I have to confess, I still haven’t gotten into Twitter. My Facebook addiction is bad enough. I fear that if I add Twitter to my arsenal of time-wasting technology tools, I will never finish a book chapter or blog post again. Nevertheless, Twitter is white hot. Its chief advantage is being able to meet up with colleagues or friends in the real world after Twitter has informed you that they’re presently nearby. Everybody’s doing it, and if you’re new, you might find these suggestions from Shel Israel helpful:
- Show yourself. Scroll through some pages and see what catches your eye. Use a real photo, and if you have a blog or website, link to it. Under bio, say something about what you are really about. Saying your location is on iPhone is overused and unhelpful to someone deciding to follow you or not.
- Read first. Start by reading what others have to say. Get a sense of the rhythm of Twitterville conversations before you join in. Wait until you have something useful or interesting to add to the conversation.
- Celebrities don't count. You can always start by getting followed by a few celebrity Tweeters like Scoble, Calacanis and Loic. But they give you no credibility at all because they simply follow everyone. Their purpose is to be a new media star and it works well for them.
- Post before you follow strangers. Take a few days and post a few thoughts on subjects you want to discuss on Twitter. It can be work, play, news, sports, or music. People will learn what you are about and can decide to follow you because they share something in common with you.
- Avoid spammer stats. The worst thing you can do is have stats that show you follow 149 people and 4 people follow you. Spammer stats mean that you chose to follow a bunch of people but revealed so little of yourself, that no one wanted to follow you back. Fix this by going slower and posting tweets that let others know about you.
- Have favorites. Notice the little star icon to the right of each tweet, and use it to make that post a "favorite." Favorites show your sense of humor and your passion points.
- Take your time. Twitterville works like any other neighborhood. People start by chatting about the weather or lunch. Sometimes the conversation goes nowhere, tapering off into cyberspace. Other times, the conversation deepens and evolves into a real friendship or a business opportunity. If you push too aggressively, people may respond to you in the same way they do the loudmouth at the party. They walk away and talk in circles that do not include you.