Isn’t all this twittering just a time vampire? Well, it depends on how you use it. Anything online, including work, can be a time vampire but the ever growing Twitter is a great opportunity in the Bizarre Bazaar world of the internet to learn, share, meet, grow and connect. You may feel a fear at first of OMG, am I going to connect to the world, what will I say, I’ll be lonely, no one knows who I am, no one cares, who really does care, this is wasting my time, I don’t know what to say, I’m a tech-aphobic, I’m not going to tell the world I just ate a bagel, who cares, what if no one follows me, who do I follow, what’s this following nonsense anyway, I have a Facebook page, why do I need a Twitter too and on and on and on…
Here’s a How-To-Twitter Video:
Time for tech-NO phobia! Tech-NO triggers! Don’t worry, you can do it. If you want a video to get you in the mood to start tweeting, watch this one. And of course the link that I talk about in there is now http://survivormanual.com/. Things change in the tech world very quickly and new things show up all the time – like Twitter!
There are many reasons to tweet on twitter and be a twitter bird. One of the biggest reasons is that it is a great promotional tool that allows you to share your message, mission, services and products easily to a huge audience in short spurts. Wow, sounds like a radio ad, doesn’t it? It is kind of like a radio add since you have real time listeners. The difference is that it is very interactive and you’re communicating with the other twitter birds in real time. You may think who cares about promoting anything, I’m sick of all this shameless self-promotion. Well, just wait until I show you how to make some money online. You might all the sudden find all this really fun when you make money while you sleep. Hmmm… peeked your interest? Still don’t care about promoting? What if you changed that language to sharing, bringing awareness, caring, inspiration, help, escape routes? I talk on Darkness to Light’s Tue Talking Points about being in the social conversation to create social change.
Through Twitter, you can share in the conversation in new and amazing ways and who knows – you may inspire someone to change their life, save their life or just put a smile on their face. Beside broadcasting yourself to a wide audience, you also get real time news, articles, and information from some of the coolest people in the world in real time. Cool! How do you do that?
Don’t be a Afraid of the Birds – Become a Twitter Bird
1. Get Your Twitter Bird Wings
Twittering is micro-blogging. The reason that the limit is 140 characters is because it’s the same as the SMS messages you’re sending to your friends and family via your phone, blackberry, Android or other hand-help. I love my Android! The world is growing faster and things are speeding up, that’s why there’s quick 140 characters. Short, sweet, to the point. There’s even a 140 Conference for twitter-birds put on by . If there’s a conference on twittering, it’s something you should know about if you’re in the Bizarre Bazaar world of the internet. If the Internet is the Bazaar, Twitter is the group of birds in the rafters having all kinds of conversations from the latest news to where to get those delicious crumbs. It’s a conversation. Don’t be afraid to join in. Just take a deeeeep breath and tweet.
Once you have a profile on Twitter, you can add a picture, (better to have a real picture of yourself) put your website link in if you have one (if you don’t have one I’m going to lecture you about getting one) and sum yourself up in the One Line Bio. It’s a good practice to sum up who you are. People have been trying to do that with me for years. If you can sum me up in a sentence, you may just get a free T-shirt. (Share how you’d sum me up in the comment section below and I’ll see who does it the best.)
Brand your twitter tree profile! In the settings you can add your website logo, customize your background and overall look. Here’s a place where you can chose some Twitter Backgrounds if you don’t have your own design.
2. Follow other Twitter Birds
The way you use twitter is that you follow other twitter birds. For example, go follow me at @angelashelton. Come on, I dare you. There’s a button on the page that says “follow”. Click it and you’re now following me. Yay! You can also follow @survivormanual and @thearmyofangels too.
