Love To Hear The Bloggers Goin’ Tweet Tweet Tweet

For a long time when mentioning Twitter in one of my This Week Month In SEO posts a comment usually accompanied the mention along the lines “I still don’t care what you’re doing right now.” A funny thing happened in the last few days. I began to care. I started tweeting a couple of days ago and am quickly getting addicted. I thought I’d share some of my early impressions of Twitter.

Twitter seemed rather pointless to me from the outside. I figured there would be a lot more noise than signal and perhaps if you’re following the general public there is going to be too much noise to wade through. On the other hand if you can use a little discretion when choosing who to follow you’ll find a lot more signal than you might think.

I’ve seen a number of posts over the months about Twitter and had signed up sometime awhile back, but a few recent posts convinced me to start tweeting.

It was probably the weight of all the posts I’ve seen in recent months, but they all reached a tipping point within the last week.

I’m only a few days into Twitter and won’t even pretend to be an expert. In fact I’m barely sure what I’m doing at the moment, though I am learning and I do see quite a bit of potential in microblogging.

Early Impressions of Twitter

In no particular order here are a few thoughts on why I might need to sign up for Twitters Anonymous before long.

  1. Easier to make connections – Something about the nature of the tweets removes a few barriers to networking. You don’t have to get someone to open your email. You can send a tweet directly @ them, though overusing this feature is surely a quick way to find yourself on the outside looking in. Tweeting also seems to be a good way to strengthen connections you made elsewhere.
  2. Listen in on the conversation – Even if you don’t manage to connect with some you can still listen in on their conversations. Sure it’s a bit voyeuristic. but it can also be a great source of learning.
  3. Quick feedback – It doesn’t take long for people to start responding to something you say. The feedback loop is very quick. Ideas you tweet can spread far in a short amount of time.
  4. 140 char limit – Forces you to remove needless words from your writing. For someone like me who tends to write very long posts, having to keep tweets brief will hopefully refine the style of my blogging voice in a positive way.
  5. Place to store random thoughts – A lot of random thoughts cross my mind during any given day. Most are long gone before I can make any use of them. Twitter offers a place to store and share your thoughts and the feedback loop above will give some clues about which of your ideas might spread and be well-received.
  6. Branding – It’s another place to get your message out. Anywhere you maintain a presence is another place to build your brand.
  7. Find information sooner – Twitter has a real time feel about it. Someone can share a thought and within a few seconds you can be acting on that thought. Being able to get to information a little sooner than everyone else has a lot of advantages.

Again it’s still new to me and each of the above points has likely already been said in more detail by someone other than me. Once I’ve gotten more used to how Twitter works I’ll be able to expand on some of the thoughts above. For now those are my quick and early impressions.

If you’re interested in learning more about Twitter I highly recommend Caroline Middlebrook’s Big Juicy Twitter Guide, which I read through last weekend. Caroline if you see this how about a PDF version of the guide?

Caroline has some great tips for using Twitter and links to a variety of tools you can use instead of having to go directly to the site. I chose to use the Twitbin extension for Firefox since I always have Firefox open. There are several other tools and you can also send and receive tweets from your phone via SMS.

Vanessa Fox has also written a great post complete with podcast with helpful advice and links to more resources.

My extremely quick guide is to simply sign up and start following some people you know or some people who you think will have interesting things to say. If you want to follow me you can find me at twitter.com/vangogh. I can’t claim to be the most interesting Twitterer to follow at the moment, but I will try to get there soon and if I know you I’ll gladly follow you back.

Andy’s list of 75+ Marketing gurus is a good place to look for more. The list has now passed 200 mark and counting. If that seems like too many people to find and follow try the tool Rob created at Seocracy to start following a lot of people at once. Thanks Rob.

I’m guessing my quick infatuation with Twitter will fade over time, but hopefully as it does I’ll have become a more mature Twitterer and will be contributing a lot more signal than noise.

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4 comments

  1. I’ve only been using Twitter for a few days so I won’t pretend to be an expert. I’ve also never really used IRC. I am getting addicted quickly to Twitter in just the few days.

    Mostly you’re listening in on other people’s thoughts. A lot of my tweets today revolved around the football games. Will your life be changed by having read them? Not at all, but you would know I was a football fan so you get to know me a little better. I think things like that help build closer relationships with people. There’s something very informal about it making ties a little stronger.

    People post links there as they’re reading. All you have to do is copy and paste the URL and add a word or two. It’s so easy that some things will be posted there before anywhere else.

    You get to see people with their guard down a little more and I’ve sent messages back and forth with people who might not have been so quick to talk to me in another medium.

    It’s very easy to use. Sign up and grab yourself one of the tools to follow along. I’m using Twitbin in my sidebar on Firefox, but there are a few others. Check Carline’s guide. I think it lists them all.

    In some ways it’s exactly what I thought it might be, but in other ways it’s completely different. It is fun, though.

  2. People do need to give Twitter a chance because too often people get the wrong idea when think “social.” And so social networking tools, like Twitter, get a bad rap! For me and my “network” it’s more about advancing our ideas. We are a group of progressive educators who try to get teachers and decision makers to think out of the box. Our circle uses Twitter, for example, to share examples of great teaching practices. We blog about these contantly and share great ideas. It is a non-linear effort to push people out of their comfort zone to teach students IN their comfort zone!

  3. Lee, I think many people are giving Twitter a chance, but I understand what you mean. For a long time I couldn’t see the use in it, but now Twhirl is one of the first programs I open each morning. It’s a great communication tool on many different levels.

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