Friday, May 22, 2009

Twitter is easy - but remember - the Tweeple are savvy

Twitter is Free. Twitter is everywhere . Its generates leads like crazy, its viral - - heck lets make money with it. Lets go

Here's what you have to remember - the marketplace is not naive - this is not 1920.

Twitter may be new (relatively) but the people who use it are savvy.

So before stumbling too much read this great Post from - emailcopywriter on HubPages- he knows his stuff.

Three Twitter Marketing Mistakes that will lose you money

Mistake 1 - Too Much Technology, Too Little Humanity

Most marketers think that if they used the latest new-fangled Twitter app in order to boost their marketing efforts, they will also increase social marketing ROI repeatedly. Sadly, this is not really the case. Twitter users primarily come online in order to connect with one another. If you don't connect any form of human interaction and try to do self-promotion, that will result in an instant rejection. Examples of this including using automation to tweet out promotions, but not responding to a user's customer support issue.

Mistake 2 - Too Much Business, Too Little Interest

Companies think assume because they are doing business on Twitter, they need to project their corporate best. The truth of the matter is when people come on Twitter, they come to have down-time and to chill. Anything that's too business-y will result in a lack on interest. Even though for you the bottom line is the bottom line, you need to project an image of fun and tweet out links that have entertainment value. An example of this is a boring corporate themed background image. Get something funky and fun, and be prepared to stand out from the rest of your boring peers.

Mistake 3 - Too Much Aggression, Too Little Communication

A lot of online marketers treat Twitter like any other online marketing channel. Build a following, send out endless links to promos, and hope for the best. This is really one of the most silly things that bloggers and website owners tend to do. People shy away from anything that's remotely commercial-orientated, and will most probably unfollow you and spread bad press about you. There are countless examples of backlash brands face when they're more interested in making money than in interacting with their customers.

In short, when you're more interested in technology, business and aggression, you're compromising on humanity, interest and communication. Ironically, this actually leaves plenty of money on the table.

To end, once you're aware of these 3 Twitter marketing mistakes, you're in an excellent position to correct them and end up making a windfall profit from monetizing Twitter as a marketing channel.

ref: - HubPages

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More Tools than anyone ever needs for Twitter

Post from Scott Williams

Here is a fairly comprehensive Twitter tool list that should provide for a great resource to enhance your Twitter experience. HatTip to Online Best Colleges for compliling parts of the list.

Twitter Analysis

  1. Twitter Grader: Learn your Twitter grade, your local Twitter Elite, and find new people to follow through Twitter Grader.
  2. Twitterholic: Check out the top Twitter users and find out your Twitter stats on Twitterholic.
  3. TweetStats: TweetStats offers a graphical analysis of your Twitter stats.
  4. Twitter Friends: Carefully measure your Twitter conversations using Twitter Friends.
  5. Twinfluence: Twinfluence will measure your Twitter influence based on reach, velocity, and social capital.
  6. Tweetwasters: Find out how much time you and other users waste on Twitter.
  7. Tweet-Rank: Learn about the quality of your tweets by finding out which ones won or lost followers.
  8. Mr. Milestone: Get a tweet when you reach various milestones using this Twitter tool.
  9. Retweetrank: Find out how many retweets you and other Twitter users have through this service.

Information Gathering

  1. Tweetbeep: With Tweetbeep, you can set up alerts that will help you keep track of keywords on Twitter.
  2. @myflightinfo: Use @myflightinfoto stay updated on your flight’s status.
  3. Twitterverse: Check out archived timelines and tweets through Twitterverse.
  4. Twitscoop: Twitscoop shares what’s hot on Twitter at any given moment.
  5. Twitbuzz: Twitbuzz tracks the latest conversations as well as popular Twitter links.
  6. StrawPoll: Use StrawPoll to make sharing your opinion as easy as sending an @reply.
  7. Retweetist: This service ranks the hottest links being retweeted on Twitter.
  8. Monitter: Get real time keyword monitoring on Twitter from Monitter.
  9. TweetNews: TweetNews ranks stories based on the amount of related tweets.
  10. TwitterBuzz: TwitterBuzz will tell you what’s being linked to the most on Twitter.
  11. Tweetscan: Set up Tweetscan to make sure you don’t miss any @replies, and to get alerted of your search queries.

Network Building & Management

  1. Twitter Local: With this service, you can see tweets from Twitter users in a specific location.
  2. Twubble: Twubble will expand your Twitter bubble, picking out people you may like to follow.
  3. MyCleenr: Sort your friends by their last tweets, and you can get rid of the inactive and useless accounts you’re following.
  4. Follow Cost: This tool will tell you how much effort it takes to follow someone.
  5. Tweepler: Use Tweepler to organize your tweeps based on whether you’re following them or not.
  6. Just Tweet It: Find Tweeple, tools, Twitter bots and more through this directory.
  7. TweetWheel: TweetWheel will help you discover which of your Twitter friends know each other.
  8. SocialToo: SocialToo will help you keep track of all of the people who have followed or unfollowed you.
  9. Twitoria: Reduce your clutter on Twitter by finding your friends that haven’t tweeted in a long time.
  10. TwitDir: With TwitDir, you’ll be able to search for people, and exploring categories including top followers and updaters.
  11. Who Should I Follow?: Using this site, you can get good recommendations for Tweeps to follow.
  12. Nearbytweets: Learn about all of the Twitter users in a specific area with the help of Nearbytweets.
  13. Twellow: Find Twitter users in a specific industry using this service.
  14. Mr. Tweet: Mr. Tweet is a personal networking assistant for Twitter, helping you find relevant followers.
  15. Qwitter: Qwitter will help you manage your network by sending an alert when a person unfollows you.

