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Posted by Sucharita Mulpuru on April 7, 2009
[Posted by Sucharita Mulpuru]
I just don’t get Facebook. I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m no social networking guru like some of my colleagues, but I’ve heard it described as cheap entertainment, a procrastinator’s best friend. That may be so, but I still don’t get it—there are too many people announcing they’re waiting for Chinese food to be delivered, or that they just showered. If I’m going to procrastinate, I want to at least learn something. In that way, Twitter is different. Here’s how I got hooked:
It’s my RSS feed. Some of the most active Twitterers are my preferred news sources—The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The New York Times. Twitter is like having the ticker at the bottom of a CNN broadcast throughout your web experience—constantly keeping you informed, telling you things you may not otherwise know. My job as an analyst is to be informed, and Twitter helps me be that.
The random celebrities. Ok, I take back what I said about Chinese food earlier. When Lance Armstrong orders it, it’s far more interesting. And there are all sorts of people—Martha Stewart, Shaquille O’Neal, Emeril Lagasse, Steve Case—who tweet regularly and I’d rather get breakfast cereal updates from them than from most of the people in my Facebook network.
It’s permission-based. Probably the best thing about Twitter, unlike other social networks, is that you can follow anyone you want, and they can choose whether or not they want to follow you. So, if you don’t like someone’s tweets, you can stop following, or qwit, them in one click. Same goes for subscribing to tweets—I don’t need to wait for someone to accept my “friend” request in order follow
If you’re an eBusiness executive, my advice is that Twitter can be a great way to hear the buzz about you and talk directly to your customers. I’ll be researching how Twitter helps eCommerce companies in the months to come. Share any thoughts with me on Twitter, natch: www.twitter.com/smulpuru
Some tips I learned:
Tweet regularly.My favorite Twitterers tweet at least daily, if not more frequently.
Tweet interesting things. Companies like Etsy, Woot and Amazon tweet special daily offers and new site features. Women’s Wear Daily has its journalists tweeting anytime they see something interesting.
Be creative about who tweets for you.Many companies enable their employees to tweet on their behalf, but my personal favorite corporate Twitterer is the eTrade Baby.
Twitter apps are mixed. Twitter only has about 30 employees so don’t be dismayed by the lame UI or the slow servers. Lots of Twitter users seem to like Tweetdeck but, like Facebook, it’s a little clunky and something else I don’t quite get.
You’ll need a URL shortener. Twitter is about sharing other interesting links on the web but since you only have 140 characters, go to TinyURL.com or Bit.ly to truncate links to news articles or web destinations you find interesting.
Google’s search is way better than Twitters. Twitter is much better for streaming news than finding information, but if you do want to search Twitter, search.twitter.com is where you need to go.
Read this post by Kevin Rose. It's about how you can get more Twitter followers--spoken by a guy who has a few hundred thousand himself. Also, this piece is good for learning about the protocols around reposting tweets, replying to other tweets, etc.