Twitting Your Way to Discovery on the Web

I have to admit that the more I use twitter, the more reason I have to place it as my number one social media site. When Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends was interviewing approximately 17 business owners wishing to know their ideal and most preferred social media sites for marketing, my trail of thought was triggered instantly. Thinking critically about her question, which was:Which social media site would you use, if your goal was to grow a small online business and was allowed only one social media site?’ I realized that Twitter seemed to be the crème de la crème of all networking sites.

If Anita had asked me that question, I would categorize it as one of the no brainer ones that I have been asked in recent years. “Twitter!” would have rolled right off my tongue and I’d have 3 solid reasons supporting my answer. Twitter is a form of acceptable eavesdropping which allows and simplifies the process of joining any conversation. It is among the quickest ways of networking with people in your niche or industry. In addition, it gives a business, individual or company a personality – what they like and dislike.

Here are three reasons why I would choose Twitter as my sole social media marketing tool.

1.) Twitter is about the conversation.

You’re probably thinking that conversations can be held on other social media sites like Facebook and even blogs. The thing is that Twitter conversations are different, so to say. To elucidate on what I mean I will have to use analogies. While blogging, you run the show. It appears like you are on a dais speaking to the crowd and interacting with them via Q & A. Facebook on the other hand allows you one on one interactions with people who have profiles which give you a lot of insight. Now comes Twitter – a huge dinner party where people are having different conversations and you are at liberty of joining any that you please or starting your own which people can join! I’d like to refer to it as ‘conversational freedom’ since you can engage in multiple conversations simultaneously.

2.) Twitter can boost your blog.

It is possible to send a tweet with a link to your latest blog entry. Very many people consider RSS Feeds outdated with the advent of such tweets and prefer tweeting for locating good content. Apart from promoting your blog, Twitter has a plethora of blog topics which you may borrow for ideas or use as your own.

3.) Twitter is networking gold.

The importance of relationships cannot be stressed enough. Anyone wishing to launch a viral campaign, build links or get bloggers reviewing and blogging about their products needs relationships. Pitching is really quite simple even to someone without a journalistic background. All you require is to offer something of value and make an effort towards conjuring a relationship.

Twitter makes pitching easier since users share both personal and business information and as a merchant you can know a lot about your target.

In an ideal world such as this, I wouldn’t suggest using only one social media networking site for marketing your brand but Twitter should be your central social networking repository.

Essentials of Twitter Lists and Scope for Improvement

Twitter has become the most widely used networking tool, which enables you to easily meet, message and network with likeminded individuals. Having said that, the main hassle with using a tool like twitter is the difficulty in organizing information, especially contact or follower names but this problem has been solved with the creation of twitter lists, which make it very easy to categorize all your information as per your requirement.
The best part of twitter lists is that it allows individuals to create the list as against other networking sites like Facebook where you have to join in a page or become a fan to create a list. The best use for such lists is that all twitter users can now get access to the public messages of twitter users under a specific category. Moreover, it allows individuals to categorize all their followers into separate categories for easy access.

Given the usefulness of twitter lists, it is important to understand that this is still in its infancy and has yet to grow, for which incidentally this concept has tremendous potential. The major drawback of this present system is that it allows only a finite number of lists, namely 20 and each list can have only a finite number of people, namely 500. This restricts the freedom of the user who now has to really prioritize the kind of category he or she really requires and also select only the most important people to form the group. Additionally, this feature has other problems, which if solved could make this an extremely useful feature for all twitter users.

All new introductions bring with them a huge scope for improvement and following are a few areas where twitter lists can definitely improve, in order to become a great asset for networking individuals and twitter users.

* Increasing the number of lists that one can create as well as increasing the number of people per list will help twitter users categorize their contacts better and with more ease.
* Simplified search tool, by which the user can actually search within a list or category is an absolute necessity as this simplifies the concept of searching through the myriad followers of an individual.
* Individual user should be given the freedom of choosing the lists he or she wants displayed on the side. * Additionally, a select set of lists pertaining to the interest of the individual user should also be displayed.
* Creating lists, under a specific category, automatically with the click of a button from the myriad people following or being followed by the user.
* Freedom to add people directly to a list and also to easily and directly send messages to people in a particular list.
* Last but not the least, the ability to combine lists, when required.

These few aspects, though simple, go a long way in making life simpler for a twitter user and should form a part of twitter lists in the future. This is very important because today a popularity of a person is measured by the number of lists he or she is a part of and hence the freedom to create more and better lists will ensure better networking and easier communication.

My Trip: I Dugg, Twittered, Mixxed and Eventually Stumbled!

social-media-bandwagon
An increasing number of online communities are vying for the top places and are fervently trying to attract new users. StumbleUpon boats of in excess of 7 million users (registered) and Twitter has about 4 million. The numbers did rise when Ashton Kutcher and NBC were in the race to get 1 million followers.

