Social Networking 101: Getting Twitter

  

twitter

If you aren't an addict yet, you will be. That's what one of my Twitter friends, Ron Graham, said when I asked on my Facebook page what people thought about Twitter. And as northstate friend Erin Friedman indicated, Twitter prompts you to be clever, clear, and concise, which gives you a good intellectual workout.

It's amazing how Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook intertwine. You interact with friends on one network just to bump into them on another. Compare it to going to the grocery store and seeing a friend, then going for a cup of coffee across town just to see the same friend again. An interesting trust and understanding builds as you intersect in different places. And business begins to happen.

I have written about Facebook and LinkedIn, but Twitter has surprisingly stopped me cold in my tracks.  Why? On the surface, it seems so basic. When you start analyzing it, it gets more complicated quickly. Trying to put it into words has stumped me but it's time to get it done! Drum roll, please!

Twitter. 140 characters. That is the maximum length of one Tweet. Yes, you can go shorter but you cannot go longer. Those 140 characters were chosen to match the maximum allowed number of characters of 160 on SMS (text) messages on any phone PLUS your "handle" (User Name), which in itself can't be more than 20 characters.

WHAT could you possibly convey in 140 characters that matters over and over? You'd be so surprised at how clever you can get.

My business, Moving Links 4 You, was started because of social media taking off. I took a social online media course in May and it was at that point that I began to realize the potential power of those 140 characters. You have seen the tiny url's, I'm sure. Well, they are highly effective for Twitter. Tweets can open up doors in the most surprising ways. Whether it's just to bounce ideas off of all kinds of people via direct messages or find people with who need your services or you, theirs ...

What helped convince me that Twitter is somewhat magical was when I read Mark Stelzner's Twitter blogpost (he's another northern Californian) regarding how Twitter has helped him. He has earned substantial contracts via 140-character (or less) Tweets. Naturally, his firm is thrilled. They have seen good results, so don't write off this social media network too quickly. Your business MAY and can have a big opportunity via Twitter.

Remember that for every follower you have, there are thousands behind that person and the 6 degrees of separation shrinks. At this stage, I think I am no more than 2 degrees separated from any human being on this planet ... thanks to social media.

Twitter has grown to 100 million users as of mid-summer 2010. Professionals are keen fans of Twitter.  40% of the users are within the U.S. and 60% are outside the U.S. That gives it a huge global presence. When you Tweet, you are effectively in touch with the world.

There are, on average, 750 TPS (tweets per second) and 65 million TPD. (tweets per day). That is, unless something like World Cup Soccer is on. Then watch that volume rise substantially.

Where do you SEE tweeting taking place? I have been asked this question more than once by those who haven't gotten started. Start by signing up for Twitter. Here is what my Twitter page looks like: ReloMary. I can see my Tweets here on my profile page and can see the Tweets of my followers on the homepage on my site. However, to have a better overview, I installed TweetDeck, where I can follow my direct messages and follow others I am interested in, too, all in one screen. It shows up in columns. Oh, and because I love photography, I use TwitPic to upload pictures. These make great links to add to Tweets.

There are new applications all the time. The Twitter Blog is a good place for you to keep up with happenings.

The real power of Twitter lies in its real-time search. It will evolve and morph but it is here to stay in one shape or form, I have no doubt. One of the things that expands its abilities are the Twitter applications people are inventing to propel it forward. Here's a list of 275 Twitter apps.

2010 has shown a lot of changes already on LinkedIN and Facebook. Twitter will be no different. We're really in the infancy of social media. Did you realize Ben & Jerry's, of ice cream fame, has dropped email as of July, 2010, and will use Facebook and Twitter to communicate with its people?

If you are in business, Twitter may be a great tool to learn about. It is at least worth investigating so you understand it's not going away. One of the reasons I like it is adding my blogpost URLs to spread my blog to a broader audience and increase search-engine optimization. Realize that 100 million people wouldn't have jumped on board if there was no value. Consider this article the 140-character read on Twitter, with links, to begin expanding the possibilities for you.

The social media craze has prompted a new line of work for some. There is an entirely new industry for helping folks and businesses understand social media. There are two I would like to introduce you to ...

Sahar Andrade, a Southern Californian I've become friends with via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, is an amazing gal who helps businesses make sense of social media for their companies. I think Sahar is an excellent person for companies to talk to regarding their social media goals to help get on a track that will work for them.

Another, but from the other side of the pond, is my good friend Simon Hamer. He is the Visibility Extremist who has helped me increase my Twitter followers. He is well versed on how to do this and is available to you should you want some help in this department.

