Friday, March 13, 2009

Micro-Blogging with Twitter

Twitter is a very powerful tool for reaching a living, breathing online audience. It gives "Tweeters" the potential of reaching thousands of followers immediately with a message, comment or a direct instruction, such as the one here on the left. Being restricted to 140 characters forces one to be creative. Bloggers use it to redirect their followers to their new blog posts. Mavens use it to extend their influence and stature. Marketers use it to redirect people to their pitch-page. Conservatives use twitter to organize their political activities via "Action Projects." (see (TCOT)

In order to capture attention tweets should strive to stand out in some way. Talented tweeters know that a catchy phrase, an attention grabbing comment, a provocative bit of news, or a "one-liner"can garner a cherished "Retweet" from their followers and reach second tier follows (followers of followers). This potential is called reach. If a tweet goes viral it could reach hundreds of thousands of people in minutes. Little wonder the social media gurus are so enthusiastic about Twitter.

Having a blog or website to back up your twitter activity is very helpful in letting people get to know you, or the "persona" that you wish to project. I suggest that your tweets stick to just one or just a small number of themes. My theme, as you can see, is atheism. But, I also comment on politics and other things occasionally. My posts are usually like headlines that include links for those who want to follow up and learn more. In a one sense, I am providing an editorial service by previewing sources and picking out stuff I think might appeal to my followers. In yet another sense I'm a promoter. And as the number of my followers grow my potential reach expands. But more importantly, I'm having fun, and getting to know other like minded people.

TwitPic can give tweets an edge over those without "pics." Many of the best Twitter client programs support an immediate view of posted images - followers don't have to click on the link to see the posted image. Thus tweeting can now be thought of as "Micro-Blogging" in a very real sense.

Twitter networking constitutes a very versatile and immediate way of participating in a social medium. Twitter followers are often the first to hear of a major news event, arriving via cellphones, eyewitnesses tweet about an event as it unfolds. Reporters use twitter as a resource of premier immediacy.

Twitter is also analogous to a massive, communal, living brain enabling hundreds of thousands of people to interact, like neural networks where neurons fire off signals, and then they get routed along to other pathways and other neurons and pathways into near infinite complexity. I don't think anyone has, as yet, been able to grasp Twitters true potential, though many hope to utilize its power to make real immediate contact with real people.

You and your followers may limit yourselves to a small exclusive group sharing personal intimacies only among yourselves or like most twellows your tweets may be open to everyone on Twitter to read and follow as they like. Your messages reach your followers directly but can reach far beyond if they are retweeted. Twitter users altogether constitue a huge crowd with all the dynamics of a living mob. Trends somehow get started and seem to ripple their way through the teeming mass and then peter out as they lose momentum.

My first contact with Twitter left me questioning whether I would ever find a use for it. I have overtime learned how to use twitter. An now I wonder why more people haven't discovered it. I think each user discovers Twitter's usefulness for themselves, each according to their own comprehension of its function and their personal need.

It is a great way to interact socially. Or it can used as a simple way to broadcast messages. But I think if you aren't reciprocating, aren't getting yourself involved in the social give and take, you are missing out on its real power. To really capitalize on Twitter's power you should give people a chance to know who you are, what your values are, and what you think. Once others can comprehend your nature and motives they will not only know how to interact with you but also know how to help you. If people can't make the connection they will not feel inclined to help you achieve your goals, share in your purpose or care about your success. Try to get into the give and take - take the time to learn about your followers their interests and what motivates them. When people share a mutual purpose, enthusiasm and motivation grows for everyone. This is how you build
loyalty, Twitter leverage and extend your reach. Once a tipping point is reached your efforts will return exponential gains.

Being silly and playful makes twitter all the more fun as you tweet yourself towards acheiving your goals. My advice - Be yourself, tweet about the things you really care about, and have fun with Twitter.

I noted yesterday that BubbleTweet has created a way to post video on your twitter page - Who knows what new capabilities might be added to Twitter in the future.

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