Twitter Management

  1. Twitter Search: Retrieve information on Twitter quickly to search Twitter in real time.
  2. Tweet O’Clock: Trying to reach someone? Tweet O’Clock will help you find the best time to get their attention.
  3. Just Signal: Set up a filter using Just Signal to get only the tweets that discuss the keywords you’d like to read about.
  4. TweepSearch: Put your Twitter network to good use and search your followers for specific parameters.
  5. Friend or Follow: Manage your Twitter contacts and find out who’s not following you back through Friend or Follow.
  6. TwitResponse: TwitResponse makes it easy for you to schedule the delivery of your tweets ahead of time.
  7. TwitterSnooze: Put the pause button on a particular user for a while with Twitter Snooze.
  8. Twitterless: Get notified when someone stops following you with Twitterless.
  9. Twilert: Track specific keywords to receive alerts for using Twilert.
  10. Tweetdeck: Tweetdeck has a groups function that will help you more efficiently follow the people you really want to listen to.
  11. Twalala: Put the mute button on certain people and topics for a while if you are receiving lots of updates you’re not really interested in.

Sharing Tools

  1. Tweetburner: Use Tweetburner to share links, and you can track their usage.
  2. Twitpic: Twitpic makes it easy to take mobile phone photos and share them using your Twitter account.
  3. TwitterHawk: Get targeted marketing on Twitter through TwitterHawk.
  4. Acamin: Acamin makes it easy to share files on Twitter with your followers.
  5. Glue: Post links to books, movies, restaurants and more on Twitter through Glue.
  6. This service will update all of your social networks at once.
  7. TweeTube: TweeTube makes it easy to share videos on Twitter.
  8. twiggit: Use this automated service to share the articles you digg on Twitter.
  9. Share what you’re listening to on Twitter through

Organisation & Productivity

  1. Twittercal: Link your Twitter account and Google Calendar to easily keep up with your events and appointments.
  2. Timer: Use Timer to get reminders about tasks through your Twitter account.
  3. TwitterNotes: Organize your notes using Twitter with TwitterNotes.
  4. Remember the Milk: Use Remember the Milk on Twitter to update your to do list.
  5. Tweetake: Tweetake will back up your Twitter timeline for archiving and more.
  6. Nozbe: Nozbe makes it easy to add and update your to do list on Twitter.
  7. Toodledo: This popular to do list app integrates nicely with Twitter.
  8. TrackThis: Send TrackThis your tracking number, and you’ll get Twitter messages every time there’s a change in location.
  9. Joint Contact: Get project management productivity on Twitter using Joint Contact.
  10. Tempo: This time tracking tool allows you to send in updates from Twitter.
  11. Tweet Later: Tweet Later offers a great way to set up alerts, schedule tweets, send thank you DMs, and more.
  12. OutTwit: OutTwit will make it easy for you to use Twitter inside of Outlook.
  13. Jott: Jott makes it easy for you to tweet without ever having to type, transcribing your voice message to Twitter.

Life Tools

  1. MyMileMarker: Keep track of your mileage with info sent via Twitter every time you fill up.
  2. 21Tweets: 21Tweets offers personal coaching on Twitter.
  3. TwtTRIP: Organize your travel plans and find other Twitter travelers on your way with TwtTRIP.
  4. Tweet Answers: Twitter Answers makes it easy to ask questions and get answers on Twitter.
  5. Twtvite: Twtvite is a simple event organizer that will help you create a tweetup.
  6. Vacatweet: Set up an autoresponder for your Twitter account with Vacatweet.
  7. plusplusbot: Share when someone goes out of their way to help you, or otherwise make your feelings known using plusplusbot.
  8. TrackDailyGoals: Use this site and the #dailygoals hashtag to keep track of your goals every day.
  9. ConnectTweet: Put the voices of your group or business together through ConnectTweet.
  10. Tweeteorology: Find tweets about the weather in any location through Tweeteorology.
  11. DreamTweet: Keep a reminder of your dreams and nightmares, and follow the dreams of others through DreamTweet.

Business & Finance

  1. Chipin: If you’re raising funds on Twitter, make use of Chipin to set a goal and let your supporters track the progress of the campaign.
  2. Xpenser: You can Twitter your expenses to Xpenser and they will be recorded for you.
  3. Twittertise: Schedule your tweets and track their clickthroughs with this app designed for Twitter advertising.
  4. TwtQpon: Create simple Twitter coupons for your business with TwtQpon.
  5. CheapTweet: Get all of the deals, sales, coupons and more being discussed on Twitter through CheapTweet.
  6. Tipjoy: Like Chipin, Tipjoy offers a way to create social payments for your cause, content, or people.
  7. SalesTwit: Get contact management for Twitter with the help of SalesTwit.
  8. Tweet What You Spend: Track your cash in a really effective way using Tweet What You Spend.
  9. StockTwits: StockTwits shares the investment discussions on Twitter in real time.


