I get a lot of questions about Twitter from business people all over, but I’m not going to explain Twitter here – that’s being done and done again by the hoard of Twitter ‘experts’ that have popped up. You know who you are – and you’re all very good at it. Guy Kawasaki, who is a self-proclaimed Professional Twitterer discusses his Twitter use in his recent video with Robert Scoble along with his new book and what AllTop is all about. I do not know Guy, but I do follow him and know enough people who know him directly that I suspect we’ll connect eventually.
I’ve been a Twitter user since early 2007 (Twitterholic says since January 2007) and like everyone else, I’ve also been elated at the increasing interest shown in the technology. For me, it’s a continuing vindication of the technology (and my behavior) in a larger community and a sign that social media usage continues to be alive and well.
What I do want to do in this post is talk a bit about how I use Twitter and share a perspective on how to not get overwhelmed by it or with it.
How Do I Use Twitter – I share bits of my live and activities on Twitter and it seems like every day or so something new is attached to the Twitter API enhancing and extending it’s usefulness. It’s still bright and shiny after even two and a half years later. My TwitterGrade is a 99.5, and while I cannot pretend to understand how they set the grading algorithm, it establishes me as one of the top Tweeters in Phoenix at #31.
My behavior on Twitter is not tailored nor meant to amassing a huge audience, I have less than 1,000 followers today that is growing slowly and I only follow 643. I use it almost daily however with 3,600 tweets or posts. I like to share a morning greeting and then several posts throughout the day.
I’ll tweet from my MotoQ these days and log onto the Twitter.m site to check messages periodically, but when I try and manage my Tweeting activity via the SMS interface on the Moto Q and I cannot manage it well – the flow is just too great. Chris Brogan shared a tip once with me when I suggested the flow was too great and sent me a link on it, all over Twitter.
What I Post on Twitter – Random observances, activities I’m engaged in, links to pictures I want to share, info on events for the community, a morning greeting, an evening good night, and periodically, snippets of wisdom from the recesses of my brain / personality. No intentional pattern or topic often, pure Steven Groves always.
I used to post my daily posts on my blog too, but the volume of posts surpassed the other content I was putting up so it was just adding to the noise. I removed the posts and changed the setting on my TwitterTools WordPress plug in to once a week – may have to remove it.
Two Computers; one Tweeter – I have two computers at my desk and on the desktop server that handles media and print services, I have TweetDeck running so whenever I am at the desk I can dedicate a screen to Twitter. I love TweetDeck and it’s the best tool I have come across that helps manage the flow that comes from my follower base – nut it is best on a large screen and when you can set up multiple columns to sort out the tweet-flow real time.
What Can You Do on Twitter These Days? I came across the Twitter Fan Wiki and was really amazed at the number and diversity of applications that have been developed using the Twitter platform. From local clients, like TweetDeck, Chirrup, or Twirl to badges for your blog / website / Facebook page and an application called TweetWhatYouEat, so you can track what you eat, tracking for a diet for example. The list of apps is really pretty amazing.
How I Follow – I do not auto-follow anyone. I look over a Twitter profile and then decide how to respond to the follow. I’ve not had to block anyone either, but I’m pretty easy going and no one I follow behaves poorly in my sense of propriety. If the follow is from someone with say 2,000 follows, 100 followers and 3 tweets, I often deem them a spammer and will not follow back. With those type of stats, Twitter will take care of them soon enough. If they follow me with 20,000 followers, 20,000 followed and thousands of posts – I follow them. If I get a new user who follows me, with say 10 follows, 3 followers and 2 posts I often give them the benefit of the doubt and will follow back. Tweeters in Arizona, I follow; in real estate, I follow; in social media, I follow.
Verdict – Twitter is here to stay. It should be adopted by businesses and business people who want to listen / connect to prospects, customers and stakeholders.
Biz Stone and the rest of the Twitter gang have recently secured something like $35M in funding and this all pre-revenue. How they will monetize the technology is still pending, but with that kind of war chest, they have a little time to figure it out. I suspect it’ll not be via the individual user model, or even the single-account business user. It may come from the power of the Twitter platform put to some other application – it is a very powerful and now well proven technology that supports one-to-many, many-to-many and many-to-one connectivity – where does business need that kind of capability? Hmm… almost everywhere.