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Twitter Basics – Choosing who to follow for first time tweeps

February 8, 2011 1 comment

Twitter is the next evolution in collaboration. It helps me quickly solve problems and get questions answered and enables me to connect with subject matter experts in different fields.  It’s a global stream of real time knowledge that anyone can tap into and leverage, unconstrained by websites, circles, friends, groups, clubs, wealth, fame or power. There are no barriers to your answers anymore, there are only barriers to your willingness to reach them.  The answers to most questions are out there and its all kinda free.(meaning its not money we are trading as currency but personal data-Same as Facebook, LinkedIn and most other “Free” sites)

If your new or on the fringe of twitter you are probably saying mehhh, hows that again? When the new and uninitiated first get on twitter all they see is a bunch of gibberish that occasionally pertains to them.

An important part of your twitter experience will be dictated by who you choose to follow. Anyone you follow has their tweets displayed in the timeline you see when you log on to twitter.

If you follow people that consistently tweet junk(tweets that you do not find interesting, or valuable)  get rid of em and get someone new. No one is going to have hurt feelings because you stopped following, its just part of the twitter experience.

Heres a run down on how to find people to follow that will be valuable to you in the beginning as you are learning this brave new world. Again this is just one method in a million.

1. If you dont have a Twitter account go get one. Skip all the extra steps,  just sign up and verify the account.

2. Get a twitter client for your phone. Skip twitter if you are unwilling or adverse to doing that. To understand and really get twitter you need to be able to access it on the go. Its a tool, one of the best ever so make sure you keep it close.

3. Make a list of your passions, hobbies, favorite books. For example- Cooking, Running, Knitting, Dogs, Beer, 60 minutes, Camping, Republican, Liberal, Computers- Get 10 items on your list.

4. Go to WeFollow. Type your categories in their search field –

5. Look through the list and pick out 10 -20 people for each hobby or passion you have.

6. Now ease back. Relax and watch twitter work.

7. For the first week, check twitter regularly as you can. Force your self to do it. If you have followed folks that your passions and interest align with, every time you look at your stream it should be filled with stuff that has some interest to you. If you find your self looking at garbage, unfollow those that tweet about things that dont spark you.

8. Follow your timeline. Watch these folks that you have chosen to follow, interact. You will begin to understand how it all works. You will soon get what a reply, mention and hashtag is and come to understand how to use them. Interact with people. If someone you follow asks a question answer it, or ask them questions. Depending on who it is and what their personal twitter ethos is you may get a response, you may get a lot of reponse or you may get no response.

9. Twitter is no obligation. Thats a great thing. There is no obligation to reply and should be no hard feelings if not replied to. But start reaching out. Start following some folks that the people you follow, follow. And when you can contribute do so. Example- As you follow people and people follow you, you will catch questions and dialogs and all kinds of bits of conversations. Talk to them. Answer and ask questions if you can, and help people that you can.  Twitter gives you an unlimited reach. You just have to figure out if you want to use it and how.

10. As time passes and you become more familiar with your own little twitter sphere you will find out who you can reliably ask questions to about certain subjects and you will be able to identify those people that really enhance your twitter experience. I have key people areas of my twittersphere.  Cooking guru’s, sql jedi’s, and videography wizzes are just some of the relationships that I try to cultivate to ensure I have some go to people in times of need. And generally it works. You will get out of twitter what you put in.

As always thanks for reading and more thanks for comments. 🙂

You can always ask me a question or 2 @ferox11.

How can twitter make my conference experience better?

January 14, 2011 6 comments

I want to look at a perfect world for a second. Rose colored glasses on if you please.

We are going to go to a conference. A conference where everyone has a twitter account and everyone has a phone with a twitter client(i ❤ Uber Twitter-if your phone has a client). At this conference Im able to ask a question via twitter – “How do I fix problem x? #confhash” –  All these fine folks are periodically checking the relevant conf hashtags and are able to provide input immediately with a reply. In the next 5 min I get 3 reply’s from users that have had the same issue, 1 reply from staff and 1 reply from a vendor that wants to sell me a solution. I end up meeting with the 3 users and solving the issue, rubbing shoulders with the staff and the vendor buys me a drink.  Ive just leveraged the staff, the facilitators of the conference, the attendees and folks that are not physically present. All which now feel included and can participate. Also all around the conference halls are monitors with the live twitter feeds of the hashtags so others can look at the questions and happenings and going on as well.  Pulling them in. Getting them involved or as the mighty @unmarketing preaches, engaging them.

The networking at the conferences is by far the best reasons to go. The folks that you meet and make pals with and can call are the real take aways. The classes are good but the people are great. And twitter makes it easier for us to connect with each other. If I know that there are 10 -15 folks that are getting in a bit early and have been chatting on #conftech why not arrange a little dinner get together. One I would have never had the chance to have before hand.

