Sunday, 3 January 2010

How I use Twitter

I'm an avid Twitter user, and have over the last few months become slightly addicted if I have to admit. I think it's one of those good addictions however, as it has given me an opportunity to learn more, be inspired, network with some great people and share my thoughts and work.

I get a lot of questions about Twitter on a regular basis. Like: Who wants to know what someone you barely know had for dinner? Isn't it just full of teenagers? I don't know how to get any useful information out of it? But I don't have anything interesting to say? If you are asking any of these questions, you obviously haven't had my "Twitter" talk or taken enough time to look at what the benefits could be. So I thought I'd share some thoughts on why Twitter is working for me :)


1. I USE TWEETDECK to structure how I read information. It helps me be involved in the conversations and knowledge sharing I find interesting and useful.

* These are typical things I like to read on Twitter:
- See what friends and family are up to
- Be inspired by other photographers work and thoughts
- Stay informed of web 2.0 updates
- Keep up to date what my favorite musicians are up to
- News updates (I follow newspapers/TV News channels)
- Follow my favorite magazines to see what they are writing about
- Find models, make up artists and stylists to collaborate with
- Find other things that inspire me
- Have fun

* This is what I like to share:
- Personal thoughts and things that inspire me
- Showcase my photography
- Share useful hints and tips I may have
- Re-tweet interesting posts from others I follow
- Ask questions if I need help (some of my followers are bound to know something about it)

* Some things I find awesome about TweetDeck are:
- I can create groups and add the users I want to make sure I keep up to date with their Tweets. I have groups such as: Photographers, Models, Web 2.0, Bloggers, News, Magazines, Music.
- It enables me to see Direct Messages and Mentions from all the accounts I manage in one place
- I can set up Searches, to see what gets posted on Twitter for specific keywords. For instance "Ben Adams".
- I can easily post or reply to a Tweet from any of my accounts
- I can search and narrow down posts for keywords, questions posted, posts from a specific users, links etc easily, to find information quicker that I might be interested in
- I can automatically shorten URLs


2. BUILD UP QUALITY FOLLOWERSs - I'm starting to get quite a few followers. These are followers I have built up over the few months I have been using it. I either follow people I find interesting and think have something valuable to share, or people that follow me that I want to connect back with. In general I follow most users who follow me to thank them for doing so, and enable them to send me a Direct Message should they want to. The only people I don't follow back are users that are a) spammers, b) don't tweet, c) are obviously just trying to sell me something and not interested in communicating and reading what I have to say or 4) tweets in a language I don't understand. I don't add people just to add people so they will follow me back. I prefer quality over quantity.

3. SELF PROMOTION IS OK AS LONG AS YOU ALSO HELP PROMOTE OTHERS - A lot of people on Twitter do a lot of shameless self promotion. I think this is fine as long as you don't overdo it and also share other information, including helping promoting others. That's what makes it a community. For me it has to be a two way thing. Give some, take some. We all learn something.

4. GET INVOLVED IN CONVERSATIONS - I am not a fan of people who are too arrogant to get involved in conversations and respond to people. Why should I help promote you if you are not willing to talk to me back? I find it quite arrogant. Unless it's a user that has 20,000 followers and obviously don't have time to answer all their mentions. Twitter is a great place to share information and learn/be inspired by others.

5. RE-TWEET OTHERS POSTS - I always make a point of re-tweeting other people's tweets that I want to share with my followers. As much as I believe people like to hear about my thoughts and what I do, I think if I can share useful information others post as well it will be even more beneficial for my followers to follow me.

6. DON'T HAVE LONG PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS IN PUBLIC - I find this mostly gets very boring to watch, and quickly move people out of my TweetDeck groups if there's a lot of private conversations going on that is not interesting to me. It means that I have to scan through too much information that isn't adding any value to me. Personally if I find the conversations get a bit long, I move them to Direct Messaging. I do think it's good to respond to people in public if it's information I think other people might enjoy seeing or to help expose the Tweeter so they might get more followers if they were kind enough to mention me.

7. SAY THANK YOU - It's nice to be polite. People like that. I like that. I try to thank people that re-tweet my posts and mentions me on FollowFriday.

8. RESPOND TO PEOPLE - I try to respond to as many of my mentions as I can, if it's one that is a question or someone commenting on something I shared.

9. DON'T CHEAT - I have noticed that some people add me just so I follow them, and then unfollow me again, so it looks like they have a lot of followers. They obviously don't have any interest in what I have to say. These people I unfollow as soon as I notice using Friend or Follow. Great tool for seeing who just added you for selfish reasons and who is following you that you may have forgotten to follow back.

10. POST REGULAR UPDATES WITHOUT CREATING OVERFLOW - I try to keep my tweets between 5-10 a day. I want to make sure I post regular updates to share useful info with my followers, but I at the same time don't want to post too much as it can get annoying or people don't get to focus on the information I posted that day already.

All the above has helped me build my own Twitter community and built my followers and who I follow.

You can follow me at CecilieNH, see you on Twitter :)


Anonymous said...

Loved your tips. I also use TweetDeck and find it a very good way to organize the info that I may be interested in, and we can keep doing other stuff at computer, answer the replies without having to refresh the page.Glad that you took time to write this and looking forward to read more blogs from you . xx

Ana said...

Ps. i forgot to post my name in the last comment: Ana Miranda

Anonymous said...

Regarding that you find it arrogant when people don't reply to tweets or mentions etc... the guys from all our (of course) fave band a1 never reply :( And they don't have 20.000 followers! Well, they do have a looooooot of followers and probably a aloooooooooot of people tweet them, but still! They could reply to a few more than they do... don't you agree? (maybe you who are working with them could let them know there have been complaints :p)

Cecilie Harris said...

Actually the a1 boys do respond to tweets every now and then, although it's not as often as they'd like to due to their busy schedule. I know they try to read all the responds they get and appreciate all the support.

I probably should have included in my blog that I don't expect people with a super busy time schedule to have too much time to respond either. My thought when I was writing it was references to people that do have time, but don't do it :)

Keith Clouston said...

Really found the blog handy.
Great post! :)

Cecilie Harris said...

Glad my ramblings could be useful Keith. Hope you are well :)

Faye (AdamsAddictsxo) said...

I do tweet a LOT and feel quite guilty because it can get annoying...the only reason I do it is because I have so much to say and find too much time on my hands. :p But anyway, great tips :) x

Kyle said...

Thank you SO much for this tip about TweetDeck. I am going to try and get it up and running right away...that is my problem with Twitter, I don't know how to keep it organized and the sheer amount of information just overwhelms.

Cecilie Harris said...

Faye - we all have our guilty pleasures :). If you move some of your private conversations to DM, you'll still be able to have them, but everyone else won't see them. We all have different preferences on how we like to do things.

Kyle - let me know how you find TweetDeck when you get it up and running! It's really simple to set up :)