Tweeting for the Newbie

23 08 2010

I’m a huge twitter fan – it’s an incredible source of information, a good discussion forum, and all-out entertaining to boot! My passion seems contagious, because recently a number of friends have asked me how to get on twitter and what to do once they’re on… So here are my seven easy steps for getting started. And once you’ve started, follow a few people like @TweetSmarter and @twitter to learn more quickly.

1. Go to twitter.com and create your account. On the ‘Account‘ screen your username will be what people see when you tweet (mine is ImAmyO). Then go to ‘Profile and fill out your bio with some interesting stuff about yourself and post a pic. No need to mess with the mobile settings or your screen design – always time later for that…

2. Follow someone. Are any of your friends on twitter? Or find someone famous that does something interesting (I follow @MarthaStuart cuz I like to know what she’s eating). Follow the news (I like the CCN Breaking News feed @ccnbrk). Follow someone in your industry, again if they’re posting cool stuff. Use ‘Find People‘ in the upper corner of your screen to look for people. Go to twubs.com and enter a word that is important to you – on twitter the word is called a hashtag cuz you can put it in your tweets as a flag so others can easily find info on a subject. Twubs will show you a bunch of tweets on the subject – you’ll see #<the word you entered> in the tweets. Follow some of the people tweeting on your topic of interest. Then go to the profile of each person you follow, by clicking on their name in your following list, go to their following list, and follow some of them! Look for people who tweet topics of interest to you, and especially people who include a lot of links to other site – that’s where twitter starts to become a good knowledge-base.

3. Tweet something. Come on. What are your reading? What have you seen? What do you know that would help others? Post a link in your tweet to something you read online. Post a link to a picture. And here’s a tip – since a tweet can only be 140 characters, you don’t want to waste them on long links. So go to bit.ly.com and enter the long link (sometimes I post links to NYT articles that are almost 100 characters) and bit.ly will give you a short link instead.

4. Retweet something. Huh? Yup, this is the essence of twitter. When someone you follow says something interesting, you can retweet it so that all your followers see it. Now don’t get too caught up in the fact that you probably don’t have too many followers yet, retweet anyways cuz on twitter retweeting is seen as the highest form of flattery…

5. …besides following someone who follows you – that’s also a twitter form of flattery. As time goes on and you tweet / retweet more, and follow more people, people will start to follow you. They’ll find you because of your bio, what you tweet, and who you follow, and who’s following you (just like you did in step 2 above). So what should you do? Follow them back. For sure, not always, but click on their twitter handle and go to their profile page. Check out their bio, and what they’ve tweeted. If it’s interesting, follow them! That’s how the network builds.

6. Be informed and entertained. You can watch your twitter feed (that’s all the incoming tweets from people you follow) on twitter.com, but I like to use a different twitter app called TweetDeck. Download it from TweetDeck.com and you’ll see that you can arrange columns with different searches. I also love the way it pops the latest tweet up in the corner of my screen; I can scan to see what’s going on and quickly decide if I want to check the tweet out further. Retweets are easier in TweetDeck too, and there are TweetDeck apps for your smartphone as well.

7. Repeat steps 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 in random order for infinity. You’ll be engaged, enlightened, and entertained. Enjoy!

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The Influencer Project

21 07 2010

60 speakers in 60 minutes? Yup, about a week ago I attended the shortest marketing conference ever – 60 speakers in 60 minutes discussing how to increase your digital influence. The Influencer Project, presented by ThoughtLead, featured key insights from people who spend lots of time using and thinking about social media. I took a few minutes to write down keywords these influencers used over and over during the conference. I attached a not-too-scientific weighting to each word, based upon number of times used directly and in context. With a little help from wordle, you can see how content, relationships and passion pop out. Kinda important for success in many aspects of life, even your digital influence. Interesting conference… Kinda like speed-dating for marketeers 🙂 I highly recommend a listen in here – it’s an hour well spent.





