A crash course in how to use Twitter

March 14, 2010 § 8 Comments

Before I begin, let me say I am by no means a Twitter expert. I signed up for an account for the sole purpose of getting free Tasti-Delite coupons almost a year ago and it was not until recently that I attended a Social Media conference where my eyes were opened to the relevance of the website. I hope this entry can help those of you who are either Twitter haters and/or new to the site and/or just don’t quite understand the purpose of one of the internet’s latest phenomenons.

The biggest misconception about Twitter is that it’s meant for anyone to use to “tweet” about their every move – “I am making toast”. “My plane just landed”. “O man, I’m soooo hungover! BEERZ 4EVA!#$!” – FALSE. Sure, it’s nice to add a human quality to your account by posting about your life, but when you have nothing to offer your readers other than a recount of your daily meals or what your cat’s up to, why should people follow you? Try your best to be useful, original, and contributive. Funny tweets are also a favorite of mine. Put yourself in your followers’ shoes – why would they want to follow you? What sets you apart from other people with Twitter accounts?

Twitter is a great source for receiving and sharing the latest news on anything from flight/transit delays, weather warnings, and news on your city to the newest fonts available and latest concerts announced. Feel free to “retweet” any of this information you come across to those you think would be interested.

A great way to meet new people and network is by using Twitter. You can search by trends or topics to find those discussing and involved and see who they’re following. You thought Facebook was good for lurking? Well once you get into it on Twitter, who knows what you’ll find or how deep you’ll go. And best of all, it’s pure information! No silly apps, dumb photos, or game invitations, this is pure, 140 characters or less information sharing.

Much more can be said on the subject of Twitter (just google “how to twitter” and see what you find), but for those of you who didn’t come here to polish your Twitter skills in the first place, I don’t want to piss you off. One last thing: In my opinion, I think Twitter accounts are best used for promoting businesses or services, but I believe the individual, if Twitter-savvy, can create and manage an extremely interesting account worth following and reading on a regular basis.

Some of my favorite Twitterers:
Torontoist
Eli Klein
Word
Color Me Katie
Pitchfork Media
Shit My Dad Says
Ben Pobjoy
Tom Waits (doesn’t Tweet enough, but he’s 61 for godsakes)
Conan O’Brien definitely the new KING of Twitter

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