- Follow Well. Just like I’ve talked about having your booth in the Bizarre Bazaar of the Internet, your profile on twitter is part of that booth just like your other social network sites like Facebook and Myspace are. You build your booth and your network by following others. I recommend not getting follow-happy though. Just like in life, you don’t have to follow the leader, you can be your own leader. So just because people are out there, doesn’t mean you have to follow them. And just because they follow you, doesn’t mean you have to follow them (although that is Twitter courtesy), it all depends on what you want to hear tweets about. Seek out what you like, who you want to learn from, who entertains you and who makes you scratch your head and wonder why. I follow @PeeWeeHerman because he’s really twittering and I love him. I follow @DKMatai because he makes me ponder about the Universe, black holes and magnetic fields. I follow @princeboucher because he’s my social engineer and introduces me to more tech nerds and different avenues around the Bazaar to make my life easier. Find those you love and see who they’re following to get an idea of who you’d like to follow too. Think and follow for yourself!
- Unfollow at any time. Much like on the home page of your Facebook, the tweets from the twitter birds you are following will show up on your home page. So the more you follow, the more your home page is filled with tweets. If you’re following someone and they tweet about things that annoy or bore you, you can un-follow them by clicking the little wheel icon by their name, and choosing unfollow from the pull down menu.
3. Tweet with Fellow Twitter Birds
- Interaction is the key. Tweet, birdie, tweet! But who are you tweeting with? Talk about them too, highlight them, message them, answer your messages, send thank yous to those who are following or re-tweeting you. Notice how I have the @ sign in front of the names of those I spoke about above? When you use the @ sign with someone’s profile name in your tweet, it creates a link back to them. They like you for that. It’s like a little tweet shout out from the twitter trees. You can do that in your Facebook status too btw. Type in @ and the person’s name and a list of of profiles show up, chose the one you meant and it creates a link back to that profile. It’s a great way to do shout-outs, promotions, send some love or just a friendly wave. Try it. When you use @, it’s for the whole world to see, remember it’s not a direct private message. You’re tweeting out loud for the whole world to see.
- Keep is at 140. You have 140 characters to work with so you can’t ramble on and on. Here’s a list of shortened words that I call a Bazaar language. If you’re sharing a link that is super long like – http://angelashelton.com/bazaar-language you can shorten it via places like http://bit.ly/ so it’s this short – http://bit.ly/5pDTJi so you don’t use up your whole post with a link.
- Retweeting. You retweet when you actually re-tweet the tweet of another twitter bird. Say for example someone posts and article or a picture you really like and you want to share it. You hover your mouse over the post and find and click retweet. It will retweet that person’s tweet as well as link back to them so that their followers see your profile. That is a great way to be in the conversation and not just share things from your own world. Retweet the twitter world – but be sure to retweet pretty, interesting, moving or mind expanding tweets. Don’t just tweet anything.
- Reply and Check Replies. You can reply directly to the person and it will link to their profile and to yours, thus showing up on your home page or twitter tree and on theirs. You reply when that amazing blogger asks a question and you want to provide an answer or get in on the conversation or if you want to say thank you or send a message to that person for everyone to see. Be sure to check your own replies too. You can do that by clicking on your profile @you in the right column. See who is saying things about you and what they are saying. Then thank them in a post with a reply. If there are many people, you can put them all in a post like this: Thank you 4 listing me in FF# & 4 the Retweets & Twitter <3 @staceysoleil, @princeboucher, @imtboo , @KarinHiebert @marciliroff. BTW <3 is a heart – good short way to send some love. I <3 U.
- Answer Direct Messages. You can get a DM or direct message on Twitter too. It’s like getting an email or SMS in 140 characters that only you can see. Someone has to be following you for you to be able to DM them. If you see someone you’re following ask a question or mention something about you or your product or mission, you can send them an answer or a thank you via DM. You and send direct messages easier if you use the twitter tools at the bottom like Seesmic.
4. Twitter Tricks
There are lots of Twitter Terms. You can use the Twittonary Dictionary to look them up.
- Hash Tags. Not that kind of hash. A hash tag is this # and is a way to search for common topics, trends and popular words or sayings. Go to your home page on your twitter account and scroll down. On the right sidebar there are Trending Topics. There you will see lots of hash tags. So if you’re tweeting, be sure to check out the latest popular # and if you happen to tweet with those words, put the # before the word and your tweet will then be listed in that search. If you hash tag #AOA for #ArmyofAngels that allows you to search for others who are tweeting those tags and voila – you meet other Angels! Hash tags are a great way to meet new followers and get them too.
