A while back my colleague @LizzieD wrote a great post about How to Twitter. In it she gave you a bunch of tips on how to get started: choosing a name, getting followers, tweeting basics, etc. For all five of you not yet on Twitter, I highly suggest checking it out. For the rest of you already tweeting, (and for the newbies who just joined because Oprah told them to) I thought I’d give you my version of Twitter 101. Here are a couple of the insider tricks to improve your relationship with Twitterverse.
• @ replies vs. DM’s. You’ve probably seen a lot of “@ing” and “DM Me’s” going on and you may be wondering what the difference is and the etiquette for use. As a rule of thumb, I would recommend using @ replies whenever possible, simply because it is a much more social tool. (Isn’t that the point of social media?) Plus it may help the person you are replying to, gain some extra followers. Your loyal followers will see your @ reply in their stream and may become intrigued to learn more about the person with which you are having a conversation. Their followers may in turn find you intriguing. Voila, new followers for all.
That being said, don’t abuse the @ replies. If you are having an extended conversation with a friend on a subject that no one but the two of you could find interesting, may be time to switch to a DM. DM’s are also good for soliciting advice and or services from your followers.
• Your phone. Lizzie mentioned setting up your phone so that you can text your tweets. Definitely do that. That way you’ll always be ready when the inspiration strikes. For those of you who have an iPhone or Blackberry, you can download apps so that not only can you tweet at a moments notice, but you can also check your stream, see your @ replies and get your DM’s. For a Blackberry I’d recommend Twitterberry and for an Iphone I know @bgindra is a fan of twitterlator.
• Tweetdeck. Sorry Twhirl, but there is a new/better service to help you organize your twitter stream. It takes all of one minute to download and it will change your life. Slight exaggeration, but really. If you are someone who has been tweeting for a while, you may have accumulated a lot of followers. Over time, you’ll find some of these followers tweets are not as relevant to you as others (cough taylor swift, cough) or that some people just tweet entirely too often. Tweetdeck has solved this problem by allowing you to create groups of people. I have a “fave” group where I put all the people who are so intersting, I don’t want to miss a single tweet from them. The rest, I can scroll through when I want to get a pulse on what’s going on in the Twitterverse but don’t necessarily have to read every last update. Tweetdeck also allows you to create steams of search terms and they just added a feature that streams in your facebook statuses. I know. Amazing.
• Hashtags – hashtags are Twitter’s attempt to organize info. They are used best at events so that everyone at a certain conference, expo or party can see what everyone else at the event is tweeting. For instance, at South by Southwest there was a hashtag of #SWSX. Every time anyone wanted to tweet about the event, they’d put #SWSX at the end of it. The conference then put screens up all around that had all of the real-time, scrolling updates about South by Southwest. If you weren’t at the event and wanted to see what was going on, you could click on the hashtag link or visit search.twitter.com and type the hashtag in.
Last and certainly not least. . .
• Twit pic. You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Or in this case, 140 characters. Upload your image to twitpic.com and type in a caption. Note, the caption you type in will automatically become your tweet.
These are a lot of the basics, but there really is so much more. Feel free to leave me a comment with anything you think I’ve missed. Happy tweeting!