What is this all about? or, How do I Start?
Most people have at least one of the above questions when they first look at twitter with it’s simple layout and small, short posts.
This is no surprise, after all, if you are brand new to twitter, after creating a profile, all you have is your page and a blank timeline. What is the point?
The answer has changed a lot over the last 5 years as Twitter has grown to be one of the largest networks on the interwebs. What began as ostensibly a quick, simple way to update friends and family as to your whereabouts, plans, happenings, etc. has become a way for strangers from all over the globe to – well, do the same things, and more.
To understand a little better, let’s start with some basics.
Who uses Twitter?
Writers, businesses, bloggers, artists, musicians, bands, entrepreneurs, politicians, Mom, Dad, Sis… they all use twitter ( OK, my Mom and Dad don’t, but they are even weirder than I ) . You will easily find people from all parts and walks on twitter at just about any hour.
Why use Twitter?
Why did Paul Revere have lanterns hung in the old church? Why did the Times have newsboys on the corner shouting headlines? Why does Coke spend millions of dollars having digital polar bears spread holiday cheer?
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You have a message to spread! Twitter is one of the easiest and fastest ways to spread a message – but you have to be patient, your first tweets are not going to be read by half-a-million people. It takes some doing to build a following. Even after months, you may only be reaching a few hundred people, but if they are the right people, you will see huge benefits.
How do I use Twitter?
If you are using Twitter already, you are doing it wrong! Why? Because you are not doing it like me.
HA! Oh, man, I read a statement like that every day. There are all sorts of opinions on how to best use twitter. Most of them dis-agree with each other, at least on a few points.
Twitter has many uses, some were mentioned above. As an artist or musician, it is a safe bet that you plan to use the service to spread word about your work, and maybe garner a few fans.
Maybe you think you might be able to land a few gigs, or meet a good producer. Perhaps you need to get your schedule out or find a publisher. All of these things and much more are possible on Twitter. But, the use you may not have thought of is how many benefits you will find for yourself.
As you meet and follow people on twitter, if you are really using it, you will undoubtedly begin to check out their works and shared links and info. You may be amazed at the knowledge you gain and the fun you have.
Back to the Top
So, now we have a clue, let’s get started. Here are a few tips to get you going. We’ll examine some best practices in a little while, man.
First, have a look around. That’s right, before you even create a profile, have a look at some other people’s profiles, see what they look like and what they did to make their personal page interesting. You don’t get a lot of flash to work with, so you will want to make certain you set up a good theme. You may want to dig up a few people who are similar to you and pay close attention to what they are doing.
Set up a profile. Simple enough, you probably already have done this with at least one other social site, and the principals are the same, so I won’t bore you with the details.
As you get toward the end of the set-up process, you will be offered a list of subjects to choose from for following content. As you check a subject, you will get a list of “tweeters” that often tweet those subjects, grab a few to follow, you’ll find all sorts of people. Don’t worry, if you wind up not liking a person’s tweets, it’s a simple one click process to never have to see them again.
Now let’s watch what goes on around us for a bit, at least for a few minutes. Read some tweets, check out some links, and generally try to familiarize yourself with what’s goin’ down.
You will quickly see that there are folks tweeting nothing but links to comics, or “look at me”, jokes, quotes, videos, music, self-help, conversation (my favorite) – you name it, it’s getting tweeted 24/7. Check it out and use what you see to help guide you in developing a twitter style.
Say Hi. Now it’s time to say howdy to the twitter-verse. You may jump right in with “Hey, go check out my most awesome music at…” but I would suggest a friendlier enticement. Something more like an introduction, you know, “Hi, I’m Me”…
Chances are some of the people you followed at first will send you a “Thank you” message. This is a good opportunity to hit the “reply” button and say Hello. Start a conversation and go from there.
Okey-dokey, you’re started.
It’s that easy to get going on twitter. You will quickly develop a few questions, everyone does. I’ll try to answer some of those for you in part deux. We’ll look at some twitter terms and strategies to build your following and spread the good will.
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