Sep 10

Guide to Twitter

Twitter logoFor most Twitter newbies, Twitter is hard to grasp. This short guide quickly tells you what Twitter is and what’s not. It also tells you about some nice Twitter apps.

What is Twitter good for? Twitter is good for getting to talk to people, people you probably would never know or gain access to. Twitter is great for finding people with your same interests. Lastly Twitter allows you to join live conversations with people all over the world about any topic you like.

Understand Twitter as a huge party, you walk in, you don’t know anybody, but you want to make friends, so you listen to what other people talk, and jump in to the conversation. 

When you find someone interesting, you start following him. You are not required to follow anybody. 

What Twitter is not: Some people think of Twitter as another Facebook. This is totally wrong. Facebook is for your circle of friends. Normally your Facebook friends are your real life friends. You need to be authorized to be able to talk to somebody in Facebook. Not in Twitter. Facebook is a private party where only friends are invited. Twitter is a convention where you go to meet people.

So how do you start? Well, first off you go to Twitter and create an account. Using Twitter from Twitter’s website is ok, you will get the idea of how it works, but after a while you’ll feel it’s not enough. Why you ask? Well, Twitter is great, and using it from Twitter.com is good while you get the hang of it, but after a while you’ll want other features that are not present there, for one thing you may want to be able to use a URL shortener and analytics which are not available there.

Apps for Twitter: I like TweetDeck and Seesmic, but the one I truly recommend is HootSuite. HootSuite is web based and offers a lot of goodies, I am not going to go into detail, but features that I like are statistics, tabs, ability to save searches, schedule tweets, URL shortening, filtering and more. Use it and you’ll be pleased. 

Managing your Followers: How many people are you following? how many are following you back? Do you want to unfollow many people at the same time? Do you want to stop following whoever is not following you? There is a good app that helps you manage your followers, it is called MyTweeple is the best I’ve seen.

140 Characters? For some people this is not enough to say what they want to say. The solution to this problem is easy: create an account in Tumblr where you can post pictures, videos, and text, and configure it to post to twitter. There are other options like Kanvaso and Tweetlonger, but I don’t think they cut it.

Measure your Influence: Klout shows you how influencial you are in the Twitter world, it shows you where you are weak, strong and where you need to work to improve your reach.

Additional reading:
So you don’t get Twitter?
So how do you find people on Twitter?
Twittermania: 140+ More Twitter Tools!