  1. Qwitter: Update Qwitter to shame yourself into quitting smoking.
  2. TweetPlot: Use TweetPlot to chart your food and fitness statistics.
  3. Tweetwhatyoueat: Keep a food diary to track what you’re eating every day using Tweetwhatyoueat.
  4. gtFtr: Use the gtFtr tool to record your exercise activity on Twittr.
  5. SugarStats: Track, monitor, and share your blood sugar through Twitter with SugarStats.
  6. FoodFeed: This Twitter-based food log makes it easy for you to track what you’re eating.


  1. Add to Any: Get your posts shared on Twitter by using Add to Any on your WordPress blog.
  2. TwitThis: Make use of this plugin to send Twitter messages about your blog post.
  3. MyTwitter: Use the MyTwitter plugin to display your Twitter status on WordPress.
  4. Twitpress: Twitpress will send out a Tweet every time you post a new blog entry.
  5. TwitterCounter: With this plugin, you can display the number of followers you have on Twitter.
  6. TwitterFeed: Announce your blog post on Twitter with a customized message using TwitterFeed.

Bonus: My 5 Faves that are not on above list

  1. Tweepz: The best way to search and find people on Twitter by searching their name.
  2. Untweeps: Unfollow tweeps who have not tweeted in awhile.
  3. Wefollow: A categorical user powered Twitter directory.
  4. Tweetbuddy: A Twitter follower management/pruning tool.
  5. Tweetlater: Overall Twitter automation and productivity tool.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The 4 stages of a Twitter User

from Tech Republic - Jason Hiner

My name is Jason - I am a Twitter user.

There’s a strange phenomenon that happens almost every time someone joins Twitter. They hate it. At least at first.

But many of the people who once hated Twitter — or at least, didn’t quite get it in the beginning — are now many of its most active users and raving fans. So what’s going on here?

There seems to be four natural stages that the average Twitter user goes through from the point of first trying it until the point of fully embracing it and making it a part of daily life. Obviously, not everyone sticks with it and becomes a Twitter devotee, but there’s definitely a growing cadre of people who believe that there’s some magic happening in the Twittosphere.

Because I think Twitter can be used as a valuable business tool, it’s worth talking about the four Twitter stages in order to help recognize users in these stages when you’re choosing who to follow and to keep new Twitter users from getting discouraged and missing the opportunities available on Twitter. So here they are:

1. Confusion and indignation

When a person first signs up for Twitter, the first challenge is figuring out who to follow. Twitter now has its “Suggested Users” feature to help people get started. I’ve put together a list of technology personalities worth following on Twitter to help new techies when they sign up for Twitter.

However, even when they find some people to follow, new Twitterers usually look at their Twitter stream and start wondering, “Why would I care what my colleagues are eating for lunch?” or “What’s interesting about a software engineer posting that she’s walking her dog?”

That experience usually leads people to shake their heads and not come back to Twitter for a few days, or even weeks or months.

2. The first “Aha!” moment

Eventually, the user comes back periodically to check Twitter out of pure curiosity. During those casual forays, the person often has a first “Aha!” moment, where they find something really interesting or timely on Twitter that wasn’t available from news, RSS feeds, or word of mouth from their friends.

This could be a piece of news that someone reported on Twitter before it actually hit the wires, it could be a rumor about something that a company like Apple is doing, or even something like NFL teams announcing their picks for the draft on Twitter before they even went up to the podium to make the official selection.

3. Remembering to tweet

After the first “Aha” moment, the user typically starts checking Twitter more often, but still tends to post very infrequently. The next stage of Twitter initiation comes when the user reads something useful online or makes a mental observation about something and then thinks, “I should post that Twitter!”

At this point, the user is still relying mostly on the homepage to access Twitter but is starting to go there at least a couple times a day to check on the latest buzz, and has typically found a good mix of friends, news feeds, industry celebrities, and thought leaders to follow.

4. Thinking in 140 characters

Once the person becomes a daily Twitter user, it’s over. The person is almost always hooked, and is now on the path to becoming a power user. This is when most (though not all) users switch from using to using a desktop Twitter client like Tweetdeck or Seesmic.

Meanwhile, the user also often has a mobile Twitter client like UberTwitter (for BlackBerry) or Tweetie (for iPhone) in order to stay connected to the Twitter stream on the go. Those that don’t have smartphone often use Twitter via SMS text messages.

At this point, the person is a Twitter power user who regularly adds new people and brands to follow and also regularly unfollows people who post too many inane messages about their meals or just doesn’t post enough useful stuff.

The power user also tends to regularly think about and look for things to post on Twitter throughout the day, to the point of self-editing thoughts for brevity in order to fit into Twitter’s 140 character limit.

Final word

The beauty of Twitter is in its simplicity of use and the direct connection it provides to people whose activities and opinions you care about.

Apple recently wrote a case study about Twitter because Twitter uses a lot of Apple products. In the article, Apple wrote, “Twitter’s meteoric rise to ubiquity is proof positive that the world, in all its complexity, is eager to embrace simplicity.

You can find me on Twitter at

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Hashmark sign # in Twitter…What Does it Mean?

The hash mark (#) before a word in a post allows you to tag that post for that word. However, in order to get tracked via a hash tag, you need to opt-in and follow Once you’re following Hashtags, every time you make a post in Twitter and tag it with a hash mark like so: #iPhone, it will then show up as a real-time post on

If you then visit, you can click on any tag and it will show you all of the posts that have been tagged with that keyword.

