February 9, 2009 | Posted by: Lee
Seems that many conversations I'm in today are all a twitter about Twitter (pun intended). I find that most people have heard about it, some have an idea what it is, and less are actually using it.
I'm a geeky social media freak who's been playing around with it for a while, mostly because my even geekier technical team here at EB showed it to me.
For those of you using it, I'd be interested in how you find it most helpful. For those of you who don't, here's my 2 cents (in Twitter style - 140 characters at a time).
It's IM on steroids or a teeny tiny blog with a bazillion writers.
Twitter is a microblog. That means you can only type up to 140 characters at any one time.
You "follow" people, which means you see whatever they type. If you have an account, people can also follow you and see what you type.
Each twitter "address" starts with @. (e.g., @lerickson). You also have a photo. When you tweet, people see your photo and what you type.
You can @reply, which means you are directing your tweet back to a specific person. Anyone who follows you can see your @reply.
You can also direct message someone. Only that person will see your direct message.
It's all about what you're doing.
Twitter is intended to allow people to listen in to what you're up to. Basically follow you throughout your day.
There are Twitters who tweet about everything they do. And there are those who tweet mostly about the latest events or news in their industry.
There are also people whose only objective is to get as many followers as possible and those trying to sell you stuff.
Who hangs out on Twitter?
I find that a lot of journalists, experts, vendors, and IT people hang out on Twitter. Oh, and of course social media freaks.
I follow people who share my interests and who tweet mostly about relevant, interesting content around those interests.I find people who include links to other sites, news stories, or latest expert advice to be the most helpful.
You often hear it first on Twitter.
I don't have to do all the searching. People filter through everything and point me to most important stuff.
I've found speakers for EB events, been offered discounts to switch to a competitor's solution, and found great stories to blog about.
I feel connected to a larger pool of experts.
Slice and dice followers to help make it manageable.
Following a bunch of people can be overwhelming. I use TweetDeck to sort by "best content" and by subject areas to help scan tweets better.
When I'm in a hurry I scan the best content, then later go back and see what others have said.
If I'm looking for advice or expertise on a specific topic, I look for tweets with specific words. Twitter search lets you do this too.
Where do I start?
Put a note on your monitor to remind yourself to check it every now and then. It takes a while to get it into your routine.
If you don't want to read it everyday, you can go back when you have time and see what people in your industry are talking about.
Even if you never do anything else but listen, you'll have access to a ton of good info. The key is to find what's right for you.
You can follow me @lerickson. Follow EB at @ericksonbarnett. I welcome your comments here or there.