Another area that a good implementation of twitter at a conference could help tremendously would be for first time attendees. There is not a better way to heard those poor overwhelmed souls and keep them together than to say Hey follow #confNoobs and ask questions on #confNoobs and we will get you sorted out. But the conference has to push i to the attendee’s. And it needs to start before conference. They have to say get on twitter, use these hashtags, lets start talking.

If your going to a conference, beg plead and cry to make them start using twitter. The first year wont be great, there are many lessons to learn but after you see the result the next time you plan a conference it will be an intregral part of the strategy.

Twitter is this amazing free tool that we can use to connect to each other but like any tool if it is unused then it is unproductive.

ps here is another very involved article about twitter and conferences.

Categories: social Media Tags: , ,

Anatomy of a Tweet

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment

I feel like I am constantly introducing new folks to twitter. I find my self trying to explain what a tweet is and how it works quite a bit so i thought i would throw a little basic twitter info up. This will be the first in a short series on twitter basics.

1. Avatar – A graphical representation of you. Many pundits say to have a face picture so others can connect with you more easily. Here are some thoughts on avatars. They are at least good to know even if you choose to ignore them, which plenty do.

2. Twitter Name – The name you choose as your twitter handle. I chose Ferox11(Ferox was a gargoyle from a roleplaying game long ago, and 11 is a cool number) the fella above chose a more practical name, his own. You want the twitter name to be a short as possible.(tweets have 140 character limit and names count) Twitter names can be changed after the fact.

3. Persons Name- The name you entered in your profile.

4. Link to article shortened by Bit.ly– A lot of tweets are used to pass links(news, pictures, movies,websites), because the native links can be extremely long, companies have come up with a way to shorten them. Google, Twitter, and Bit.ly all offer this service. One of the cool things about these services is you can see which of your links were clicked and when, here. So the process would be – Your surfing around and you find a cool article about pacman and you want to share it. You could copy the url from the web browser paste it into bit.ly and it would shorten that link and then track any clicks.

5. The actual body of the tweet- For this tweet it is the Title of the article the entire contents of the tweet can not be more than 140 characters. That includes the text, the links and hashtags or any other character.

6. Tweet hashtag – Hashtags were first created to categorize  topics. Say I want to have a specific discussion about Chickens – so I can eliminate all the other Chicken bs floating around twitter I tag all my tweets pertaining to this specific conversation with #chicken so folks that want to be in on it can easily eliminate all the other conversations with the word chicken in it, by searching for #chicken. Now, Hashtags have become that and alot more. In the instance above he is simply emphasizing that the article pertains to cool science. Not really hoping that anyone is following the specific hashtag but more giving a theme to the tweet. The best explanation that I have found is here. Clever uses of hastags are cool.

7. When – how long ago was the tweet.

8. Click to Favorite – You favorite a tweet if you want to save it. Initially you will not use it but sooner or later as you progress down the twitter road you will find tweets you want to save or really enjoy. You could also use http://www.tweetfiler.com to save tweets. just send a tweet you want to save to @tf66 and it will be saved for you. Add **category to add a category to it. Check it out, its one of my little web tools.

9. Click to Retweet – A retweet is when you like the tweet enough to retweet it to all of your followers. On the twitter website you can not edit or do anything to the retweet, you click the button, a box pops up asking if you really wanna send it to all your followers you click yes and BAM all your followers have it. A retweet you send looks like this in your stream – 

a tweet that has been retweeted to you by someone you follow looks like this-– you can see the Twitter user Carr2n liked this enough to retweet it, and since i follow him I received the retweet.

Retweeting is currency in twitter and it pays to use retweeting strategically. People like to be retweeted. I always know who retweets me and I try and keep an eye out for stuff I think they might appreciate being retweeted. It takes some time to understand it but master retweeting and you will do well.

10. Click to Reply- If I wanted to tweet back to Lance and tell him Hey great article it would look like this. You can see I start the tweet with @lanceulanoff (in twitter parlance a mention)- his twitter name with @ symbol in front of it. This is a reply. Replys do not show up to my followers unless they are following both he and I. Stop for a second and understand that. Replys do not show in anyones tweet stream unless your followers are also following the person you are replying to. I often see folks tweet replys but are obviously intending the tweet for a broader audience. Any one visiting my tweet stream will see that reply so its not private at all just doesnt show up to my followers when i send the tweet unless they are following both.

11. Direct Message- Just something you need to know. The way you privatly tweet someone is to direct message them. You place a d (twittername) – then the tweet and its private only between you and the recipient. The only catch being you can only DM those that are following you. Very elegant simple controls.

I think thats enough for Lesson 1. Let me know if I am wrong or missed things. hope to see ya on twitter.