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.





Celebrity Twitters – Real or Fake?

6 01 2009

Stephen Fry, Andy Murray and Jonathan Ross are amongst the growing band of celebrities on Twitter, but how do we know that it is really them and not just a fan of even a member of their celebrity entourage posting, purely for publicity?

There have been a host of examples of fake Twitterers and bloggers. For over a year a blog ran under the moniker “Fake Steve” or FSJ, a fake Steve Jobs blog that in some months attracted almost a million visitors including the real Steve Jobs and apparently the real Bill Gates too.

The business of revealing a celebrity Twitter as a fake in the title is an established phenomenon (at the time of writing the newly reinstated Twitter search facility revealed over 200 of these).  The bigger issue is the ease with which anyone can register a name and become a twit imposter.  

So how do we tell if the celebrity on Twitter is the real deal?  There are some tests that we can apply:

1 The Authentic Voice.   Does it feel real?  This can be an acid test in itself.  Whilst it might be possible to adopt a persona for a few tweets it is very difficult to sustain over time.  We should trust our instincts (but not rely on them solely).  Whilst some tweets feel like celebrity publicists at work (@BritneySpears admits as much) if you follow @Andy_Murray it doesn’t feel like it could be anyone else.

2. The Official Website. Stephen Fry, who is no slouch when it comes to the social web, fed his Twitter stream to his official web-site.  Voila,  instant validation, so it’s worth checking.

3. The Fourth Estate.  Traditional media channels and established journalists remain vital to news and  communications because they set the bar for accuracy and authority (a subject worthy of much further discussion).  When I openly asked on Twitter if @wossy was the real Jonathan Ross two journalists pointed me in the direction of established news source confirming it.  Check them out.

4. Ask. Put the question on Twitter either directly or to the Twittersphere.  It is the social web after all and you might get the confirmation that you need. 

The social web of its nature creates margins for doubt and error but if you apply these tests you should fairly quickly be able to separate the  glam from the sham.





Twitter Tips for Jonathan Ross (and others)

21 12 2008

Jonathan Ross is the latest celebrity to seize the opportunity to self publish through the the microbogging channel Twitter.  It is part of the wonder of the the social web that a broadcaster can broadcast whilst still suspended from his BBC contract (although broadcasting is just one aspect of Twitter and if done exclusively defeats the object).  

Wossy as he calls himself on Twitter is not the first celebrity to use Twitter.  Stephen Fry has amassed an army of almost forty thousand followers.   What is fascinating is that Stephen Fry attracted the same number of followers in half a day (circa 1,500) that it took Wossy three weeks to attract.  

One of the reasons is that Stephen Fry, a technophile through and through,  picked up the online etiquette of micro-blogging immediately, whilst Wossy is still coming to terms with the finer points.  So here are some top tips.

1. Get a Clear Identity – It is fine to have an online persona if you’d rather travel the web incognito but most people want to identify themselves clearly.  Ross has used a doubtful soubriquet and a picture of his pooch in his profile. There is no link to any site that might validate that this is actually Jonathan Ross twittering.  I openly expressed doubt that it was actually he until a couple of journalists put me right.  

2. Follow Back  – This is an important part of the twitter ‘netiquette’.  You don’t have to follow everyone back but you should follow back a substantial proportion.   Twitter is a leveller and it requires reciprocity to work properly.   Many have talked of the frisson of excitement in getting an e-mail saying ‘Stephen Fry is now Following you on Twitter”.

3. Engage in Conversations – You can direct a comment directly at an individual with an ‘at post’ using the @ character at the start of the twitter name.  Clicking on the reply icon on any post does this automatically.  These conversations are in public (unlike the private direct messages that can only be sent to people who follow you) and they are an essential part of Twitter culture.  For celebrities this is really important because fans can get a piece of you and all it costs is 140 characters.  Wossy admits he didn’t get this at first but now converses with the best of them. 

4. Provide Some Real Insight Provide some information that people can’t get elsewhere.  It adds to the sense of community and it gives real reasons to follow.  I

5. Cross Promote – We all use Twitter to tell people what we are doing, what we think or to add links to something we have done.  We should also promote things which interest us that other people have done.  It is good to do and they might do it back.

6. Quality not just Quantity – this speaks for itself in both in terms of what we post and who we follow which in turn impacts on who follows us.  It’s not just about numbers.  

If you are reading this Wossy give it a go and watch your Twitter Rank rise and rise.  Sadly we may never hear you say the words Twitter Rank but we can imagine.








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