I use the term “keyword” with a grain of salt since some of the tags aren’t keywords in the sense that you know them related to search engine optimization, because some of the tags are completely non-sensical in nature. And although you can get a complete list of words that have been tagged on the site, there is no way (at least currently) to search for a specific tag.

However, it is possible to view all tweets (posts made to Twitter) that contain a specific tag by modifying your URL a bit like so:

You can also subscribe to any updates that contain a tag by posting “follow #tag” (without the quotes) in Twitter.

Since Twitter only allows you to post 140 characters at a time you can see how you’d have to be pretty selective when using the hash mark - although one character doesn’t seem like much, you’d be surprised how much you actually need that one additional character when trying to get a point across in your Twitter post.

Here is yet another site that you can use that makes use of hash marks. This site allows you to see who has been using the hash mark you enter within their posts and how many times they’ve done so. Note that when you visit this site you don’t have to enter the hash symbol (#) in the search box.

By kristinewirth

more info - Mashable - how to best use hashtags

5 Reasons They May Not Follow on Twitter

Written by Jonathan Bailey

When you follow people on Twitter, you are doing more than just getting their tweets, you’re also sending them a note letting them know that you are interested in what they have to say. Ideally, a good percentage of them, after looking at your profile should feel the same way and return the follow.

Personally, I follow about 80% of the people who follow me. I view Twitter as a tool for conversations and, within reason, if someone is interested in hearing what I have to say, I want to listen to them as well.

However, as with most people, there are certain users I ignore or “snub” depending on your perspective. Though I’m grateful they took an interest in me, I’m not motivated to follow back. So for two weeks I kept track of the users I don’t follow and found the five most common reasons for me I don’t click the button.

Hopefully, this list will help you avoid some of the more common pitfalls when putting your Twitter account out there for the world to see.

5. No Icon

To most, this one should be pretty obvious. The first thing you should change on your Twitter account, if you are serious about it, is your icon. It doesn’t matter if it is your logo, your photo, a cartoon avatar or something else altogether, it should be anything other than the default Twitter “face”.

Even if you are a human being and a very active Twitter user, having the default icon looks unprofessional and makes others, including myself suspicious of your account. It only takes a few moments to add a new avatar and, since it is the first thing most people look at when they see your profile, it could be the most important change you make.

4. No Updates

Everyone has to start somewhere. So if you just started your account and I’m in the first batch of people you follow, that is a huge honor and I treat it as such.

However, leaving your Twitter account blank is poor form. You should at least have one or two tweets up before people start showing up. Also, if you haven’t tweeted in many days or months, not only does the follow seem suspicious, but it makes people much less likely to follow back as it indicates the account is abandoned.

If you wish to stop posting to your Twitter account or don’t want add any tweets of your own, that’s fine, just don’t expect many others to follow it, not that it would matter if they did.

3. The Numbers

Are you following 1000 people but only have 50 followers and 3 updates? If so, you’re probably a spammer or you at least look like one.

Numbers aren’t everything on Twitter but they do tell a tale about what your objective on the site is. If you are following more than a are following you, you’ree aggressively seeking out new people. There is nothing wrong with that until the proportions get completely out of whack. That tells people you are indiscriminately following others for attention and that makes them feel as if they’ve been spammed.

For me, there is no magic formula, but your numbers have to make sense for a human being, not a robot. Numbers are not the sole factor for most people, but if they don’t add up, don’t expect a lot of return follows.

2. Every Tweet is a Link

Everyone loves a few good links, but every Twitter stream needs a bit of variety. Making every single tweet a link to your latest post or, even worse, a promotion of some sort, is not. Or rather, is very annoying, especially when those Twitter users follow large numbers of people.

There are many Twitter accounts that I subscribe to that are nothing but link collections. However, I usually add them from their respective sites, not based upon them following me. If you use your Twitter account as a mini-RSS feed, that’s fine, just don’t expect people to follow back if they are not interested in the topic.

Personally, for most of those kinds of lists, I much prefer to get them in my RSS reader than my Twitter.

1. No @replies

Finally, as I said in the beginning, Twitter is about conversation. However, if you never @reply anyone for any reason, then, for you, Twitter is just a broadcast medium. It shows others that you aren’t reading your incoming tweets and, if you are, that you are not replying.

Though there is nothing wrong with broadcasting over Twitter, as with the link collections, it is important that the person be interested in the content by itself, not the conversation. Where one might be interested in talking with a realtor from Phoenix on Twitter, significantly fewer are going to be interested in a Twitter account about nothing but new housing listings in the region.

If you want to be followed broadly and use Twitter for conversation, it is important to let people know that you are listening and replying, something a healthy amount of @replies does very well.

Bottom Line

Everyone who comes to Twitter is doing so with different goals in mind. To some, Twitter is just a broadcast medium, another way to get links and other content to the masses. To others, it is an RSS reader, a way to get news almost instantly. For those, being followed back may not be as important as it is for others.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to how to use Twitter, with perhaps the sole exception of obvious spammers.

However, for those who are interested in the dialog and need a balance in those who follow them back to make it happen, it is important to put your best foot forward on Twitter, make it clear that you are human and that you have an interest in hearing what others say, that you are active and that you care about your account.

If you do those things, most people, including myself, will be happy to follow you and talk with you. If you don’t, you may be left wondering why nobody is following you back.

