How to effectively use twitter!!? (FIVE suggestions)

Note – this post is supposed to be both a joke and source of information at same time. 🙂
It is a joke because twitter gyan is coming from someone like me who hardly knows anything about twitter or microblogging.
Although I got a twitter account more than 2 years back.. but it was only recently that I started getting more and more active on twitter and actually even I am in middle of learning to effectively use this amazing tool – I am still not a twitaholic 🙂 if I may say so, although not necessarily a bad thing I would say.
But still this post is supposed to be informative for people who have not yet adopted twitter, they constantly see it mentioned in traditional media – they are wondering from the sidelines, what is this ho-halla all about and is this for real?

Let me start by mentioning that this week I got few twitter replies from few Indian celebrities – and I will hate to admit that it really felt good 🙂 … that is probably an understatement – I was actually grinning like a three year old girl 🙂 … even my wife asked me what happened after seeing that unusual grin on my face 🙂

The first twitter reply came from a popular Indian blogger iPatrix who blogs here and twits here. The complete twit conversation can be followed here.
Second reply was by Academy Award nominee director Shekhar Kapur himself 🙂 The complete conversation can be followed here.
Ok, enough of self promotion and congratulation. 🙂 … I will get onto the subject now.
As for any journey, it is best to ask yourself following questions as you start your twitter journey-
1. Who is your target audience?
If I take my example – I have roughly 300 friends at facebook/orkut/linkedin (same friends everywhere :)) – and I do have constant interaction with them on all these social networking sites – and I feel totally connected.
But same is not true for twitter? why? many reasons-
a) There is very less number of my friends who have signed up on twitter.
b) Even lesser number from those signed up are those who actually tweet. (because most of them signed up and then got inactive after 1-2 tweets)
c) Lastly, it is almost negligible is those who tweet something I can relate to and want to reply or retweet.
So that makes twitter totally unfit to interact with my real world friends.
And that leaves twitter as a platform to interact with “strangers” – or more specifically with real world celebrities!!
And probably that is the reason why it is so popular among the celebrities. Because they have such an easy medium to reach out to masses, get direct feedback from the people that matters most – “the public”.
And for us also it is a great medium to get unbiased views from those larger than life celebrities – unfiltered and frank – some of them have god like stature and fan following.
And that brings answer to the first question we asked – one should use twitter mainly for celebrity following. (and that is my own personal opinion, you may agree or disagree – but I see twitter mainly for celebrity following)
Let’s move on to the next question-
2. Do I really have time and energy to use twitter? Why another social networking tool after so many that I already use?
That is a very relevant question.
Since we already spend too much time online – facebook, google, RSS, news – all those things combined take almost all of our time – some of which we should spend in “real world” with “real people networking” that matters most 🙂
Twitter is really a “timepass” tool – it should be done at the time say when you have time to play solitaire or minesweeper, that is you dont have anything else useful to do.
That is the reason I really got active on twitter only after I bought iphone recently- I bring it out when I am really not doing anything and start reading tweets, replying and retweeting.
And probably that is the reason I will say is that twitter is a mobile application (although they do have rigorous desktop support) – but mobile is what brings best in twitter experience.
3. Ok, I am signed up on twitter and ready to follow celebrities – but how?
The key to remember here is whomever you “follow” on twitter will start showing up on your twitter homepage.
This is good and bad.
Good if you are really a big-die-hard fan of someone, then you will definitely want his twit to appear on your twitter homepage.
This is exactly what I tried in beginning … since I dont have anyone particular I wanted to follow – so I tried following all of them!!
But then it made my twitter homepage cluttered with nonsense coming from all celebrities – most of which I didnt care about. That also made the more relevant tweets coming from my friends to get buried at back. (and there are very few of them as I mentioned already).
Twitter gods must have realized my dilemma as just then they introduced concept of “twitter lists” – where you can create a list of people, but you dont necessary follow them.
Hence I invested one of my weekends in trying that and burned a list of all Indian celebrities I wanted to follow through lists. (and I unfollowed all those celebrities too)
A note before I move on further – you dont need to invest your weekend burning a list like this. All you need to do is find a list created by anybody (I believe all lists are “public” by nature) and then use some of below tricks to “follow” it. It may again sound self-promotion, but you can follow my lists also if it saves you time.
Anyways, once I had those lists created – it opens up a new pandora box of opportunities how I want to follow those lists – which I am still experimenting with.
As a simple example – I created a mash up webpage – where all of the tweets show up real time – and that is one of my favourite timepass pages now. (rather than running here and there, just sit on this page and read them all).
When I got iphone, I tried few apps to find which one supports lists in a good way – and finally hit TweetDeck which has a good interface, just like I was looking for.
4. Setting the expectations correct!!
The last thing is that don’t expect to start having real conversations with Shahrukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar 🙂 – or any other celebrities. You can start by following (or as mentioned just “list”ing) and just reading there tweets. Then you can retweet some of their tweets to share with your own friends (followers).
If you reply to their tweets – then expect no reply from them – as they get thousand tweets like yours – so the only way all can be replied if they have hired someone to pose as them, which will then defeat the whole purpose.
5. Updating multiple social networking sites status
Again taking my example – I have facebook, orkut, twitter, gtalk, linkedin accounts – and so many more. Everywhere I want to update my status and obviously doing it one by one will be foolish thing. Again, I am still experimenting on this one…. one site I did find useful till now is – a simple and FREE service that makes updating your social networks a snap!
Having said all that, what are you waiting for … get on the tweet bandwagon and start chirping … i mean tweeting! 🙂

