How to really use Twitter

Dec 17 2008

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Okay, so you’ve signed up for a Twitter account, and maybe posted a few times. How do you move to the next level?

Here are some suggestions for improving your Twitter experience:

  • Go to the Everyone stream. See who’s talking, and about what.
  • More importantly, see what catches your attention. Observe effective use of 140 characters, so you’ll know how to tweet more effectively.
  • Look at who’s popular on Twitter (via Twitterholic). Read their tweets. You probably won’t want to follow all of them, but they are popular for a reason. I follow about half of them, for whatever that’s worth.
  • Get on Twitter frequently. It’s really most effective when you can check it several times a day, at least. Fortunately, this doesn’t take long.
  • Check your @Replies often. While you’re away, someone might reply to you about something you tweeted yesterday, and you may not see it in your regular stream.
  • Check your DMs (direct messages) often. See above. Also, DMs function more like email, and they’re very easy to miss.
  • Post original content. This is a personal peeve; I see folks whose stream consists entirely of “@gozo Yeah, and you know what that means” and “@hiroyuki Oh, I know it!” Little real content. Instead, as you’re browsing the web, tweet about the websites you’re reading. And as you sit down to your computer and load up Twitter, think about what you’ve been doing, and tweet about that.
  • Look into an aggregator application, like Twhirl, TweetDeck, or PeopleBrowsr. These will show all your feeds (including @Replies and DMs) on one screen, making it much easier to notice important topics.

But above all, don’t go too nuts. Twitter’s fun and useful, but it’s not a place to spend your entire day. It’s only Ones and 0s.

Hope this helps.

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