Twitter. Like anything, it has its lovers and dissenters. And, like anything, it can be used productively, or it can suck the time out of your day. (If you’ve never heard of Twitter before, check out the brilliant commoncraft video Twitter in Plain English).
If used wisely, Twitter can help you network like a jolt of amphetamines, keep you up to date on local news, traffic jams, construction work and accidents, as well as providing data on all the bars your friends are at. You can use it to get business advice, new clients, and joy and happiness.
Or, you can get lost in followers, following others, endless updates about tooth brushing, bowel movements and new hair colors without really getting much out of the whole experience.
Provide relevant, descriptive info-links.
If you think the information is really useful, then provide a description of that information and a shortened link to that information. Else, you’re wasting the time-value of your followers and your own credibility.
If you write 10 new blog posts a day, don’t post them all on Twitter. Don’t even say that your blog has a new post when you link to it. Just provide a useful description of what the post pertains to. If people want to click on it, they will. If they don’t, craft better posts. Posting objectively will allow you to rank your posts based on content, not coercion.
Use Short URL’s
- is.gd is my favorite, because it provides the shortest url-length.
- Tinyurl has a Firefox plugin that can be downloaded here, although it is not yet available for Firefox 3. The plugin allows you to right click to shorten the url, and it saves the url to the clipboard.
Tie your online experience into your real life. One head is good, but thirty are better. Using Twitter to network is all about shared resources and experiences. If you have a service to provide, provide it. You’ll undoubetly be rewarded for your generosity.
Twitterers are known to be extremely friendly and social both online and off. It is just a matter of finding where they meet up, and then hanging out and having a good time. Use the Twitter in junction with local event calendars like Yahoo’s Upcoming Calendar to find events in your area. Attend the events, make friends, and exchange Twitter ID’s, resources, and business cards. Following them on Twitter will allow you to learn about new events, parties, and bar meetups.
Add Summize queries with your @ ID to your RSS reader
I’m a rather noisy person on Twitter, and I also follow a lot of noisy and wonderful people. If they @ me, it’s often difficult for me to keep track of it all, when these @’s are mixed in with all of the other results/updates/posts.
Instead of looking to Twitter to see if anyone’s @’d me, I used to type @caseorganic into Summize a few times a day. Then I subscribed to the “Feed for this Query”, and now I can just follow my @’s through my RSS reader. (If you don’t have an RSS reader yet, you can read my post about Using RSS Feeds as a Search Engine).