Written by Jonathan Bailey from Plagiarism Today on April 30, 2009

Saturday, May 16, 2009

10 Lessons I’ve Learned from Twitter

10 Lessons I’ve Learned from Twitter by Joseph Daniel
May 15, 2009, 7:15 pm

I have 1000 new friends, and 500 new stalkers. I’m no Aston Kutcher in terms of audience, but I’ve learned a few things during my six months on Twitter:

1. It’s less important to talk about what I had for breakfast, and better to respond to people about what they had.
2. People respond. In my travels, I have called out for help and had people give me directions, make restaurant suggestions, and even proposition me.
3. Businesses benefit from the direct exposure to clients, but I still see no way that Twitter can a real business plan.
4. Shaquille O’Neal (@The_Real_Shaq) is by far and away, the funniest, most authentic person on Twitter. I almost forgive him for all those victories against the Kings. He deserves all 1M of his followers and is the model for how to use this site.
5. Never trust a profile whose picture is a supermodel.
6. If you want to drive traffic to your blog, Twitter is the best tool to do so. I would have no audience beyond friends and family without it.
7. It’s less likely that you will get a personal response from anyone who has over 10,000 followers. Are you really that busy, @Obama, that you can’t DM me?
8. You’d be amazed at how many people have social media as a career.
9. The best days Twitter are when my sports contacts talk politics, my beer guys chat about music, and my friends connect through me (it took me a while to figure out #followfriday).
10. It’s not for everyone. Some people will give up on it after a week, but they will come back. Others will simply never get it, and that’s ok.

I know there is much more I can learn, but so far I’ve had fun.

denzeljoseph on Twitter

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Twitter Followers and Following Limits Explained

To help control spam, maintain the integrity of the network and prevent that dreaded Failed Whale from showing up too often, Twitter maintain limits on how many people you can follow and how often you can follow. For those who don’t know the limits, this post will lay them out.

Maximum Following Limit: 2,000 or 110% of Followers

The maximum number of people you can follow at any one time is 2,000 or 110% of your followers, whichever is higher. So, if you have less than 2,000 followers, you can follow up to 2,000 people.

If you have more than 2,000 followers, you can follow up to 110% of that figure. So, if you have 5,000 people following you, you can follow 5,500.

Maximum Daily Following Limit: 1,000

Twitter limits the number of accounts that a single person can follow in a day to 1,000. For a long time, this limit was not evenly applied across the network. Many users were able to follow far more than 1,000 per day. However, Twitter recently started to enforce this 1,000 per day limit on all accounts.

Maximum Followers: Unlimited

While Twitter place limits only how many people you can follow, there are currently no limits on how many can follow you. This explains why new accounts like Oprah surged to almost 500,000 followers in less than week. However, if Oprah wishes to follow all those people back, she’ll have to do it 1,000 people at a time.

written by John Chow on April 21st, 2009
Motive Interactive CPA Affiliate Network

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Twitter shares Documents no Prob

Twitter is quickly turning into the media sharing platform of choice for many people, despite the fact that it,you know, doesn’t have any actual media sharing functionality. But a variety of services are popping up to fill the need, including countless Twitter-specific sites for sharing images, music, and video.

Today TwitDoc is launching what appears to be the first service for sharing documents over Twitter, bringing support for PDFs, Microsoft Office Documents, and a bunch of other file formats. The site has integrated with popular document sharing hub Scribd to make the process as painless as possible - it only takes around 20 seconds to send a document, and you don’t have to sign up to get started. To use the service, you enter your Twitter user name and password, choose the document or photo you’d like to send out, and add any text you’d like to include alongside the document’s link. Hit upload and you’re done.

It’s a handy tool, but I doubt it will reach the same level of popularity as TwitPic and its ilk - most people simply don’t have as many documents that they’d like to share with all of their Twitter followers. Still, it will definitely be helpful for sharing reports you find interesting, or scanned images that wouldn’t be readable if they were shrunk and compressed (which some image services do).

Twitter Literacy

from a post by Howard Rheingold

One of my students asked me online why I use Twitter. I replied off the top of my head.

Openness - anyone can join, and anyone can follow anyone else (unless they restrict access to friends who request access).

Immediacy it is a rolling present. You wont get the sense of Twitter if you just check in once a week. You need to hang out for minutes and hours, every day, to get in the groove.

Variety - political or technical argument, gossip, scientific info, news flashes, poetry, social arrangements, classrooms, repartee, scholarly references, bantering with friends. And I'm in control of deciding how much of each flavor I want in my flow. I don't have to listen to noise, but filtering it out requires attention. You are responsible for whoever else's babble you are going to direct into your awareness.

Reciprocity - people give and ask freely for information they need (this doesn't necessarily scale or last forever, but right now its possible to tune your list - and to contribute to it and to include a high degree of reciprocation; more on this in a moment).

A channel to multiple publics - I'm a communicator and have a following that I want to grow and feed. I can get the word out about a new book or vlog post in seconds - and each of the people who follow me might also feed my memes to their own networks. I used to just paint. Now I document my painting at each stage of the process, upload pix to flickr or flicks to, then drop a tinyurl into Twitter. Who needs a gallery or a distributor? You don't have to be a professional writer to think about publics. Anyone who publishes a blog knows that they are not simply broadcasting to a passive audience all blog readers can comment, can link back, can criticize and analyze, and in many instances, can join the blogger in some form of collective action in the physical world.

