How I Use Twitter

I first started using Twitter for stalking. No, seriously. Somehow I managed to secure a summer internship with the guys at Distilled and was curious to know what they were like, what interested them and what they were reading. So I tracked down most of their profiles and clicked follow - its a great way to gain a little insight into new, interesting people without being instrusive. The great thing is they’re happy to share (I mean ‘tweet’) what they’re doing online by posting in the first place.

The next big “out of the box” win from using Twitter to follow lots of blogs. I’ve used iGoogle as my homepage previously to follow a few select blogs - SEOmoz, Signal vs. Noise and Seth Godin amongst others - but on Twitter its much easier to follow more different places and people publishing interest content, and then picking and choosing posts and videos according to what’s interesting, so my time isn’t soaked up checking lots of sites individually.

Even better, I was introduced to a tool called Summify which takes your Twitter feed, and creates a daily summary email of the top tweeted stories by the people you’re following. So now all the best information finds me without me lifting a finger - beats leafing through a magazine filled with lots of irrelevant information and ads doesn’t it?

A follow-on from my internship, Twitter is a great tool for keeping in touch. I feel awful sending emails to busy guys - its not like they need any more in their inbox. Twitter however is great for short, interesting messages which keep you in touch and relationships on the boil. No, you can’t be face-to-face all the time with everyone, but you can be connecting online.

As my confidence on Twitter grew, I began to share interesting links and news, using tools like bit.ly to shortern URLs down to keep the character count under 140 characters, and hashtags (which Twitter users add to tag tweets to a topic - e.g. #startup). This is great for engaging and sharing with guys who you’ve met elsewhere offline, like at a conference.

Finally, the most exciting use of Twitter is engaging with heroes online. Richard Branson’s online and ready to talk to you but so’s the smaller, more specialist guys like Jason Fried, Co-Founder of 37signals who reach out to huge numbers of people online on an individual basis who are tweeting about their software. That’s really powerful - nothing else can really match that.

When my Economics teachers recommended reading more around the subject ahead of University applications, it was Twitter I turned my attention to first. By running a simple ‘rinse and repeat’ of what I’d done engaging in the search marketing and startup world, I’ve read, watched and learnt loads more Economics and been opened to a raft of new opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to.

In Summary

  1. Great for stalking and engaging your heroes and people who share your interests, in a socially-acceptable way
  2. Phenomenal tool (especially partnered with Summify) for making optimal use of your daily reading time by having the best, curated stuff come to you.
  3. Unmatched for keeping in touch with busy people who otherwise might be inconvenienced by an email or phone call

The important thing is to find the value of Twitter for you; what I found is that there’s value out of the box because it makes finding awesome stuff to read and watch so much easier and quicker.

Go to Twitter Now

Seth Godin on Social Networking

Suggested People to Follow

If you’re just getting started on Twitter, here’s a couple of interesting profiles to follow in the startup and entrepreneurial space:

  1. Seth Godin’s blog feed
  2. Inc. Magazine
  3. Mixergy
  4. Fast Company

How to Use Twitter for Business

SEOmoz, one of my favourite company’s and blogs, shares how they scaled a successful Twitter following. Worth watching if you’re trying to make Twitter work for your business.

Wistia

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