While some regard these figures as mere numbers, to many these numbers represent the population of the community that they are part of. With no ‘constitutions’ to rule over them, all that the users have to do to be heard on these platforms is do adhere by a fairly simple set of rules and regulations. With social networking continuing to gain credence, it is no surprise that these platforms are been viewed as a great way to put across views, raise issues, as well as market ones wares.

For the uninitiated, this write-up will bring to the fore a number of social networking sites that you can be part of, and also how these social networking sites will play a significant role in the things to come. If you are already part of the bandwagon, you can simply read on to build on your existing knowledge bank.

Becoming a member of a social networking site such as Twitter, StumbleUpon, Mixx, and the likes is not at all complicated. With some personal information to be furbished, and once you’ve chosen a user name, you are pretty much good to go. Mentioned below are brief descriptions of the more popular social networking sites.

Digg.com:

Digg is definitely amongst the most popular social networking site. I personally think that Digg is quite picky when it comes to choosing the content and it does take a fair amount of commitment and time for one to succeed using this platform. However, Digg is great for networking and can be fun to use, and I have made a number of friends thanks to Digg. The one thing that is of utmost important on Digg is the front page, and if your blog does reach the front page, success is inevitable (as long as you continue to put in a fair amount of effort, because other blogs are also vying for the same spot).

Reddit:

A lot is said about Reddit being the ‘geek’ platform, despite which, I continue to like it. Also, it does seem fairly easier to appear on Reddit’s homepage in comparison to Digg and the amount of traffic that it directs is easily at par with Digg. Besides, it also has a number of categories that one can choose from and also has wide comment participations. The one glitch that I noticed is that the moderators (who, incidentally, are also users) can delete other submissions randomly and do so at fairly regular intervals. Another aspect is that while one submission of yours might receive unprecedented support, other submissions might be totally ignored, for reasons you cannot quite comprehend. Lastly, despite its perceptible usability, finding your way around can be quite a pain.

StumbleUpon:

Stumbling upon this site was quite a pleasure for me, and this continues to remain my personal favorite. This social networking site seems more friendly and warm in comparison to the rest, besides having an eclectic mix of users. It gives you the ability to post your content in areas of specific interests and you get to view content that you can relate to as opposed to content that is highly voted. The best thing, according to me, is that StumbleUpon has the ability to send lingering traffic your way even after the initial popularity fades; as opposed to Digg and Reddit which only send traffic your way as long as the popularity factor is high. Besides, a majority of the people I stumbled upon here actually seem interested in things that they say interest them.

Mixx:

I heard a lot about Mixx, therefore decided to mix in it myself, and have absolutely no regrets in doing so. Mixx allowed me to create ‘groups’ in accordance to topics of my choice and I now add pertinent content to these groups. In populating these groups, one can either send out invites to other ‘Mixxers’ or just wait for other Mixxers to join of their own accord. The opportunity of making your ‘group’ private or public is a great option. Another great thing about Mixx is that you are not limited to sharing your content with other Mixxers. Using the ‘share this’ option, I could comfortably submit content to Google Bookmarks, Facebook, StumbleUpon, MySpace, Windows Live, and a few other platforms; an option that isn’t available on Digg.

Twitter:

Launched in 2006, Twitter lets its users post text messages which cannot exceed 140 characters, and is an easy to use site. Tweeter also allows tweeters to keep followers updated even when they nowhere near a computer, thanks to their cell (mobile) phone. I haven’t tried this yet but I’m sure it’s quite handy. Besides, my ‘tweets’ only go out to users who have opted to become my followers. I have noticed that a large number of businesses have now turned to using Twitter to keep their existing/probable customers updated about new products/services. I’ve hear rumors about Twitter forming an alliance with other social networking sites, but for now, rumors are what they remain to be.

Facebook:

Again, a fairly busy networking site, Facebook allows its members to upload photos besides getting to interact with other Facebook users. Owing to its multiple options, I recently moved all my pictures from Picasa to here, and these pictures can be viewed by any one of my ‘friends’ or I also have the option of keeping albums ‘private’. It also allows you to write on someone else’s wall, play games, partake in surveys, etc. One thing you should be wary of while using Facebook is your content being stolen if you are careless about it.

MySpace:

Primarily home to the younger generation, it is amongst the most populous social networking sites. If your profile age does not say you are young, do not expect too many interactions. This is also a platform that many recording artists use to interact with their fans, with a number of recording artists allowing their fans to preview upcoming releases.

FreindFeed

A relatively newer community, I think this site shows a lot of promise. A fair amount of Twitters have moved base to this site simply because of its high interaction levels; for every post of yours, you can easily expect around ten comments. This is surely a site that will rise in the days to come.