Asymmetry - very interesting, because nobody sees the same sample of the Twitter population. Few people follow exactly the same people who follow them. There is no social obligation to follow people simply because they follow me. I tell them that I follow people who inform or amuse me, and I hope to do the same for people who follow me.

A way to meet new people - it happens every day. Connecting with people who share interests has been the most powerful social driver of the Internet since day one. I follow people I donĂ¢€™t know otherwise but who share enthusiasm for educational technology, DIY video, online activism. creativity, social media, journalism, Burning Man and public art, teaching and learning, compost, Catalunya, the public sphere, mass collaboration, Amsterdam - the list is as long as my list of interests. Developing the ability to know how much attention and trust to devote to someone met online is a vitally important corollary skill. Personal learning networks are not a numbers game. They are a quality game.

A window on what is happening in multiple worlds, some of which I am familiar with, and others that are new to me.

Community-forming - Twitter is not a community, but it's an ecology in which communities can emerge. That's where the banal chit-chat comes in: idle talk about news, weather, and sports is a kind of social glue that can adhere the networks of trust and norms of reciprocity from which community and social capital can grow.

A platform for mass collaboration: I forgive the cute name of Twestival because this online charity event has raised over a quarter of a million dollars via Twitter, funding 55 clean water projects for 17,000 people in Ethiopia, Uganda, and India. If I wanted to tweet a request, I could offer another dozen examples.

Searchability - the ability to follow searches for phrases like "swine flu" or "Howard Rheingold" in real time provides a kind of ambient information radar on topics that interest me. Twitter users developed the convention of adding a tag with a hash sign in front of it like #hashtag that enable them to label specific topics and events. When I recently participated in a live discussion onstage, we projected in real time the tweets that included a hashtag for the event, an act that blended the people in the audience together with the people on the panel in a much more interactive way than standard Q&A sessions at the end of the panel. After years as a public speaker and panelist, I found it fascinating and useful to have a window on what my previously silent audience was thinking while I was talking. You have to be sure enough about what you are saying onstage to keep from being distracted or thrown by the realtime feedback. Backchannel twitterers have been to virtually mob speakers they felt were wasting their attention.

I still hang out on Twitter (I am found there as @hrheingold), but it's clear that many of the people I talk to about it just don't get why anyone wastes their time doing anything with the name "tweeting."So I tell them that to me, successful use of Twitter comes down to tuning and feeding. And by successful, I mean that I gain value - useful information, answers to questions, new friends and colleagues - and that the people who follow me gain value in the form of entertainment, useful information, and some kind of ongoing relationship with me.

To oversimplify, I think successful use of Twitter means knowing how to tune the network of people you follow, and how to feed the network of people who follow you.

You have to tune who you follow. I mix friends who I know IRL ("in real life") and whose whereabouts and doings interest me, people who are knowledgeable about a field that interests me, people who regularly produce URLs that prove useful, extraordinary educators, the few who are wise or funny. When I became interested in video, Drupal, and educational uses of technology and student-centric teaching, I looked for people who know about those subjects, and followed them. I learned from master educators on Twitter that growing and tuning a "personal learning network" of authoritative sources and credible co-learners is one of the strategies for success in a world of digital networks.

When it comes to feeding my network, that comes down to putting out the right mixture of personal tweets (while I don't really talk about what I had for lunch, the cycles of my garden, the plums falling from my tree, my obsession with compost and shoepainting do feature in my tweetstream), informational tidbits (when I find really great URLs, that's when Twitter is truly a "microblog" for me to share my find), self promotion (when I post a new video to my vlog share the URL - but I do NOT automatically post everything I blog on, socializing, and answering questions. It's particularly important to respond to people who follow me and who send @hrheingold messages to my attention. I can't always respond to every single one, but I try. I also try to be a little entertaining once in a while, when something amuses me and I think it might amuse others.

Everyone has a different mix of these elements, which is part of the charm of Twitter. My personal opinion is that I need to keep some personal element going, but not to overdo it. I am careful to not crank up the self-promotion too much. I don't ask questions often, but when I do, I always get a huge payoff. I needed an authoritative guide to Spanish-language online publications about social media for a course I was designing to be taught at the (online) Open University of Catalunya. I got five. In five minutes.

If it isn't fun, it won't be useful. If you don't put out, you don't get back. But you have to spend some time tuning and feeding if Twitter is going to be more than an idle amusement to you and your followers (and idle amusement is a perfectly legit use of the medium).

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Why Twitter Matters - And is worth talking about

A rave from TechCrunch

Simply put, we write about Twitter so often because right now, it matters. From news organizations to movie stars, from earthquakes to fires, from Facebook to Google — everyone seems to be talking about, to or with Twitter. In an era of mass communication, it is the latest medium. And it’s fundamentally changing the ways in which people interact with others using the web. What you may view as a stupidly simple service with no real point, I view as one of the few inspirational products in bleak times.

I would argue that Twitter works so well precisely because it’s so simple. It fools some people with its “What are you doing?” question that resides at the top of the page, but Twitter can pretty much be about whatever you want it to be about. That’s why it’s an absolutely brilliant platform for so many new startups to build on top of. And those startups are really the key. They’re what are keeping Twitter so hot right now. Every day, something new launches on top of Twitter; some get coverage, some don’t. Some are silly, some are smart, some might actually work. But overall, the level of activity around the platform is amazing.

