Do you ever feel like technology is leaving you behind? I can be pretty hip and in the know (or at least I like to think so), but I’m not really so sure about the whole Twitter thing. Seems to be taking over so I’ve decided to just jump on in and pretend like it all makes sense. Honestly, I just recently started utilizing the text feature on my phone (ok, maybe in the know but not so hip), and only with a few select friends, it’s hard to imagine myself texting on the micro-blog format that is Twitter. I do have a Twitter account, and I have posted, but my posts never seem to be that relevant and I sometimes worry that my small amount of followers might actually drive people away. Does this sound familiar to anyone else? I can’t be the only one having trouble embracing what seems to be an amazing marketing tool when utilized correctly.
I set out to do some research. The only thing I’m clearly sure of right now is that I still don’t get Twitter, but I’m willing to give it a try. A test run so to speak. I found several resources that do a nice job of explaning how to use Twitter – my favorite is this one – clear, concise and not too long – Tweeternet. I also liked the Twitter Handbook. And of course there is always Twitter itself – and it’s very informative Frequently Asked Questions section – the FAQ.
After reading through these resources I at least had a better idea of what Twitter is, and maybe what it isn’t. I think like many people, I had the misconception that it was one more way to keep in touch with people. Between the blogging, forums, chatting and texting, I didn’t really feel like I needed to be more in touch. But after just a short time I think I’m beginning to appreciate Twitter. I’m seeing it more like headline news, clearly not the Wall Street Journal, but more like USA Today – quick sound bytes that almost anyone can digest and decide if they want to dig in and read more. Yes, there is some keeping in touch amidst the headlines, but that is clearly secondary to getting the word out there – whatever that word may be. So the challenge becomes finding people that will give you the soundbytes you need while also providing people with information that they can use. That information might come from your own offerings, or it might come from tweets that have come your way.
I found this great online “Twictionary” which helps explain some of the terminology that crops up in Twitter. The RT tag, means you are re-tweeting, or posting content that another user already posted. RT’s are posted with the users name and when you post a users name you put the @ symbol in front. A hash mark in front of something is a way of referring to an organized term or “movement” of sorts on Twitter. When groups use the hash mark it makes it easier to track a subject or find information about a topic. For instance, #followfriday is when you mention other Tweeters that you think are worth taking a look at or are interesting.
I found that just in a weekend of going through and finding some more users that I wanted to follow, I ended up with about 5 or 6 more followers myself. As my list of following grows though, it does get a bit more difficult to sort of keep track of everything, but at the same time I have gleaned useful information from reading through the tweets. My next step is to get a better handle on what I might tweet about, while at the same time trying to grow my list of followers.