Oh, and guess what? I just signed up for SocialOomph while writing this. I was checking various websites and decided I need this to help simplify. I continue to learn, grow and get organized. Follow me and see what my auto response is to you. Plug your ears!

I also invite you to click on the Sundial Film Festival Twitter page to follow Redding, CA's Sundial Film Festival, which happens in March.

This is one very easy way to broadcast messages far and wide. There are those who use it to talk about things that do not matter, but then there are those who talk about brilliant things. Twitter is connecting our own neighborhoods with those across the globe. Again, as Erin Friedman aid, Twitter prompts you to be clever, clear, and concise, which gives you a good intellectual workout.

See you on Twitter!!

mary-lascelles

Mary Lascelles, aka ReloMary (keyword: ReloMary), is owner of Moving Links 4 You, an online relocation service. 
530.515.6299  relomary@movinglinks4you.com

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment.

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21 Responses »

  1. I experimented using Twitter instead of Google to search keywords and was pleasantly surprised to find the most up-to-date info on my specific keyword. It made blogging a breeze for a topic I was researching.

    Tweetdeck: love it for posting my Tweets but wow, it's a time-sucker and a distraction if you're not careful!

    Mary, have you signed up for Mashable.com's daily newsletter? They post the very latest happenings in social media in a daily email.... headline links like <a href="http://mashable.com/2010/08/25/google-voice-phone-booth/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Mashable+%28Mashable%29&quot; rel="nofollow">Google Voice Telephone Booths Coming to an Airport or College Near You ... stuff you have to have with your morning cup of coffee (after NewsCafe, of course).

    Renee Harris

    Cottonwood, CA

    Twitter newbie username: @hardlotion

  2. Thanx for the bread crumb trail...

  3. I guarantee you that there are millions of people living in tiny villages in remote places who are a lot more than 2 degrees away from even setting eyes on a computer, or even electricity.

  4. Nice piece. I will definitely Tweet about it. =)

    RE good intellectual workout -- touches on a very important reason why everyone can benefit from using twitter. The ability to communicate a message in 140 characters or less will become increasingly important in this globally connected world.

    Currently there are 6 Billion people on Earth AND there are 4 Billion twitter ready devices in use - computers connected to the Internet and cell phones.

    When I train people to use twitter, I state up front that roughly 90% of twitter content is crap and I encourage newbies to seek out the influential tweeters who contribute the other 10%. That's when you understand the power of global grassroots communication at the speed of light.

    I have a twitter basics presentation that many have found useful when they first jump into the collective genius pool of the Internet - aka twitter. Twitter Basics

    Twitter ethnographer - @AmyStark

  5. I don't know about clever, clear and concise... but you can tweet with me... PhilToonist (my Twitter account)... I'm on FB and LinkdIn as well... everybody welcome!!!

  6. God Bless you Mary! Perfect timing for me. I had recently started blogging and found that I was quickly joining the social network world...only I had no idea where to start. I just wrote about Twitter and the confusion I was feeling yesterday! http://nostarbucksfor100.blogspot.com

    I love the new direction that social networking is taking, but learning it can be quite a challenge. Thank you for simplifying things for me! Anxious to learn more from your links!

  7. I'm sitting on the patio....

  8. Hello,

    as a social entrepreneur, I love the fact that twitter connects me with like-minded professionals and folks who are passionate about what I'm passionate about.

    At first, I didn't think Twitter was all that, until I got into it. And you are right, twitter is very addictive: but it is the right kind of addiction because you learn so much...twitter is great to be entertained (and I will take a break once in a while) but mostly it is a great educator and teacher and I've learned so much in a short amount of time (it's priceless)...twitter connects me to resources I would'nt taken much longer to find, resources that really help my business and my online presence.

    I was able to connect with professionals I wouldn't have met with my schedule.

    Linkedin and Facebook are great but Twitter really gets the prize in my eyes...I think it is just the efficiency and the reach that twitter has that makes it so superior:

    you connect with millions through the strength of your message, what you talk about is what makes you relevant...and that is absolutely powerful!

    Thanks for this great article about twitter...it will keep rising!

  9. Great article...thanks for some good information Mary! I enjoy Facebook & Twitter....and as a friend of mine said it's like an old fashioned front porch....you get to keep up with everyone in your neighborhood. However, in this era our "front porches" have extended nationally and internationally!

    I'd like to meet more of my "neighbors"....
    twitter account is....tea4kate
    and my Facebook is tea4kate.com

    Take care and have a tea-riffic weekend everyone!

