What I Meant To Say

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Why is it that you always think of the perfect thing to say after the fact?  Last night was no exception.  I taught an overview of Twitter and all the good things came to me after the class had left.  I’m left feeling as if I let them down by not passing along this info.  I had so much in my head, so much I had planned to show and talk about but somehow there is never enough time.

So here is a list of things I hope I pointed out but in case I didn’t:

  • Your follower/following ratio – this ratio should not be horribly lopsided.  5 followers but following 500 isn’t good.  More than likely that person is just in it for the numbers (so folks just want to have the most followers but aren’t really using Twitter correctly).
  • Before you follow – view their profile.  Is their bio filled out?  Who are they following?  What is their follower/following ratio?  Read some of their tweets, all of them help you to decide is this person really someone I want to follow.
  • Twitter vs. Facebook – Twitter is more informational.  Facebook is more fun.  Each has it’s place and they can connect (have Twitter update your status on Facebook) but I don’t get the same level of information on Facebook as I do on Twitter.
  • To understand Twitter you need to use Twitter.  Not that the concept is so hard to grasp just that it can have so many applications depending on what you want from it.
  • I did say this but feel I should elaborate – Twitter is what you get out of it.  I use it to stay on top of trends (professionally or just what’s going on in the world), I use it to stay informed (following BBCnews, BreakingNews, NyTimes as well as several experts in the social media arena), I use it to connect to others in my profession, I use it for note taking (I’ve live blogged a photography class I attend at the library just using Twitter.  Because I hashtagged my Tweets I was able to go back later and put all my notes into a cohesive blog post).
  • Use Twitter for what you want but be real.  If you want to connect with other like minded folks, Twitter is great for that.  If you want to promote your business, non-profit, favorite charity, etc. it is also great for that.  Just beware.  Don’t be an institution.  People want to follow real people no matter whether is it a Mom who is looking to connect to other stay at home Moms or it is a Fortune 500 company trying to connect with their customers.  Let your personality shine through on your tweets.  Don’t be stuffy.  Also don’t make it all about you – engage a conversation with your customers.  Make yourself approachable.  Twitter is just another doorway into your business – good customer service extends to the web as well.
  • Protecting your tweets isn’t always a good thing.  If you are out on the social web the point is to share.  I understand about wanting to be in control of what you share with others.  Protecting your tweets just puts another layer between you and the people/customers who may want to follow you.  This also keeps your tweets out of searches.  So if I search for dog grooming and your are a dog groomer with protected tweets I’m not going to see you and you may miss an opportunity for business.  What are you protecting?  Think twice before you protect your tweets.
  • Be patient.  Give it a try.  Twitter wasn’t built in a day.  You need to try it on, take it out for a test drive, kick the tires a little bit before you decide.  The social web has a web site for everyone – Twitter maybe for you or it may not.  But at least give it a try.
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4 Responses to What I Meant To Say

  1. Ray Cole says:

    Thanks for the after-thoughts, Beth. I have passed your contact information to another senior who is planning a Facebook course to be taught at Howard County senior centers. I hope you can squeeze him into your next course so he can better prepare for his course.

    I plan to contact you within the next week to appraise you of the Computer Seniors courses which are taught at five senior centers. In those cases where your elderly students need some hand holding, hopefully they can be directed to our courses.

    Ray Cole

    • mlibrarianus says:

      Ray happy I could help. I’m sure we can find a way to squeeze one more person in somehow. I’ll let the person giving that class know (she is very accommodating). I look forward to hearing from you.

  2. ileaneb says:

    Hi Beth,

    There is never enough hours in a day for us social media addicts to talk about twitter. Just going through the list of our favorite applications goes on forever. I used Topsy.com for the first time about 2 weeks ago and I think it is so cool that you can search on a link you have tweeted and see all of the tweeple that retweeted you. I think Topsy would be another good way to keep up with hashtags.

    Now that everyone is creating lists, that opens up a whole new conversation (debate). In general I think they are a good thing but someone put me in their “seo experts” list and now all of the “make money online” people are following me. It’s ironic because I am far from being an expert on seo. And just like you said, you need to look at their twitter stream to see if you want to follow back, which takes a lot of time.

    As far as “lopsided” ratios go – I like the people that have hundreds of followers but they are only following a handful of people. I have lucked up and found good people to follow in those situations.

    Thanks for the post!

    • mlibrarianus says:

      There are SO many great tools out there and Twitter is just one of them. That doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of tools you can use to help you use the original tool (did that make sense?).

      Twitter has grown by leaps and bounds since it’s inception. It is now used by so many different types of people for so many different purposes. Love the list idea but again I guess you have to look a bit deeper than just a list of names. One the points I’m now stressing with people – read the bio, click on the website link if there is one, see who they are following (I think who you follow says something about you more so than those who follow you) and most importantly read the Tweets!

      See ya on the Interwebs.

      Beth

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