Okay, so I'm probably the last person on the world wide web to join Twitter, but that's exactly what I did yesterday: I set up my Twitter account.
"Go, Lynn!" right? LOL You'll find it at: http://twitter.com/lynnterry
I've heard quite a bit about Twitter, as I'm sure you have, but I havent seen a huge need to join in on the twittering. In fact, from what I could tell it appeared to be another one of those things that would eat up a lot of the free time I simply dont have. So why am I 'twittering' now? And what exactly is twitter?...
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send "updates" (or "tweets"; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter website, via short message service (e.g. on a cell phone), instant messaging, or a third-party application. source
Basically you set up an account and at any given time you answer the question "What Are You Doing" in 140 characters or less. To get a visual demonstration, see this video by Lee LeFever:
How do you Twitter?
Actually, I think its called "tweet", but I am still learning the twitter-language. If you need a quick run-down of the twitter terms yourself, see the Twitter Glossary so you dont look like a twit when you're supposed to be a tweeter .
At any rate, I'm finding there are multiple ways to tweet and I am currently using two of them: on the web, by logging into twitter.com and via cell phone by sending a text message to twitter (which I just tested).
Its all very simple. Whether you are using your cell phone or mobile device, or sitting at your computer, you simply type in "what you are doing" at any given time... that's it.
Yes and No. Its yet another way to network, make friends and gain exposure online... but its more of a short-n-sweet social atmosphere than it is a marketing tool. That said, there is certainly some marketing potential. According to Chris Brogan its an easy way to double your blog traffic.
And Darren Rowse, Mr Problogger himself, obviously sees some potential in it as he just launched Pay-Per-Tweet.
That was of course launched on April Fool's Day
Seriously though, with millions of users already 'tweeting'... there must be something to it. And consider the number of phonecalls you get where someone asks What are you doing? or Hows it going? or Whatcha into?. Maybe people really do want to know what we are doing...
During the webinar yesterday, Rick called it permission-based stalking .
But it begs the question, particularly when used for business networking or marketing: just how much do people want to know? Should you share the details of your entire day, minute for minute, or simply make ocassional updates about your business only?
I am going test Twitter throughout the month of April, and will let you know what I discover along the way. I will use the site as intended, giving daily updates about "what I am doing" with a mix of both personal and business updates. It seems like a great way to connect with like-minded people, and an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other on a more personal and fun level... while still sharing links and updates about your online business.
Are there Twitter Widgets?
Yes, yes and yes! One that has already been recommended to me is http://www.twhirl.org/ (thanks Katherine!) which is a desktop application that makes being a TWIT super easy (comes easy enough for some people!). Oops - again, I think its "tweeter" - not "twit" - but I get this image of Cowboy Tweeter in my head every time I say that ... Please dont make me tell you that story
For more cool twitter widgets, see: http://twitter.pbwiki.com/Apps
Twitter Tips and Tricks
Since I am a new Tweeter (haha, still laughing) I'll refer you to some of the top twitter tip sheets (say that real fast!) I found across the web:
- Tips for Bloggers on How to Use Twitter
- 35 Twitter Tips from 35 Twitter Users
- 10 Ways Twitter Can Boost Your Social News Profile
If you tweet, be sure to include your Twitter URL below when you leave a comment. That way we can all
stalk follow each other!