- Lists. There are now Twitter Lists so you can keep your tweets organized. For example if you follow a lot of people and they are very varied, you can create lists and add them to whichever list you want by going to their profile page and clicking on the Lists pull down menu and adding them to a list. It’s very cool when people add you to lists too. If you tweet about a certain subject that they like, they may just add you to a list.
- Follow Friday. #FF is a popular hash tag and trend. Every Fri, tweeters tweet #FF to share who they love. So, just like above post from me may look like this: #FF @staceysoleil, @princeboucher, @imtboo , @KarinHiebert @marciliroff. I’m highlighting those profiles on Friday. One of my favorite twitter birds @iamkhayyam boycotts Twitter on Fridays and is dead cold silent for the whole day.
- Music Monday. #MM is a popular hash tag for sharing new music. Follow
5. Twitter Bird Rules
Like in life you can do what you want but within the twitter trees, there are rules among the birds.
- Do well in the world. Just like you do on your blog or website, share well, do well, speak well. Well, well, well, really? I’m not saying you can’t cause a ruckus or be outspoken like myself, I mean that you contribute something to the world. It’s not just about the fact that you ate a bagel, it’s about what’s happening in the world, what are you doing really? Share original thoughts, stuff, materials or things you find online that you think others would like.
- Don’t be a jerk tweeter. Some big smarty pants bloggers post one – two posts a day and expert twitter birds tweet a lot more than that but just because they do it doesn’t mean you should unless of course you become an expert. If you tweet too much or tweet things that are not relevant to what your one line bio sums you up as, people may unfollow you. Tweeting 1-10 times a day if your tweets are interesting is great. Also, don’t just promote yourself and your products. Read other profiles, check out the articles they share and retweet them. Stay in the conversation. A Twitter Bird who only sings one song about themselves on their own tree runs the risk of getting shot down (figuratively) by the other birds.
- Don’t disappear. Over tweeting twitter birds can come off as annoying and pesty but the ones that disappear are not seen or heard. People may not unfollow you but your followers will not grow unless you’re tweeting. I have this issue myself when I’m on the road a lot and forget to tweet. So I downloaded Twitroid to my Android. We’ll see if that adds to my tweeting! You can set a reminder for twitter to urge you to tweet in your notices in the settings tab too.
Promote your twitter. Do a shout-out for from your twitter tree about your twitter. Put a link to your twitter on all of your other social media profiles. Put a twitter badge on your blog or website.
7. Twitter Toolbox
- Seesmic allows you to tweet easier. You can import your Facebook too, update you status
- TweetDeck does the same thing as Seesmic but has a different interface.
- CoTweet is the coolest thing. I love it. It allows you to schedule your tweets, have other twitter birds in your company tweeting and is generally very awesome.
- TwitterFeed pulls your latest post urls from your blog’s feed and posts them on your twitter account.
- LoudTwitter posts your daily tweets to your blog in one long list.
- Twitter Tools marries your WordPress blog and your Twitter account. This plugin pulls tweets from your twitter account to your blog like LoudTwitter and also allows you to twitter from within wordpress. I love wordpress. I use the Thesis Theme and I love it.
- is a Firefox plugin that lets you send and receive updates from the browser’s status bar.
- Twitt-Twoo is another wordpress plug in that allows you to update your twitter status from the sidebar.
- TwitThis is very cool and adds a little button at the end of every blog post like the other social media buttons. This allows people to tweet your blog posts – very cool.
- Tweetscan is a search engine for twitter. Search to find what people are talking about and see what the twitter birds are saying about you! If they are tweeting about your company or product, send them a thank you <3 tweet!
- TwitterNotes helps you take and keep track of your notes.
- TweetMarks helps your bookmark your twits, keeping all of the links you share organized.
Now, is your brain all full of twitter tweets? Jump into the conversation – go tweet you twitter bird! @angelashelton