And that activity, fuels growth and feeds the system full of its most important life-blood: Information. It’s this real-time information that is Twitter’s most valuable asset. And it’s information that Twitter will soon begin mining in more interesting ways with its search product — which should be useful to a lot of people. And it should lead to even more innovation and more startups.

Stop and think for a moment about any one startup that has had such an impact on other startups. There aren’t many, and there really hasn’t been one for a while. I suppose you could throw Facebook in there, and before that obviously Google. But really, there aren’t too many companies in general that are changing the ways others do things, the way Twitter is right now.

And that’s why I think it’s worth writing about so often. It’s not just about Twitter, the product, it’s also about Twitter, the idea. And Twitter, the catalyst of change. Twitter has shaken shit up in the industry. And it’s exciting as hell when a company does that, because the chaos bred out of that almost always leads to cool new things. And “cool new things” is what technology is and always has been about.

And if you’ve been paying attention, Twitter is hardly the only thing in technology to have gotten a lot of hype and draw complaints for getting too much coverage in the past few years. We saw it with Google, we saw it with Facebook, we saw it with the iPhone and then we saw it again with the App Store. What do all of these things share in common? They all shook shit up. They were all great products, all became very popular, and all caused industry shifts. Twitter is just the latest of these. But it won’t be the last.

When that something new comes along, we’ll be on it, covering it relentlessly too. Because these things matter, because we’re passionate about them and because the vast majority of readers do care.

from Techcrunch May 9th

Thursday, May 7, 2009

All You Need to Know to Twitter

OPRAH WINFREY granted pop superstardom in April not to another fraudulent memoirist, but to Twitter, the online social network that has lured both Hollywood celebrities and basement amateurs away from their blogs.

TweetDeck, a Twitter app, breaks out multiple columns for different kinds of tweets and different groups of friends.

Spreadtweet is a desktop Twitter app that mimics an Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet's rows are actually tweets.

To the Internet hipsters who discovered Twitter in 2006, Oprah’s inaugural tweet — FEELING REALLY 21st CENTURY, she typed — was the end of the era, the shark jump. But that’s like saying the Beatles were over after they appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Twittermania has only begun. In the days after Oprah’s show, Twitter’s traffic growth is accelerating. The ratings service HitWise now ranks as America’s No. 38 Web site. It’s about to rocket past CNN and Wells Fargo.

Because it’s kept simple, most users figure out Twitter quickly. If you began tweeting the day of Oprah’s show, it’s a safe bet you already know how to DM a private message to a friend, and how to R.T. a joke worth retweeting. You search for #swineflu every few hours, and know it’s called a hashtag. You’ve learned how to follow Demi Moore and block online marketers.

Assuming you’ve got these basics down, there are many less obvious tips and tweaks to get more from tweeting. They all can be Googled, but the online version of this article has the links.

Advanced Search

Twitter has some powerful search options, but good luck trying to find them. If you use the search box built into Twitter’s Web interface, it won’t tell you there’s also an advanced search tool, and special characters — “operators” in search jargon — that you can use to search for, say, “Bush OR Cheney since:2009-01-20.”

To find the Advanced Search, scroll to the bottom of any page at and look for the link “Search” hiding there. Click it and you’ll be taken to Click the Advanced Search link. I suggest bookmarking the Advanced page on your browser. There’s another link there that lists all search operators, like “within:10mi.”

Twitter via S.M.S.

Twitter’s architects deliberately limited tweets to 140 characters, so that they could be sent and received as short message service text messages (S.M.S. allows 160 characters, but the Twitter people left room for user names.) Many newcomers are unaware they can operate Twitter by texting. Login at and click Settings, then go to Devices and add your phone.

At first, you’ll get nothing. That’s because, by default, updates from the users you follow aren’t texted to your phone, so you don’t run up a bill. Instead, the interface at adds buttons next to each user you follow, so you can turn updates on or off.

You can tweet from your phone by texting a message to 40404. You can also text commands to Twitter, like “help” or more important, “off.”

Twitter/Facebook Integration

Are you a Facebook user who also tweets? Wish you could type only one status update, and have it appear in your profile on both social networks? Go to and click the button at the bottom of the page that says “Install Twitter in Facebook.” You’ll then have to click through a few pages of configuration.

You can use the connection in either direction. I suggest updating Twitter and letting it pass the tweet along to Facebook. It takes fewer steps, and you’ll be kept within the 140-character limit.


Another hidden feature: If you like a tweet and want to preserve it for eternity, mouse over it. A star-shaped icon appears at the right of the text. Click that. Then, you can click the Favorites link on your home page to see all the tweets whose stars you’ve clicked, no matter how long ago you saved them. You can also go to other users’ pages and browse through their Favorites.

Sharing Photos

You can’t send photos through Twitter, but you can send the URL for a photo hosted on a Web site. TwitPic plugs the gap with a Web site that both holds your photos and creates URLs for them. You login to with your Twitter username and password, then upload a photo from your computer. You and other users can then share the picture by going to the TwitPic page for your photo and tweeting from there. TwitPic forwards them to Twitter with the correct photo URL automatically appended.

Desktop Twitter Apps

If you’re still using a browser window open to to tweet from your computer, try using a desktop (or laptop) client instead, to make sending and reading tweets more like using AOL Instant Messenger.

