Twitter and Social Communication

Recently I’ve been swept up in the Twitter storm. Late last year I decided that, as part of my New Year’s resolution, I would get more active online with a blog, twitter and Facebook. My primary goal was to increase my awareness of interacting socially with these tools. After a couple of weeks of Twitter, I’ve come to realize that it is more than what I first imagined.
If you use Twitter and understand what followers and following is all about and know what RT@karlkovacs means, then you can stop reading and move on to other thing (such as watching another amazing video on TED.com).
Twitter is a social messaging application that allows you to follow other people’s tweets (or rants). A tweet is a 140 character text message that you post for your followers to read. It is an almost real time way to follow friends, family or people that you find interesting. I have found that twitters fall into one of three different categories. The first is someone who twitters about their whereabouts during the day. The second is a person who twitters about what they find interesting and are raising awareness about issues. The third is someone who is trying to reach a large audience with a marketing message. A good example would be then presidential candidate Barack Obama (23,971 following & 227,757 followers). An example of a bad twitter is someone who advertises that I can make $15,000 a month and has zero (0) following. I personally fall into the second category.
If you want to start using twitter, it is as easy as signing up using your email address and password. Any replies to your tweet will be forwarded to your email informing you of a new tweet. I’m not going to get into all the desktop applications that you can install for twitter, but I will tell you I have more than one twitter application installed on my desktop and iPhone.
The people that are getting on twitter range from the inane to the insane. In between that, you can find celebrities that are now on twitter. Here is a compilation of the top 50 celebrities on twitter (http://tinyurl.com/bsmkyz). My favorites are the celebrities who have something to say and are using twitter with a twist of humor. I have to disagree with some of the names on the list, specifically who isn’t on the list. I guess the author didn’t spend much time looking as he didn’t mention Barack Obama (he is a celebrity..right?) or Ashton Kutcher.
Now, the etiquette of tweeting is a whole different story. Do you want to build a following? Are you interesting in keeping that following? I found a great tweeter who summarized the top 15 things you should (and shouldn’t) do. He has promised to blog about them soon so check him out on twitter (sethsimonds). I don’t have a massive following (I only just started) but I have learned that I want to avoid tweeters who are just out to market a product and I don’t want to offend people to the point where they are blocking me. This means using common sense and having fun.
Another great thing to do is to explore and check out everyone on twitter from the celebrity (mrskutcher), to the talented artist (AFineFrenzy) the news commentator (andersoncooper) and the athlete (lancearmstrong). I am leaving out a huge range of people to follow but I don’t have enough room in my blog to mention all the people that you can follow.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of Twitter, you can add to your repertoire and add photos, videos and blogs to your list. Oh, and one last point. Twitter is limited to 140 characters so if you have a URL that you want to tweet, use a service like TinyURL to shorten those really long URLs to give you more characters for your tweet.
Happy tweeting.
Update to the Blog:
I found an excellent article by Warren Whitlock on how to grow relationship on Twitter.
http://tinyurl.com/ardmfd

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