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! :)

One thought on “How to effectively use twitter!!? (FIVE suggestions)

  1. That was just Cool!! I just created a tweeter account for me and today I got so many tips and tricks! Wow!!…by the way till now my experience about tweeter was – "Its such a waste of time!!" so let's see if my experience gets any better with these tips :-)

    Thx – Rupendra

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