I’ve had a number of new followers on Twitter over the last few weeks, and while I’m flattered that people are so interested in what I have to say, I’m also intrigued by how many people are new to Twitter and probably still scratching their heads trying to figure it out.
While I’ve seen quite a few blog posts on how (and why) to use Twitter (like this one published by Conversation Agent; this guide to Twitter on Mashable; and this piece in the New York Times that suggests ‘Twitter is what you make it’), the one thing that I think is lacking are some simple suggestions for newbies on how to get started.
So here’s my crack at a guide to ‘Getting started with your Twitter addiction’:
- Start following some interesting people (this ‘list of lists’ might be a good starting point to figure out who to follow)
- Keep tabs on what the people you follow have to say, how they say it, and how they interact with others (there is no perfect way to tweet, but if you follow some of the right people, you can learn a lot)
- Engage in conversation by replying to a tweet. Of course, only reply if you have something interesting to say or can add some value to what has already been said… don’t just hit reply for the sake of making your presence known (that’s just annoying!)
- When it comes to your own tweets, please know that your followers aren’t really interested in what you ate for breakfast. Here are some of the things we would like to see in your tweet stream: A link to an interesting article; some thoughts on current affairs; details on an exciting new project, etc. You get the picture. And of course, once you’re more comfortable with Twitter, we’ll expect to see your tweet stream evolve.
- When you see an interesting post, you can also retweet [RT] it. It’s a great way to share interesting thoughts, concepts and links with your followers.
- You can also participate in some of the moderated chats that take place during the week. These types of chats are a great place to meet people with similar interests and of course, engage in conversation. For example, #journchat is a weekly (Mon 7-10pm CST) conversation between journalists, bloggers and PR folks. Other chats that I’ve seen include #journ2journ, #GNO and I’m sure there are many others.
While my quick guide is by no means extensive, I hope it’s at least a starting point for some of you who are new to Twitter. And of course, I’d love to hear some other ideas you may have. You may even want to tweet them!
~ Jodi Echakowitz (Twitter: JodiEchakowitz)