Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My humble guide for newbies on Twitter



After fumbling around Twitter for a few months, I’ve figured a few things out. (See my previous blog of my new adoption fears.) Many of my friends are beginning to explore Twitter, and as I’ve really grown to like it and find it useful, I hope they will as well. So here is my beginner advice for a newbie on Twitter (meaning you follow or are followed by less than 10 tweople):

Best place to find new people to follow:
Go to http://www.twitter.com/ on your PC, pick one or two people you follow. Click on their profile and see who they follow. Start following anyone on their lists who look interesting. Once you start following new people, look at who they are following, etc.


People who I follow that I would highly recommend following for first-tweeters:
Lance Armstrong (even if you’re not a cyclist, a consistent tweeter with a wide range of tweets)
Techcrunch (if you have any interest in technology and social media)
JayRosen (if you want a really opinionated journalism prof from NYU)

Twhirl
Next step, stop going to http://www.twitter.com/ all the time and download an application on to your desktop. I use Twhirl . When you are working on your computer, it's nice to have it open and you can get updates whenever they come in.

iphone/blackberry
I use it on my iPhone, and I know they have twitter apps for the Blackberry as well. For the iPhone, there are many twitter apps to choose from. Currently I use tweetsville, but am not sure it's worth $3.99. Before, I used twitterfone and that was free, and worked fine for a newbie status.


Syncing Twitter update with Facebook update
This is controversial. Some “ethic guides to Twitter” highly advise you that your status updates on Facebook and your tweets should be separate. As you gather more followers on Twitter, this may be true. But as you are getting started, it is a little de-motivating to sent out a tweet to 1 or 2 people. I recommend syncing them for your beginner period. Once you start realizing the difference between things you want to tweet (news stories you’re reading, work your putting out there, new restaurants / museums you’ve found) and your Facebook status updates (moods, opinions, your breakfast menu, etc.).

So if you do want to sync the two…here’s how:
go to Twitter’s FAQ http://help.twitter.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=26
scroll way down to:
"Does Twitter work with Facebook?
Yep! Send and receive updates from within Facebook, or use your Twitter updates as your Facebook status. "
follow the directions from there.

Twitter’s FAQ / Shortening url’s
Twitter’s FAQ also offers a lot of other helpful questions like how/why to use tiny url's. People shorten their weblinks on twitter because you only get so many characters. Twhirl allows you to shorten when you put in a link, so do the iPhone apps.

Twitter Guides
If you are wondering if you are following twitter etiquette, many tweople have put out their own guide to online social communication rules. Here are a few to read, and consider, but not necessarily take as “code.”
http://mashable.com/2008/11/17/twitter-community-donts/
http://www.startupstoryradio.com/twitter-policy-and-philosophy/

Lurking

Finally, feel free to begin as a "lurker." Find a good follow base and see what great things (and not so great things) people are tweeting, then jump in. People will begin to follow you--some real, and some advertisers. My most interesting follower was "One Breast" which was really a plastic surgery office in CA. I blocked the breast.


Enjoy….and if you can follow me @mindyglover

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