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A Twitter what, why and how to

Posted by Chris under Twitter

Recently I’ve introduced a few people to Twitter, check them out here and here. This started from a lunch time conversation (yes the infamous big boy, and not the restaurant) lunch. During lunch and back at the office we talked about the how to, what’s it all about, hey I heard the Man Men characters were on twitter, etc.

Additionally it turns out that Dr. William J. Ward, is getting his classes involved in twitter and he asked my opinion about how to get started.

So I thought I’d post a quick What, Why and How to Twitter. And because I’m not boldly going where no others have gone before, I’m tapping into some great content that is already out there.

First the What. Below is a great short video from the people over at common craft, the above short video is a great “why” and basic “how to” Twitter. But really covers quite well, what the heck this is and what’s it for.

Next up the Why:

Ok, honestly if you have to know why then Twitter probably isn’t for you. Try a little bit of Yoda as in “do or do not, there is no try” Basically people use Twitter to communicate, duh right. But this can be as a megaphone as in; one-to-many or a one-to-one that many people can see, sort of like a party line where I’m talking to you but others can chime in if they want.

Twitter asks you, “What are you doing?”but I think Chris Brogan said it best ” I believe this is the wrong question to answer. I like to answer the question, “What has your attention right now?”

I use Twitter in much the same way he does: for “advice, directions, support, and to ask others for their open-ended interpretations to general questions.”  In fact, for his further thoughts on the why check out his post here.

Ok now the How:

At first blush there is not much to it. You sign up, a quick 2 min (if that) process, confirm via email, set up your cell phone if you like, etc. Then you are ready to go. But as the old adage goes, if a tree falls…. Well Twitter is much the same way. Until you have some followers no one will hear your voice.* Now I “*” that as if you’ve kept your profile public and are part of the pubic timeline then anyone can “hear” you. But twitter truly become powerful when you follow and are followed by others.

So get started:

I’d recommend doing two things to start. One, start tweeting,  and two start following. Are there people you know, analysts/pundits/etc. people you admire or respect on Twitter, then start following them. Some will auto following you back, others will check you out first. Whatever you do, DO NOT start following tens or hundreds of people right away. Not only does this make the conversation hard to follow (on your end), no one will really take you seriously and you’ll be seen as a bit of a spammer.

Build up your connections over days, weeks, months. Like anything of value in social marketing it takes time to grow. Now once you start to twitter or read others tweets you’ll see posts like this or this. And you’ll realize that twitter also has it’s own “language” or way of calling attention, passing on or contacting directly. And that’s where this link from Brent Ozar comes in very handy. He gives a great 101 of the various kind of tweets/comments to use.

And before you know it, Twitter has become a part of your social networking.

Next, what applications I use to twitter, yes you can go beyond the website. And meanwhile if you’d like follow me on Twitter here.

And I almost forgot, until I saw Dr. Ward’s tweet, be sure to put in a photo, bio and info otherwise you look like a spammer or worse a digital stalker!

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Reader's Comments

  1. Ryan Moede |

    Chris – good post. BusinessWeek had a decent write-up on brands using Twitter as well: http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/sep2008/tc2008095_320491.htm

  2. Chris |

    Good point Ryan, And I just saw in ad in Adweek for CNN.com
    Headline: Why CNN.com is No. 1, It gives you more content to Twitter about.

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