Tim Collins’ The Little Book of Twitter leapt out at me from the sale table at Indigo Books on Sunday and with a sticker price of only $2.00, I just had to buy it! I decided that it’s high time I learn how to use Twitter as effectively as possible and as the book advertises, Get Tweetwise!
After using Twitter for over a year, sporadically at best, I had figured out much of what The Little Book of Twitter has to offer but it did present me with a few great tips that I wasn’t aware of. It’s also chock full of humour (that Tim Collins should be a stand-up comedian!) and I caught myself laughing out loud a few times. In fact, it is just as entertaining as it is useful.
You can learn how to tweet yourself clever, discover whether or not you’re a twitterholic, ten types of Twitter twat, the strangest twittersonas, and learn about some celebrity twits (I mean tweeters, no, twitterati!) and their scandals: who’s been twitterjacked and who has a ghost-tweeter:
“While it’s understandable that celebrities might turn to ghost-writers for help with full-length autobiographies, it’s pretty sad if they can’t even manage a sentence all on their own [Fiddy Cent]. What next? Paying someone to speak and move for you so you can sit still all day in a massive bathtub full of money?”
Aside from learning some Tweologisms and other jargon and abbreviations, I did glean some useful tidbits. In Everything you need to know about Twitter in 10 tweets, #7 Desktop applications such as TweetDeck (which you can download from tweetdeck.com) will help you get more out of Twitter. “TweetDeck lets you arrange the people you’re following into groups, which will then appear as additional columns. This is especially useful if you’re following so many people that the updates of those that you’re actually interested in are getting lost.” There are other interesting Twitter tools listed as well.
This ‘#’ is a hashtag, which appears before a word or phrase, and tweeters use them to make it easier to search for a topic they’re interested in. If you use “a hashtag in your tweet it will create a link that takes people to all the other recent tweets on the same subject.”
You have to decide how you want to use Twitter in order to get the most out of it. You can keep in contact with family and friends, meet new people, follow others, or use it as a promotional tool. One thing is certain you must know and follow the netiquette of Twitter.
• Don’t overtweet
• Don’t undertweet
• Don’t worry about answering the question “What are you doing?”
• Don’t go overboard with abbreviations
• Don’t boast
• Don’t tweet about how many followers you have
• Don’t post updates than span more than one tweet
• Don’t try to use up the whole 140 characters every single time
• Be subtle with your plugs
• Give a bit of explanation for your links
• Retweet instead of passing off the tweets of others as your own
• Don’t retweet everything in your feed
• Don’t send everyone who follows you an automatic message of thanks
• Don’t drink and tweet
• Don’t tweet if nothing whatsoever has changed in your life since your last tweet
• Don’t only send @ replies to celebrities
• Restrict boring conversations to direct messages
• Don’t put personal things in @ messages
How do you decide if you want to follow someone back? “Take a look at the kind of links they’re posting. Will these be useful to you, or will they spam you with the same link in every update? Look at their ratio of following to followers. If they follow thousands of people but few people follow them back, it’s not a great sign.” Boy, do I have some unfollowing to do with my account!
It is important to note that when using Twitter for marketing or promoting anything, the principles are much the same as for personal use. “If you interact with people by replying to their tweets, you’ll have a much greater presence than if you just use Twitter to broadcast.” And that’s the tricky part, because using it properly requires effort and takes TIME. I have been a guilty broadcaster and I must change my naughty ways!
Finally, when you decide that you do have the time for Twitter, be sure to adhere to the Ten Commandments of Twitter:
1. Thou shalt interact.
2. Thou shalt not spam.
3. Thou shalt tweet when thou hast something worth tweeting about.
4. Thou shalt not continue thy messages over multiple tweets. What dost thou think this is, thy blog?
5. Thou shalt honour thy Stephen Fry.
6. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt retweet instead.
7. Thou shalt not LOL unless something’s really funny. Like thou art snorting coffee out of thy nose or something.
8. Thou shalt not turn every @ message into a link to thy blog.
9. Thou shalt not follow false idols. Only those idols who write their own tweets rather than getting their publicists to do it for them are worthy of thy attention.
10. Remember the #followfriday [the tradition of suggesting new people to follow on a Friday] and keep it holy.