What My Twitter Community Taught Me Today
corey says…Since I posted that All-Ireland/Irish-American Twitter List yesterday, I’ve gotten two types of responses: “Thanks for the list!” and “Help me understand this Twitter thing.”
It’s clear a majority of Irish Fireside readers haven’t test-driven Twitter yet. So rather than explain what Twitter does, I thought I’d tell you what I learned in the last 24-hours from the people I “follow” on Twitter:
- Irish travel writer Pat Preston was working on chapter 22 of her new book
- Anne Roos played Metallica on the Celtic harp
- Musician Marc Gunn recorded another song for his album
- Shard jewelry maker Liam Hughes spent 13 hours cutting new pieces
- Ellen DeGeneres thought she just recorded her best show ever
- My mom transplanted flowers in her greenhouse
- There was a coupon code to save $50 on an Irish vacation
- My friend Wakako was congested and had to catch a flight
- The Two Guys Around the World bloggers got scammed by Thai Taxi drivers
- Learned more about Barrack Obama’s Irish roots
- Followed a link to tips on typography in web pages
- Watched a 70-year-old woman sign up for Twitter
- Followed a link to a source for inexpensive business cards
- Discovered that iJustine eats a lot of pizza and edits a lot of video
These tidbits all happened in the last 24 hours, and they are all nuggets of information I would have missed without the 140 character “Tweets” of the people I am following on Twitter.
Sure, my life would be perfectly fine without knowing these details, but I like taking in these niblets of information. With only a glance, I can skim the info and continue with my day.
On the flip side, my own Tweets have helped me connect with people. I once Tweeted that I was hunting for a 1950s US map. Ten minutes later, a follower was giving me access to their scanned collection of vintage maps…that saved me an hour’s worth of work! I’ve had questioned answered in minutes. And my most simple statements have resulted in some enlightening dialog.
Twitter is not for everyone, but for those who are already quite tied to their computer or mobile phone, it can be a welcome addition.
Twitter Tips for Newbies
- Upload an Avatar (that’s a little picture to represent you) – You appear so much more Twitteriffic with an image next to your name rather than the ugly Twitter default icon.
- Fill Out Your Profile – Give a little info about yourself…nothing too personal, just a little intro, and be sure to include your website or blog if you have one.
- Start Following People You Know – Your friends, family and web sites you are familiar with are the best place to test Twitter. You can even use the “Find People” to help uncover people you already know on twitter. Twellow.com can be handy too.
- Remember Twitter is Public – Don’t post anything you don’t want announced to the world…that includes comments about your boss or someone’s cooking. FYI – you can “lock” your profile, so only people you approve can see your Tweets.
- Control Your Following – Follow the people with Tweets that interest you…if their Tweets aren’t holding your interest or if they Tweet more often than you care to read, unfollow them. This is not a popularity contest; you do not need to follow everyone who follows you. FYI – there are “advanced” ways to filter Tweets, but those are for experienced users.
- Block As Needed – It’s the Internet, so there will be spammers and weirdos. You can block users at your discretion.
- Browse – Once you find someone with similar interests, look at their list of followers and followees…you might uncover more great Twitterers.
- Make It Routine – Whether it’s twice a week or twice an hour, try to stay consistent while you “test drive” Twitter. After a little while, you will either get your own groove or you’ll decide it isn’t right for you.
- Keep Your Perspective – Although there are people out there proclaiming the virtues of Twitter and announcing how it increased their sales, made them rich, enhanced their social lives. The truth is, Twitter is just a tool. It’s not going to replace all the other communication techniques you’ve developed over your lifetime. Success, happiness and wealth will still thrive without Twitter, but you already knew that.
A more complete overview is at http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/03/the-ultimate-guide-for-everything-twitter/
Here’s a great video overview as well http://cnettv.cnet.com/2001-1_53-50005401.html.