your personal blog or company website.
11) In “The Newbies Guide to Twitter“, website CNET suggests you:
The Twitter network works for you even if you’re not at your computer or browsing the Web. Once you are registered, you can connect your mobile phone and instant messenger account. Go to Settings > Phone and IM. Connecting your phone and IM programs to your Twitter account is a straightforward process. Note that messages you view on a phone or an IM program also are readable on your personal Twitter Web page.
12) Pay attention to Follow Friday. Its a way for everybody to do their following at the same time. Also its a way to share the people you are following with others in your network. Its often helpful if you tell those who you are following why you are following them.
13) If you check out Tweet Deck it can allow you to follow twitter conversaions in a different format which provides more of a dashboard feel.
14) Stay away from randomly following thousands of people–because either you look kinda weird or like a multi level marketer or both.
This increasingly is going to get more interesting as iPhones and mobiles add functionality. Increasingly we will be able to gather into small groups based and also learn where our friends are based on their alters on twitter.
Twitter in Plain English
How Twitter Changed My Life
Here is a helpful power point presentation on Twitter you can click through slide by slide by pressing the forward button at the bottom of the presentation. It takes about 3 to 4 minutes to view the presentation in full. While I don’t agree with all of the tips, it is quite helpful. For instance i think twitter is about “what am I doing” AND “what has my attention” AND “what is cool, neat, or crazy”
One of the great things about twitter is you can add in links to photos, video, presentations, quotes, newspaper articles….anything that has a web address…so it provides a multi-media conversation in real time that was never available before.
If you are particularly interested in the social trend that is Twitter, you can check out the CEO and co-founderEvan Williams at the prestigous TED talks, where he talks about how twitter was used during natural disasters like the California fires and an innovative food truck which uses twitter for marketing/awareness. Williams also speaks to the Twitter based information sharing that happened in the wake of the Atlanta gas shortage that happened in the Summer of 2008, which allowed users to tell where low prices were located. (The video is about 10 minutes long)
Twitter is part of a larger trend called social media as well as another trend called crowd sourcing. As you use twitter, you may want to keep in mind these “10 ways to be useful on Twitter” from Twit Tip.
Hopefully I will return to this issue for updates….including….how to use twitter more effectively