On Windows machines, Digsby is an application that displays Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and all of your e-mail accounts in a long, tall window that looks like a buffed-up A.I.M..

Mac users can try Twitterrific, which has been praised for a visual aesthetic that resembles Apple’s slick Aperture photo editor.

Both these applications tuck Twitter into the side of your display. If you’d rather it cover your screen, try TweetDeck, a free program that runs on both PCs and Macs. Instead of one column of tweets, TweetDeck breaks out multiple columns for different kinds of tweets and different groups of friends. It has plenty of extra features, too, like photo uploads to TwitPic, a Facebook tie-in and a ticker of stock market tweets.

Phone Apps

Like desktop apps, Twitter clients for smartphones are also proliferating faster than reviewers can track them. And again, there’s no obvious Best in Show. I suggest TwitterBerry for BlackBerry, Tweetie for iPhones, and Twidroid for G1 Android phones. Why? Because these three make it easy to post photos from your phone’s camera to TwitPic without thinking about it.

Another Phone Use

TweetCall is a recently introduced voice-recognition system that takes calls to 1-877-TWEETCALL from your phone, converts your spoken words to text, then tweets the result through your account.

TweetCall correctly parsed “How was the amuse-bouche at French Laundry?” But it still misses words and can’t parse my friends’ user names. The company claims that in a few weeks, the system will have many more Twitter-centric features including support for user names and hashtags.

Sneaking Office Tweets

Spreadtweet is a cheeky desktop app that mimics a boring Excel spreadsheet. Coworkers who don’t look too closely won’t realize your spreadsheet’s rows are actually tweets. I use it at home because it packs a lot of tweets into a small space, with no distracting visuals.

OutTwit is a more serious application that adds Twitter support into Microsoft Outlook. You can send and read tweets from inside Outlook, and then archive, group and search them as if they were e-mail messages.

Save Time for Tweeting does what the I.T. guys call alerts. Once programmed, it will search Twitter once an hour and shoot you an e-mail if it finds, say, the name of your company or the latest batch of #swineflu tweets. TweetBeep saves you from spending your day hovering over the Advanced Search page.

Then again, who am I kidding? One of Twitter’s primary attractions is that it gives obsessive webheads something to reload that updates faster than Google News. All these power tools make using Twitter more flexible and more fun. But they aren’t going to send any of us scurrying back to work any sooner.

Twitter is Down?? - breathe, breathe

Twitter just went down. Don’t worry, it was planned. It should only be offline for about an hour today but there’s another downtime planned for Monday as well. I’m sitting here not quite sure what do with myself, as I’m sure many of you are. So I’ll go ahead a prepare a list of alternative activities for today and Monday, in order of importance/likelihood:
  1. Talk about Twitter being down on FriendFeed
  2. Talk about Twitter being down on Facebook
  3. Talk about Twitter being down over IM
  4. Leave a comment on a blog post about Twitter being down (preferably this one)
  5. Talk about Twitter being down via text message
  6. Talk about Twitter being down over email
  7. Tip TechCrunch that Twitter is down
  8. Write your own blog post about Twitter being down (for an example, see this blog post)
  9. Talk about Twitter being down on Pownce Plurk
  10. Talk about Twitter being down on
  11. Talk about Twitter being down internally on Yammer
  12. Think about Twitter being down
  13. Call an actual friend to talk about Twitter being down
  14. Invite an actual friend over to talk about Twitter being down
  15. Go outside
ref techcrunch may 9th

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Signing up with Twitter

So you're at your Home Page on Twitter -and ...what?. You have no friends?

If you skipped all the 'see who's out there' pages you are at a blank Twitter page.

Twitter is really a way to have a conversation with the whole world in almost real time. (and almost the whole world - the Twitter World that is growing at 3 squadrillion people a day or something - which is why Twitter freezes and crashes and you cant get your picture to stay up there)

Use the 'search', and 'save search' to find people who are talking about things you want to talk about. Blogging - type blog .Knitting type - yep knitting (nit might get you something else entirely)

Want to see the whole English speaking world type in "i" or 'me" or 'is" etc.

Type in a Chinese character to get a different flavor.

Search and follow those that seem interesting - they may or may not follow you back. Jump right in and answer or comment on their comments, you'll find some like minded people. You'll find some surly people (this is the whole world).

The pests that hound you -"block" them . But Twitter is a busy world - if you just ignore them they go away I find.

The thing about Twitter its a voluntary opt in on anybody's, everybody's part. If they want to follow you they will, if they dont - hey there's a lot more people out ther that are like you, and will like you. Be forward, be gracious, be polite, be human - it'll work.

Twitter is safe - its just 140 words - so unless your trying Social security numbers your home address, your bank account with PIN - its safe and fun and very fast.

Save as a 'favorite' tweets (things written in twitters) you liked or want to go back to.

Check out the websites that are mention - explore - take your time - try all kinds of things - make a fool of yourself. The whole world had a lot of great people.

A lot of people use Twitter as a marketing/come-one ad tool - but hey this is the real world - you'll figure those out

O all the celebs, they probably wont reply - they probably wont even see your tweets (they possibly aren't even writing their tweets - O the shame!) - they might - but start with some real people - maybe work your way up.

(just a thought doesn't have to be yours).

If you get interested fill in thebox over there on the right (your right, the other right- yes that one) and we'll sendf you tons of free info to accelerate and enjoy Twitter and all its foibles.