Time and Space

12 07 2010

When I missed my sister’s phone call, she yelled at me on facebook “ur 2 busy blogging, twittering, fbing…2 p/u the old fashioned phone…” Truth be told, I often prefer online forums over voice conversations: the asynchronicity, the one2many-ness and many2one-ness, the visuals, the links, the networks. A community with subcultures that affect how we interact. Subcultures created by time and space.

Consider differences in the state of technology at the time of adoption. My daughters don’t naturally use the ‘comment’ and ‘like’ features on Facebook because those features didn’t exist at the time they started on FB years ago. Matter of fact, the news feed didn’t even exist. It wasn’t until FB opened up outside schools that those features were added. Go to the wall of 19-22 year old these days and you’ll see one side of a conversation – the other side is on someone else’s wall. Go to my wall and you’ll see interactive conversations among a disparate group of friends, all using the ‘comment’ feature to engage in a conversation. Same technology, adopted over different periods of time, causing major differences in the subculture among users.

And then there’s space. HBR just published a map showing social media usage differences by space, or locale. Internet users in India and China tweet 3x as much as those of us living in the U.S. Some our lower usage can be traced back to the reliability and relatively low cost of our old phone network; we think nothing of just picking up the phone here. But in developing nations, wireless and cellular networks often emerged before – and sometimes instead of – local phone networks. And by the time the Internet was available in many locales, microblogging technology had matured. With less predisposition for the phone, those users turned to the social network.

And then there’s Japan, where social networking is used to communicate among close circles of friends, not to extend those circles. And South Korea, where users approach social media from a gaming perspective. And France, … but you get the picture. While it may be one network, it’s certainly segmented by time and space.

I’m gonna sign off now and go call my sister on the old fashioned phone.





Mother’s Little Helper? Data

24 06 2010

I’m fully supportive when my loved ones go off-the-grid on some new adventure. But the worrier inside me usually starts roaring around 3am… “Is everything ok?” “Where are they now?” Until recently it was pretty difficult to calm my worrier. But now, like the lyrics of the Stones, I’ve discovered my own mother’s little helper: Data. Yup, data.

Ed's Kilimanjaro RouteIn March my adventurer photographer husband spent 6 weeks in various parts of Africa working with children’s charities, exploring and mountain climbing. And attached to his backpack was a GPS sensor, which sent data about Ed’s whereabouts to a centralized service. I could go to the service website to see his location mapped, like his footsteps up Kilimanjara shown here. And I could post these satellite images to Facebook so friends and family could keep track as well. No more lost sleep. Saved by the data.

I was at an interesting conference this week where much was discussed about data. FindMeSpot SatelliteStephen Baker, of Num3rati fame, delved into the next big wave of data coming from sensors in the world around us. Kinda creepy in many ways, but as with every new innovation, there’s a cost-benefit analysis to be done. In the simple case of the FindMeSpot, I’m all for it. We’re gonna have some interesting discussions, though, over the next few years as sensors become more prevalent around us. And we’re certainly not gonna suffer from a lack of data.





I hate running in circles

18 06 2010

CirclesA friend of my daughter is training for collegiate field hockey and has devised a plan to run varied distances each day towards her overall training goal. The thing is, Chicken (that’s her nickname, but I don’t think she’s afraid of much) says she hates to run in circles. So she took a map of Westford and found friends’ houses at different distances from her home. She runs the miles to a friends house, and then bums a ride back home so that she never has to run in circles.

I hate running in circles too, which is why I often gravitate towards strategy roles. But strategy is no ivory-tower event, to me it means three things: settling on one common goal, using the best of everyone’s ideas to create a plan as to where to focus, and mapping that plan against what is going on in the market. You end up with a goal that says we’ll grow revenue and margin by focusing on certain solutions through certain channels, a plan that says we adapt pricing and promotions for certain customers, and a map that shows how this plays out in meeting market demand and against the competition. And then you make sure the strategy works for your whole ecosystem of partners, suppliers, employees and customers so that you can all grow together.Chicken

Ya know, Chicken has a goal, a well-defined plan for each day, and a map so that she doesn’t end up running in circles. She is even leveraging her network of  friends for support. Now that’s a Chicken recipe with the right ingredients for success!