    Kate

  10. This is just what I was hoping for - more input on my Twitter piece - and keep it coming. On the surface it seems crazy and a time waster - but there is so much to it and lots more to learn. ~Mary

  11. Mary -
    I first started using Twitter a few years back. I created an account for a really odd reason -- I wanted to practice my Media/PR sound blips. Before twitter, I had a really hard time -- now, I'm much better!

    Why Twitter is Beneficial to Me Now
    -- Everything that people have mentioned in their comments above.
    -- I have met people in my local community that have similar interests
    -- I have met joint venture partners
    -- I have met fabulous people that I interview in my various teleclass series
    -- I have networked extensively with other productivity consultants and organization specialists. This has resulted in a few new projects and new products
    -- I have referred business to colleagues
    -- I have talked to my child's teacher real time
    -- I have increased traffic to my site and various blogs and articles
    -- I have had media people (radio, magazine, blog talk radio, newspapers) find me and interview me
    -- I have had teleclass leaders find me and ask to interview me
    -- I get up-to-date news about the formal and not-so-formal things going on in my local area --- the coverage is way better than our local paper.
    -- I follow the experts that I want to learn from and can get all of their best stuff in one reader

    Whew! I'm sure there is more or will be more in the future, but what a list.

    I also use socialoomph for a while now and really love the flexibility it gives me to be consistent and productive in my tweets. I can share great information with my "tweeple" on autopilot -- this leaves more time for me to focus on building relationships. Here is a post I wrote on the tool that you might be interested in:

    Automated Delegation - Good or Bad? Answer: Both! It depends on how you implement. http://bit.ly/cQZ8se

    One word of caution, however, Twitter continues to update and change their user rules. They are getting more and more strict about the use of automated tools. If you are not sure, read their guidelines or ask me and I'd be happy to help.
    To your success!
    Steph

    Wow. It has become so much more than what I had originally thought.

  12. Hey Mary:
    Great piece. Thank you for the mention. What I love about Twitter is its real time search, a couple of times when we had tiny earthquakes on S. CA before even it was on TV you would have all informations on Twitter.
    I also like the viral effect that give some tweets/ news a life on their own. As a SM strategist, I use LI/ FB and Twitter each in a different way, with different strategy, as I am trying to reach/ accomplish different audiences/ goals on the the 3 major SM networks.
    Great article Mary. And I did #FF you today since it is Friday
    Have a great Weekend
    Sahar Andrade

    • I hear you, Sahar - see you here, there, and everywhere. We have totally different jobs in life but keep crossing paths. I like that since I work with all types of folks in my own business - and love to learn from a diverse group. Interesting that you are a diversity coach, Sahar! :-D

  13. Perfect timing! I joined Twitter on August 10 and have become addicted. The third day I was on Twitter I followed a conference that was both live and tweeted. (It was supposed to stream as video, too; but 1200 people tried to log in, not the 200 they were expecting, and the video crashed. So everyone came over to Twitter.) I was glued to my computer screen for almost five hours. Later somebody posted stats: 1,500 participants (active, not lurkers) and over 5,500 tweets! But wow, did it ever give me interesting people to follow.

    One of the first things I liked about Twitter is how easy it is to participate. You can follow just about anyone and they can follow you back--but it's unidirectional, so you don't need permission. (I can still block the few spammers who have tried to follow me, though.) You can just jump right in.

    It's challenging for someone with a BA in English who remembers when instructors would specify a minimum number of pages for a term paper. Think writing 12 pages is tough? Try saying something worthwhile in 140 characters. (Actually, keep it to 120 or less so that nothing gets lost if your message is re-tweeted!)

    My biggest problem has been juggling multiple streams--people I'm following, lists I've created, and hashtags. I've been trying out HootSuite and TwitterChat and so far it's manageable but sometimes a bit overwhelming.

    Not that I'm complaining. This chick has learned to tweet!

    @Karen5Lund

  14. Thanks Mary.

    Socia media is fun and should remain that way. http://fcinf.com/v/bksy brag a little to show having fun works.

    • Simon, you are THE Visibility Extremist - after all! :-D I love that my virtual friends - who I look forward to meeting - are showing up here.

  15. Mary,

    Loved your post! I was born and raised in Red Bluff, but until about a month ago, had never heard of anewscafe. pretty much addicted now!

    I saw a few people in the comments who I follow. I follow you too! So, now that I am starting to see more and more people from Red Bluff north getting onto twitter.... Lets schedule a tweetup! it is far past due!

    Also, CARS California Auto Repair and Smog will be hosting a social media meet & greet on Sept 14th at 5:30pm. No cost to attend and we would love to see everyone in the social media world here in NorCal attend. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

    Justin Iiams
    @justiniiams/@smbutterflies

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