Twitter is a fast moving stream of information, news, famous people, fashion, nonsense, links, pictures and everything else you could possibly think of.
If you have a small business, a skill, or an interest in anything; there’s no doubt. You need to be on it.
There are numerous self-help guides, a great one being ‘Learn Twitter in ten minutes’ Written by the lovely Lynn Schreiber – follow her @LynnCSchreiber. She’ll answer any Twitter queries you may have.
But the best way to learn Twitter is simply to dive in and do it.
Get on it, have a click about, and have a blast.
In the beginning
When setting up your profile, remember that the whole world can see it. Consider your identity. If you’re a business or a writer then your real name or company name probably needs to be your Twitter name. If not, then why not hide behind a mysterious and interesting façade. They all begin with ‘@’ for example, the rather obvious @newscientist, right through to the more opaque and enigmatic @YourAnonNews
Then you need a profile picture, and a header picture. The set-up is easy, but always ponder upon the impression you are making. Tweeps (people on Twitter) famously agonise about their bio, 140 characters which sit beneath the profile picture, used to grab attention and entice followers.
For followers is what it’s all about. Attracting other Twitter users to follow you, getting your tweets posted automatically onto their timeline.
Followers equal power
Followers equal power – see @taylorswift13 and admire her 59.8 million followers. This people power has enabled her to fight for her rights with music streaming.
Realistically, though, for small businesses, followers mean customers. With the old ‘more eyes more buys’ adage, social media opportunities such as Twitter can certainly grow your slice of the pie. Big companies use it to give themselves a human voice. Humour is key, as are giveaways and competitions. Getting a tweet to go viral is the ultimate corporate dream…being retweeted by millions of people, and creating a positive profile worldwide in minutes.
Hash tagging is also important, as the ‘#’ sign files your word in a list, making it easy to find and communicate with like-minded individuals. Adore cheese? Vacuum cleaners? Batman? There’s a hashtag for you. See #CheddarFacts, #hoover, or #BatmanVSuperman. The hashtags are endless. As are the puns of @TheHashtagGame.
Joining with the world as it happens
Watching television with Twitter alongside can be even more fulfilling, enabling you to follow other people’s opinions live, as your programme unfolds. Simply hashtag the programme and tweet your thoughts, and thousands of other folk around the country and the world will do the same.
Short and sweet
Each tweet is 140 characters maximum. Brevity is the way forward. Choosing which bits of punctuation to leave out is a constant agony, but there is certainly beauty to be found – see #micropoetry and #haiku and interest to be piqued.
A word of caution; pause before you tweet, as hateful tweets or threats can get you in big trouble.
If in doubt, don’t click send.
The community as a whole is amusing and enlightened, and you can easily block unpleasant folk to banish them from your sight.
Journalists from around the world frequently break stories on Twitter before any other media, so if you like to be first to know stuff, follow the news broadcasters.
It’s clear: once you have the hang of it, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.
Now – Go Tweet!
And while you are at it follow us @_IdentityStudio