LinkedIn

This social networking site is for the corporate world. While this site is quite limited when it comes to interactions, it is a great place for businessmen looking to increase their contacts/opportunities.

I know these aforementioned descriptions are brief, so please feel free to add to what I’ve said and experienced. Also, are there any more important social networking websites that I’ve missed? Lastly, if you are already part of the growing phenomenon of social networking sites, which one do you like best and why?

Do post your comments and hopefully, this could become a rather informative page for the layman and the technocrat alike.

Cheers!

Twitter Guide- The Overview Part 2

Here’s adding to what I’ve already said about Twitter through my previous post.

Twitter – The Social News Channel:
This is what differentiates Twitter from sites such as Facebook, wherein you set up a profile and essentially connect with people you have known in the past. Twitter is more of a ‘social news channel’ where you have real time access to news from across the world which comes directly from the source, unfiltered.
One more aspect of Twitter that really appeals to me is that I get to decide who is important to me. I choose to follow people who can influence me positively, as opposed to people tweeting about where and when they had coffee.
A recent survey showed that only 10% Twitters actually Tweet, which goes to show that this is not a place where everybody is doing the talking. A majority of the people on Twitter come here essentially to listen to what they find interesting, and connect and communicate with people that matter to them.
Twitter, as a social news channel, also makes you a part of the overall experience. It is people like you and me who contribute to Twitter, and we are essentially the people who make it work. This also goes to show that we could very well be the people that others choose to follow (of course, this depends on what we want to Tweet about).

Being Followed:
Twitter helps bringing passions to the fore, wherein if you are zealous about anything, or are working on something special, you could have a following too. Depending on what you Tweet about, you could end up being the leader of a number of followers who want to hear what you have to say. This could include Tweets about some project that only a handful of Tweeters find relevant, or views about matters that appeal to the masses. Besides, Twitter is not a contest (although CNN and Ashton Kutcher would tell you otherwise), and it really does not matter how many followers you have as long as there is something that you do which other people could be interested in.

twitter-love

Partaking in the Experience:
Since Twitter is real time active media, it pertains more to today, as opposed to yesterday or the day before. The Tweets relate to what is currently happening, and the views/opinions are based in the present. When people Tweet about any topic that is relevant to you, you are always free to Tweet back with suggestions, ideas, or feedback. You can also help by providing direction to people in spheres that you know of well.

Looking for Insight:
While you can share your knowledge with others, you can also look for people who would be willing to do the same. If you are stuck in the middle of a project, or simply need ideas for new ones, you can get fellow Tweeters to help you with the same. You can also ask Tweeters what they think about anything in particular. All the questions that you put forth on Twitter are very likely to generate responses.
The more the questions you put forth, the more the responses that you get, and the more you connect with likeminded people.

If I were to sum it up in a couple of lines, I would describe Twitter as a place where you can share information/knowledge about matters that interest you with people who you find interesting; and it is the resultant conversations that add to the excitement.

Cheers!

Twitter Guide– An Overview Part 1

the-beginners-guide-to-twitter-430x286
There is no dearth of videos and articles when it comes to describing what Twitter is, and there are scores of surveys telling you how may Tweeters actually Tweet, but I have noticed that most of these fall short on describing Twitter, and some even end up giving the viewer/reader the wrong idea altogether.

I have been a Twitter for a long time now (if you take into account the total time that Twitter has been around), and have seen it grow and develop tremendously since its inception. What was originally a place where you could tell your friends what you were doing, like ‘sitting at home watching football’, has now evolved considerably.

Twitter, according to me, is not a community, not a conventional social network, and not a place where every user wants to say something. Twitter isn’t like MySpace, LinkedIn, or Facebook. It is not even in the same neighborhood.

Following People:
To start with, Twitter is a place where you can follow people that you find interesting. These could include celebrities, trendsetters, business leaders, inventors, sportspersons, as well as your friends. With Twitter, you would be following what they do, what they think, what they want you to know.

Following Communities and Companies:
In following different companies, you can know of the advancements they make from time to time as well as their upcoming products and services. You can also follow various groups in seeing what they set to accomplish and you could also partake in their journey.

Getting Reactions:
Through Twitter, you have access to the world’s collective consciousness. Irrespective of what the subject/topic is that you wish to know about, you would invariably find insights/opinions on Twitter. This could include the recently concluded Iranian elections, China’s policies on the West, reactions on sporting events, what people think of the new iPod, and even problems that people are facing with a particular product. This is amongst the most important reasons that businesses are increasingly using Twitter.

There is far more to Twitter than what I’ve spoken about, and I will add to this in my next post. Do share your views on Twitter, and if you have any questions about Twitter, shoot.

Until the next post, Cheers!