Sunday, December 5, 2010

Twitter for Dummies



How To Effectively Use Twitter


What is Twitter. Today we live in information age. To stay ahead, it is important and imperative to have the right information, at the right time. So, what are the tools to help us stay ahead of the crowd? Twitter can be one of them, if we can use it effectively and to our advantage.

Twitter in India. Generally in India, Twitter is used rarely. Use of FaceBook/Orkut is Rampant, as we like to see the information with pictures, videos and animation. Twitter is just plain Tweets. So, it is comparatively less interactive. Here in India, it is used generally to follow celebrities.

This article will explain how to use Twitter effectively and as a source of information by covering the following topics:
  1. Uses of Twitter
  2. Effective ways to use Twitter
  3. Ways to use Twitter from various devices
  4. Lastly, some Tips (Dos and Donts)
Read on for complete article.

Uses of Twitter. Twitter can be used for obtaining information on
  • 1. Regular updates on popular current topics
  • 2. Popular and unbiased “public” opinion and views on any topic
  • 3. Regular updates on technology, News etc

* Twitter can be used to follow either a person (to know about his views on various topics) or follow a specific Topic (To know popular public opinion on that specific topic)

* The only thing (Actually, the most important thing) to be noted while using Twitter is that the shelf life of any information or update on Twitter is not more than one day (sometimes even as less as 2hrs)


Effective ways to use Twitter
  • 1. Following interesting people
a. Follow political views follow @BarackObama, for Apple/Technology News follow @ceoSteveJobs, For Football/Barcelona news follow @imessi or whoever interests/inspires you the most
b. Special offers/Discounts for the day - @BestBuy
c. To know about what’s on at a place near you – like @NCPAmumbai, @JazzByTheBay
d. Local News – Like @Mumbaikar (These guys give more information than a local news paper. Moreover, all the Tweets have a link for complete story. So, pick and choose)
e. Know more about things happening in the life of your favorite celebrity. This is purely entertainment purpose. @imSRK, @JuniorBachchan
  • 2. Following links (posted by people) for in-depth information
a. A Tweet may have a link for the full story. Like a review of Yokos Resturant in Powai may have a link like http://xn--r2b.ws/fYtpEv. If you are interested in know about the review, click on the link to find out more.
b. You can even post such links in your updates by shortening the lengthy website addresses. Use tools like http://www.bit.ly for shortening web addresses. My profile page on FB (which has some absurd link) can be shortened to http://on.fb.me/fd2png.
  • 3. Solving your queries on any specific topic
a. Even though you may not be following some person, if you think he may have the answers to your queries, mark a tweet to them.
b. Like, if you have to report a traffic snag or ask them to look into it, mark a tweet to @MumTraffPoilce or any for any Hacking related queries ask @ankit_fadia
c. If you need to find out the recipe for Mushroom, Tweet asking for a link. Somebody will surely respond with a useful link. (considering that internet is now full of clutter, and finding useful information needs special skills) But make sure you have enough followers before you post such queries.
  • 4. Promoting our interest/business
a. Can be used as a Marketing tool
b. Post updates with links to your website, special information
c. Mark it to interested people, if you think they may be interested in the info

Effective ways to use Twitter from various devices-
  • 1. PC/Laptop
a. Always use an Twitter ready browser (eg RockMelt browser)
b. Get real time updates, no need to log into Twitter account to see new tweets.
c. Going through the update should not take more than 2-3 secs per update (In fact don’t waste anything more than 3-4 secs on a tweet. If found interesting, then follow the full story)
d. If found interesting, open the link in another Tab
e. When you have spare time, open the Tab and go through the information
  • 2. Smart Phone
a. Subscribe to unlimited access to net on Smart Phone
b. Get real time updates on smart phones
c. Click on short links on the tweets for the whole story
d. Refresh the updates every 2/3 hrs to avoid disturbance in regular work
e. Check out the tweets to utilize the time while travelling

Lastly, some Tips for effective Tweeting:
  • Do’s
    1. To start with, Sign up on Twitter
    2. Fill complete details on profile page
    3. Search for friends already using tweeter and follow them (who you feel have like views)
    4. Search who your friends are following and follow them
    5. Search for your interests, start following a couple of tweeters in your area of interest
    6. Follow Websites.
    7. In fact, you can link up your Tweeter and FaceBook accounts to maximize the reach of your Tweets.
    8. You should definitely Tweet, Reply to Tweets (addressed to you) and Re Tweet (RT) if you find anything interesting. Remember, knowledge grows only when it is spread.

    Dont’s
    1. Don’t follow unnecessary people
    2. Don’t follow more than 2/3 people on any specific interest
    3. Don’t follow someone just because he is a celebrity/public figure, unless you have specific interest in him
    4. Don’t Tweet unnecessarily. Nobody would be interested what you had for lunch (unless you are SRK)
    5. Don’t use Twitter in Business hours, it will be a waste of time. If you find any interesting topic, save it in a new tab and open it when you have spare time. Pls treat this as a warning, as Tweeting and Following is highly addictive.
Now you are equipped to Tweet effectively. Get wired and Stay Ahead.

And lastly, post your feedback on the article. ReTweet this article. Post it on Facebook. Spread the knowledge. Like it has been said, knowledge grows only when it is spread.

1 comment:

Nikhil ... on the move ! said...

Hi Purvesh,

Indeed a very good article. And it always amazes me why so many of my friends are still not using twitter. What I strongly believe is there are things that discourage people on twitter to maintain the communication over twitter - Easy usage knowledge & very important "sense of communicating your thoughts in 140 characters" and that too instant. Facebook inspires your creativity and easy to share and collaborate. Twitter on other hand is more on power of speech ...err.. thought i should say. Hope your article inspires some to some extent.


My few correction to your thought though.. on above article.. Twitter in India is fastest growing medium and stands 18th country in usage. It is however difficult to directly get information on users with their geographic location as twitter does not map that but do it more from location mapping or geotagging (hastags). You can still search tweets from search.twitter.com within miles/kms from your IP locations. Its very interactive than you think.. The beauty of twitter is you need to follow and followed by people you maynot even know. Facebook is a place where you are followed and follow only friends. The day you start connecting "strangers" of your interest you will love it... and donot forget the even reply/direct messages to them.

Tweets donot have a shelf life, they remain forever (atleast untill now). Infact your public timelines do get crawled by search engines and you may even google search your old tweets if you are lucky. The timing of your thought to that situation for which it was text'd, ofcourse gets off shelf.. no fun if you read if late :)

There is no "who should use Twitter" in twitter rule book.. I don't think they have a age limit even !! I think your correct statement should be "Who should use Twitter for What !" :)

Whats missing in your article is the basic twitter service through SMS. Thats how twitter is born and most of twitter population is on same (140 Characters limit will live longer !!). People who are enabled on PC/Laptop/SmartPhone/Blackberry are only one step away from happy tweeting daily. But not so many are lucky. Infact people only on mobile (basic/smartphone/BB) are frequent tweeters (unless there are commercial tweeples). It doesn't help for these people even if they watch twitter community grow but their hesitance or no knowledge on basic service will keep them at bay. Or if they know you may call they are far from sms expensive service untill everyone realises that every data is at cost ;)

So Happy Tweeting .. and keep blogging and you may be heard from all like-minded tweeples.

Cheers @nikhild77