Twitter Tips for Beginners #2

29 01 2009

With the use of twitter currently soaring there are many new users who sign up and then wonder just what to do next.  This is the second in a short series of blogs offering  a selection of  hints, tips and bits of advice for those wondering what to do with twitter …and how to do it.  

Getting followed

It feels odd typing out your 140 characters when you know there is no-one following you so here are a few suggestions for attracting your first followers;

  • Follow people.  Even if you are new at least one in four of the people you follow should follow you back.
  • Load a picture (or an avatar in social media-speak).  Don’t ponder too much just get something up there. You can change it any time but don’t delay many people won’t follow you until you’ve got an image.  Use the settings menu, top right.
  • Fill in a profile. Say as much as you can in the space allowed.  People may choose to follow you because of who you are or what you do.
  • Add a website to your profile.  It could be your own blog, your company website or perhaps your LinkedIn page but ideally it should prove information about you.
  • Oh….and follow more people.  

Say something

In Twitter Tips for Beginners #1 I suggested that you don’t worry too much about this at first but you should start soon.

  • Avoid platitudes and the mundane it will turn people off and they will stop following.
  • Post links to new sites and things that you have spotted on the web that will be of interest.
  • Ask questions….you’ll start getting replies. You can use twitter as a living, breathing search tool.
  • Reply to people.  Hover over their tweet and an arrow will appear at the right side (your right). Click it and you’ve started an @post. This is a tweet directed at one person but which everyone can see.  If your are the person receiving them they will go into your @Replies box so you shouldn’t miss them.

Stick with it and before you know it you will be twittering just like Jonathan Ross and Stephen Fry.

Twitter Tips for Beginners #1

23 01 2009

It was reported this week that twitter use has grown ten fold in the last year so I thought it might be useful to give some tips to those people that have signed up to use the service but are stuggling to get to grips with it.   For many people the first thing they type into twitter (or tweet) is “Trying to understand twitter” or simply “hello”.  They probably won’t get a reply so this is for them.

Finding people to follow

  • Use the ‘Find People’ tab at the top right of your screen.  Only use it to try and find people you know are on twitter.  Adoption is still relatively low (and you are still an early adopter!) don’t expect all your friends to be there – they might also be using a ‘screen name’ making them difficult to find.
  • Follow people that follow other people.  Twitter isn’t like Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn, you don’t have to know people to follow and be followed. Once you are following one person it gets easier. Click on their name of image (sometimes called an avatar) and look  at who they are following.  Follow the ones that interest you.  Repeat this and carry on repeating with new followers.

What’s the right number of people to follow?

  • There is no limit but I think that between 50 and 100 is a good place to start
  • If you follow too small a number you won’t be seeing enough in your twitter stream to be of interest and it will be harder to understand what twitter is for and how you might use it* 
  • If you immediately try to get to 2000 (the limit that twitter places when you have limited followers) you will be overwhelmed by the tweets you receive and you will probably be blocked as a potential spammer.

*What is twitter for?

What should I tweet?

  • Don’t worry about this too much at the beginning but discover what interests you and use that to think about what might interest others.  It probably won’t be what you had for breakfast.

Some final quick basics tips

  • The web page doesn’t refresh, Click ‘Home’ at the top or in the left hand panel to see new tweets
  • Go to the web site regularly or keep it minimised – once you are up and running you may want to consider using one of the many available applications for twitter (more on this at a later date).
  • Twitter jargon (tweet, tweeple etc etc) is silly, possibly even ridiculous. Get used to it and get over it.

‘Twitter Tips for Beginners #2’  coming soon.

%d bloggers like this: