Saturday, March 07, 2009

Experience on Twitter

I have a confession to make: FaceBook and MySpace just aggravate me. Too much work for too little return.

Hoping that Twitter would suit me better, I joined that social networking site last July. But, after two posts, I walked away from it, too.

In early February, I decided to give Twitter another try . . . and to take the time to figure out how to make it work for me.

Some information may be helpful to people thinking about joining Twitter. First, your posts are limited to 140 characters, about two sentences. I find it a useful limit.

Second, Twitter is asynchronous, meaning that messages are posted, but not necessarily read by people at the same time they are posted.

Third, it is useful to remember that information spreads virally on Twitter, using the disease propagation model I described yesterday here. Information spreads on Twitter like a cold, passed from one person to the next via personal contact.

Twitter has its own language, which is cute enough to give you a sugar overload. A message is called a Tweet. When one person picks up on another's message and spreads it to others, it is called ReTweeting (abbreviation RT).

A retweeted message will be in this model:

RT @MyBestFriend She says to read Mike Shatzkin's blog. Here's the URL.

When you join Twitter, you have both a "following" and "followers." Your following are those persons whose posts you read. Your followers are those persons who read your posts.

When I abandoned Twitter last year it was because of the massive overload of messages I was receiving. This time around, the sheer volume of messages forced me to look for an app to help manage the flood. I took Mike Hyatt's recommendation and downloaded TweetDeck, which allows you to sort your followers into groups. I created about six groups for My Friends, Fellow Authors, Publishing Insiders, News and Info, etc.

Now I only glance down the complete list of messages about once a day. The rest of the time, I go directly to my groups where I have far fewer messages that I can scan in less than a minute, mark them as read and erase them.

I've learned to try and mix up the kind of tweets I post: I offer information/news in some and personal impressions in others.

In less than a month, I've picked up 117 Twitter followers. I can also see about a 10% to 12% increase in traffic to my blog.

Twitter now has a search feature and a trends feature. You can see the top ten subjects being followed on Twitter at any one moment.

I am quite happy with my Twitter experience. I get quick messages from people I like, I get up-to-date news very quickly and . . . to top it off . . . I got a great Lentil Rice Pilaf recipe from Gina Black. Thanks, Gina. Made the recipe last night with brown rice. It was fabulous!!

Taking Sunday off. See you on Monday.

1 comment:

Gina Black said...

So glad you liked the recipe. And glad you like Twitter too. To me it seems like some odd combination of passing notes in class and skywriting. ;)