Note: This blog post is for people brand new to Twitter.com. If you’ve landed in TwitterLand, got scared and freaked out and don’t know what to do about it, read this first. All you experienced tweeple, feel free to post helpful comments to newbie Tweeps.
Twitter really is the best thing to happen to the Internet since, well, the Internet.
Twitter grew by 752% in 2008! Why is Twitter.com the latest and greatest thing? Why are so many seemingly sane people turning into obsessive-compulsive geeks who post tweets every 30 seconds from their phones or laptops? And why are we constantly logging in to see our new followers? Here are my top reasons why twitter is the best thing to happen to the Internet…since the Internet.
1. Convenience: Twitter is accessible from anywhere as long as I have my cell phone. This means I can post a tweet (a twitter message) for all my followers to read as soon as I post it. Yes, my tweeple, it’s true: as soon as I think a profound thought and can type it on my keypad, in 140 characters or less on my phone or computer, my thought is broadcast and read by all of of my followers. This real time accessibility is profound: my mind is connected to other minds almost instantanousely. As you build your number of followers, you’ll soon realize how important instant accessibility is. I follow some people (@Scobleizer) who have more than 47,545 followers! (More about why you want this many followers in a moment).
2. Collobaration: Twitter connects me to like-minded people in seconds. And because of that, I can truly exclaim The Geek SHALL inherit the earth! If you have a product or service to sell, your twitter profile should link to your Web site or blog where you’re selling your goods. This is why companies like Starbucks, Comcast, Jet Blue, and many others who are posting tweets, are showing their lighter and/or more human side (public relations is free: advertising is costly). They’re also “listening” (monitoring tweets) to consumers who mention their company (good or bad) and (the smart ones) are taking action on complaints and kudos (read this blog post by Michael Arrington about how his Internet connection was down for 36 hours until he twittered about it and guess who personally called him to apologize and fixed it?). Connecting to so many people within seconds is important because you can literally be the first person to inform us all of a breaking news story; link us to a funny YouTube video; or even tap into your twitter followers for help (like @AndrewWarner who got stuck on the Pacific Coast hiway–he called 911 and a taxi cab service and no one would come to pick him up. So he twittered about his dilemma and within minutes, one of his followers offered to come pick him up).
3. Crazy—Unless you know how to use it properly. What’s proper? That depends on what you’re wanting to accomplish with Twitter.
I advocate posting useful information to share, rather than “fluffy” stuff, like “I’m off to eat sushi now…” Some people take the Twitter question too literal (Twitter asks you to answer, in 140 characters or less, “What are you doing?” So far, tweeple (people on Twitter) are using it to:
- Tell us they’re about to go to bed. (Please don’t use it this way. This is minutae, not sharing knowledge.) On the other hand….
- Tell us something silly. Show us your personality. This is a great way to build followers.
- Tell us something useful. This will establish you as an expert and your followers will appreciate you. Try to post tweets that help people. This is what I preach about “real world” networking: be of service to people. Think of twitter as a half-business-half-social party. How would you behave at such a party? You wouldn’t get drunk and make a fool of yourself, right? You’d probably be yourself and attract the people you’d want to attract and repel the people you’d want to repel. Same thing with twitter: whatever you say/link to/post a picture of will lead to connections, friends, and whatever else you want it to lead to.
Here are some fun tools to supplement your Twittering:
Tweetdeck: According to its Web site, “TweetDeck is an Adobe Air desktop application that is currently in public beta. It aims to evolve the existing functionality of Twitter by taking an abundance of information i.e twitter feeds, and breaking it down into more manageable bite sized pieces.”
TwitterGrader: Measures the power of your profile. Interesting to check your profile’s reach.
TweetStats: I find the trending stats very interesting because I’m geeky that way.
Here are a few of my favorite peeps I follow:
Now you have enough information to dip your toes in Twitter land. What are you waiting for? Go twitter and let me know your twitter name. Here’s mine: twitter.com/LoriGama
Later this week: I’ll write about why a Simpsons episode is very much like Twitter Land.