As I said in my last post, I think the reason a lot of people don’t “get” Twitter is because they don’t get involved. So following are a few tips to hopefully help new Twitter users (and old ones, too) get involved.
Follow people. This one *may* seem obvious, but if you only follow 5 people, you aren’t really going to get a lot of value out of Twitter. Someone compared Twitter to a giant cocktail party. The more people there, the more conversations you can listen to or get involved in. A cocktail party with only five people doesn’t offer a lot of variety.
Follow good people. I see lots of people follow loads of celebrities. Fine, I guess, if that’s your thing. I personally don’t get it. I am a runner and a Lotus Developer. I follow lots of runners and lots of Lotus people. I started with a few Lotus people, then saw who they were following. I clicked on profiles and if I liked what someone was saying, then I followed them. Over time, if someone didn’t tweet a lot, or just wasn’t interesting me, I unfollowed them.
Don’t follow too many people. If you’re just starting and you follow 500 people, you’re head will explode. There are services out there for bulk following, but I don’t recommend that unless you’re going to market a product, or have recently quit your job and have nothing better to do than keep up with Twitter. There are a couple of services that recommend people to follow, like Mr. Tweet, and I think those can be useful.
Learn the lingo. Learn how Twitter works. This is a very basic video showing how to get started. You need to understand “replies”, “mentions”, “DMs” and some other lingo and how it works. Google is your friend.
Get a good client. The web interface just isn’t that great. It’s simple and workable, but a lot of the complaints that people have with Twitter are easily handled in a good client. I like Tweetdeck for my desktop (I have a PC, I hear loads of people like Tweetie for Mac) and Ubertwitter for my Blackberry.
Now to address some complaints (chiefly the ones from Rob’s linked post in my last entry, but they are common, so I’m addressing them):
No unread marks – The answer to this is to get a good client that maintains unread marks for you. I personally, am not bothered by this, but I see how one could be.
People say inane things – Really? I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but that isn’t limited to Twitter. And seriously, if the “I’ve just gone the bathroom” example tweet is used one more time, I’m going to have to tweet that “I’m throwing up”. I have NEVER seen tweets about *that*. Yes, there are inane tweets, but there are inane Facebook status updates and inane emails and inane blog posts and inane posterous posts and …
Disjointed conversations – I’m sticking with the cocktail party analogy. That’s actually what I like about it, incidentally, if someone is boring me, I just don’t follow that conversation, and can easily jump in (butt in) to another one.
And now in all fairness, I present to you 25 Ways To Be A Total Tool on Twitter (and YES, I have done some of these)…