Sunday, May 31, 2009

How: To Tweet, or Not To Tweet

Twitter confounds many with an unnerving freedom to say anything to everyone. It repels others with embarrassingly childish language (tweeps, professional twits, tw*) and popularity-contest customs (retweeting, follower counting, #followFriday.) It's no wonder that my friends have difficulty resolving the frivolity of extreme life-casting (here's a picture of my lunch http://twurl.com/*****) with my insistence of professional and business value.

If you are on the fence about whether to tweet, or not to tweet, I advise the following steps:

1) Hey, Mikey... try it, you might like it

2) Do the hardest parts first: user name, picture, and bio (it's only 160 characters)

3) Follow people you know

4) Search for keywords in your field to find interesting people to follow

5) Listen and learn. It may take a while to become comfortable with the culture and traditions. Following @mashable or @Twitter_Tips may help.

6) Tweet carefully. The personal and interactive nature of Twitter have supplanted any interest of mine in overly passive TV. To reap those benefits, you need to become part of the community, so say something; however, deleted is not really deleted, so remember that your tweets become a semi-permanent part of your personal or corporate brand.

7) Decide on the level of time commitment you wish to make to this community and follow through. Note: I'm still on this step. :O)


In case you have my proclivity to research, here are a few of my favorite relevant sites:

http://www.twitip.com/how-to-be-a-good-dog-on-twitter-in-8-easy-steps/

http://www.cio.com/article/480318/Twitter_Etiquette_Five_Dos_and_Don_ts_

http://mashable.com/2009/02/05/personal-branding-101/

6 comments:

Justin C. Houk said...

Great Post! it took me some time to figure out how to use search to find people in my areas of interest. You are spot on with all of your points.

Another strategy that works out after you have developed some connections is to scan the followers of anyone that re-tweets you for quality people. They will be likely to follow back since they were introduced to you though an existing relationship and possibly a common interest.

Valerie Yakich said...

Thank you. Now, I have a simple primer to which I can point my friends. Frankly, it was challenging _not_ to include all the ancillary tools, but reserve them for subsequent discovery.

Yes, (aside from bots) accounts that retweet you _are_ more likely to read your tweets and engage in conversation.

Eric Colburn said...

Thanks for the great post. I particularly liked #4 and #7.

I didn't get Twitter until I started using it - It can be somewhat addictive. But it's also fun and informative.

Did I just go over 140 characters?

Valerie Yakich said...

Thank you. #7 is challenging for me, but I'm beginning to achieve balance.

As for going over 140 characters: Yea! Twitter has _not_ completely devolved our brains. :)

Tyron Touchard said...

I'm off to search for keywords in your (my) field to find interesting people to follow.

Great blog. Well written and interesting!

Valerie Yakich said...

Thank you! As @tinacary once remarked, I think you'll find the natives are friendly. :-)