What is Twitter, exactly? Twitter is the ‘status line’ you find on Facebook and on MySpace – but taken to whole new level. Right now you’re pretty much using the status line to be funny, make snide remarks, or just to tell everyone that you’ve just gotten back from the grocery store. All these things are good when you’re just interacting with friends and family.
From a friends and family standpoint, twitter allows you to update your Facebook, MySpace, and Pownce status (among others) from anywhere – like via your phone. Instead of waiting to get home to update your status, send a text message to Twitter while you’re at the grocery store and it’ll do it for you. That’s the level 1 beginner stuff.
But that’s just the tip. . . as they say. Twitter, for me, is a business tool. It’s used by hundreds of thousands of people looking to become smarter at what they do. Get a Twitter account and ‘follow me’. Once you’ve got your account and are logged in go to www.twitter.com/danrmorris and click “follow” under my picture. Then look at the people I am following, a marketing guy at Google, CEO’s of a bunch of small companies, internet marketing millionaires and other internet marketers in my field. I see what they’re talking about all day long.
Then register yourself at Twollo. This is a service that will track conversations for you. Are you looking to become the next internet marketing millionaire? Then tell Twollo you want to follow internet marketing conversations and keep up with the pro’s. The marketing guy at Google might put a link to an article he just wrote, or an article he just read. The finance guys talk about the economy and include links to great YouTube Videos and other Digg articles. I follow Nutraceutical people to see what’s new in health and wellness, to keep up with our OPC Factor business. If you want to stay abreast – get an account and search out everyone in your industry. What are they talking about? What are they reading? Who are they following? Follow them all. Follow your competitors (which you can do by searching for them first on LinkedIn and then on search.twitter.com, by the way).
Suppose you’re looking to put yourself in a leadership position and plan to use twitter to provide useful information to people. Maybe you’re a tech guy and you’ve got lots of tips on installing a home theatre system. Well, come up with a “hash tag” and put it in every one of your posts. A hash tag is the pound sign followed by some letters of your choosing, like #iht (for installing home theatres). Then, when you meet people who are truly interested in installing a home theatre, tell them to go to search.twitter.com and search for #iht. The results will be all the tips you provided on installing home theatres. That’s value.
Following people to learn is one thing – a very important and useful thing. But don’t forget what Perry Belcher says in the meantime. Don’t be a nuisance and reply just to reply. Don’t become a typical used car salesman. Twitter is a chance to absorb what others have learned and to share a little of yourself. It’s a water cooler, a bar stool, a park bench. Twitter is a chance to interact socially with people. Be as much a friend of Twitter as you find from it.