Future of Iphone – Small(S), Medium (M), Large (L), Extra Large (XL) … or XXL!!

I saw Steve Job’s iphone keynote presentation three years back in 2007. (before it was launched and before it become a household name) … at that time hardly anyone knew about iphone (that is among my friends), but I was impressed at this first presentation itself and totally sold out.

Last week I finally bought one for myself (yeah I know .. am probably the last one on earth to buy it) … main reason for delay was I didnt think up until now that I will need a smartphone – I am connected to internet 24X7, my commute is 5 minute drive – hardly any travel – all that combined doesnt leave any room for smartphone use.
So there wasn’t really a need.
But alas my last phone crashed, and I had to “upgrade” … so I thought better get an iphone now! Why wait longer?
Then my greed grew 🙂 and I was also thinking to get an ipad too – but again I dismissed it as I dont “need” it… but it led me to thinking.
I started downloading and experimenting with iphone apps – youtube, netflix, bbc and many games – while I was getting amazed it again caused my grey cells ringing and I started thinking more-
I thought it is amazing how unsatisfied we human beings are – 100 years back there was no medium for long distance communication. Then we invented Television, Phone, radio etc … but we were not satisfied!!
We invented cellphone, internet … but we were still not satisfied!!
Then we started merging all those technologies – so a cellphone is not only a phone, but it’s a camera, laptop, radio (ipod), tv (youtube and netflix on iphone) – all combined on an IPHONE.
By the fast pace we are going – probably in next 5-10 years we will be done with this merging – then how will it all look like?
How will the electronic devices around us look like – say in 2020?
Then this ipad sarcastic image came to my mind-
This image, although so hilarious – but probably it is true.
I dont own an IPAD, but going by the presentations on apple website – it looks like ipad is nothing but a bigger IPHONE. (with almost the same features)
And maybe that is they key to our answer.
I asked myself if in future IPAD will replace IPHONE or whether IPHONE will replace IPAD.
But then I felt that the very obvious answer is – neither.
Both of them have got its own use. You can not carry an ipad in your pocket .. neither can you browse internet continuously on an iphone. (eye strain)
So if all those electronic devices will coexist then they will all have same functionality – because of the merging – the only difference will be the size.
So your Television will also be a phone and a camera. Your tablet will also be a television and a phone. And the phone which is already a mini-computer and a television.
And this is not a forecast for future … this is already happening and we are probably in middle of it.
Based on this, the communication devices of future will be divided in categories based on Size alone-
1) Size Small communication devices (eg-iphone) – basically derivatives of cellphones
-basically a swiss army knife in your pocket … will have all features with size constraints
– face to face video chat will be a norm
– probably GPS will also be just another app
2) Size Medium communication devices (eg-ipad) – basically derivatives of laptop/tablets
– you can make any phone call also through this
– watch tv on this if you dont want to disturb whole family
3) Size Large communication device (eg- internet enabled TVs) – basically derivatives of TVs
4) XXL – is obviously the large flatscreens of today 🙂 , but having all other features that say an iphone has.
I vaguely thought of below situation, so thought to put this too to end this post-
Imagine you are returning home from office. You are walking towards your car and you get a call from your dad – you pickup the call and while talking get into the car and then fix it as a GPS device, while you switch the call also to a face to face chat. Now you are driving while having face to face chat with dad (which sounds a bit dangerous too … like texting while driving, but that is a discussion for another day)
You reached home in 20 minutes and your dad wished to talk to your younger son who is playing scrabble on his ipad – now rather than handing him the phone, you just divert the call to the ipad and then your dad talks with his grandson while also playing a few moves on the scrabble game he was playing.
After 5 minutes chat, your dad wishes to talk to rest of the family who are in living room and watching “XX got talent” (where XX is the country you live in 🙂 )
Again – rather than passing phone one by one, just divert the call to your TV and use TV remote to accept – and voila your grandpa is on life size video chat on TV. Talking with whole family like he is just on the other side of balcony window. 🙂 … since your daughter is big fan of the TV show – so you may want to keep the TV show on mute on half of the screen too.
I can keep on thinking and adding more, but I guess I will stop here 🙂
Thanks for reading.