Mick’s 5 steps to twitter bliss for newbies

17 March, 2009

My mate Paul (@pbeacham) and my brother Ben (@bjleyden) just joined twitter – if you weren’t already convinced that fact alone should be enough to tell you twitter has gone mainstream! 😉

Seeing as twitter can be a little hard to navigate when getting started I decided to send them an email with some tips… it got kinda long.  – Here it is.

1. Add a bio and Pic (does not have to be of you, but put something in)

People won’t follow you back if they don’t know who you are.
If they don’t follow you back they don’t see your tweets,
If they don’t see your tweets they don’t reply to your tweets
If they don’t reply to your tweets, you don’t get any conversation.

2. Conversation is what it is all about!

If you just watch other people’s tweets Twitter is bloody boring, who the hell cares what a random person thinks about public transport in Perth.

A tweet on it’s own is not SUPER interesting, what could be interesting is the conversation that can flow from it, very quickly you could have 3 or 4 people talking about public transport systems, what is good around the world, what sucks and why they suck.

Sure, that conversation is not going to change your world but it is one of thousands of micro-conversations you could have. The interesting part is the enormous amount you can learn from participating in these conversations.

3. Find people who are interested in what you are interested in

You need to find people who are interested in the stuff you are into. To do that start with http://search.twitter.com. Type in a word or phrase and it will return all tweets that include that phrase.

You can then click on the person who tweeted the phrase and see what else they have said. If you think they seem interesting, click follow.

Another good way to find new followers is go to twitter.com > Settings  > Notices > then change @ replies to show all. That will allow you to see who the people you follow are talking to, it is a good way to find new followers. (this option has since been removed :-()

The great thing about  twitter is if you decide they are not to your taste just visit their twitter page (twitter.com/username) and click on the follow button again, this time it will say “do you want to remove” then say yes and they are gone from your life for ever.

I’d also add, that I don’t think the twitter ‘superstars’ (Stephen Fry, Kevin Rudd, Barak Obama,) are that interesting. Try to find normal folks who are up for a chat. Why feed some famous persons ego?

4. Say Hi to people you follow.

Many people get so many new followers (and spam followers) they might have a quick glance at your profile but will most likely ignore you. Unless that is, you make contact with them! If you follow someone just @ or DM them and say something like

“@interestingperson – Hi just started following, nice to meet you, enjoyed u’r blog post about ferret racing”

They will the notice you mostly say hi back, often follow you back and the conversation has begun.

5. Stick with it!

The first few weeks of twittering will be slow, uninteresting and you will spend a lot of time thinking “this is stupid, why am I wasting my time”.

But if you stick with it, follow people and reply to people you will start to see what the fuss is all about.

Finally open dabr.co.uk in the browser on your phone. It is a fully featured version for mobile and is awesome. Heaps better than most twitter apps…

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5 Responses to “Mick’s 5 steps to twitter bliss for newbies”

  1. Andrew Mitchell Says:

    All good advice Mick.

    One further suggestion. dabr.co.uk works a treat as a desktop twitter client as well. And I like the fact that I have the same interface on my mobile as for my desktop.


  2. All good. I think I’ve established that I like Twitter for the ability to meet new people.

    When I went to ‘search.twitter.com’ and typed in ‘Brisbane’ I started finding so many local people using it, it was amazing. I used to only follow people in the US – and so knew a lot about what was going on in LA – and now those people are never in my timeline so I have to hunt them down specifically.

    Also – it’s not about the number of followers, and I think too (if you work like I do, anyway) you can let twitter invade too easily and you end up having great conversations at the expense of actual work :).

    Which may be a good or a bad thing depending on your POV.

    Thanks: Micheal Axelsen

  3. Mick Leyden Says:

    @Andrew – Dabr is cool on desktop but I didn’t like that it does not auto update… or can you make it do that?

    @Micheal, I would agree that it is not about the number of followers it is about the quality. I’ve become much more choosy about who I follow back lately, I also agree that you need to be careful about not getting too caught up about it. I like Twitkit in firefox, it has one button on the toolbar that allows me to turn it on and when it is time to put my head down turn it off!


  4. Hey Mick, I like your post, it’s interesting to see how people use twitter. I’d also add something to no. 1; which is, add a link that explains more about you. I often use this ‘further information’ to find out more about the person, what they think, what they’re interested in, etc, to choose whether or not I follow them (I’m quite picky). This could be a website, blog or even a Linkedin profile – they key would be to explain a bit more about the person. I often liken twitter to a big room full of people talking, and you can move among them, listen to what’s being said and join in when you have something to add. And I too can get too immersed if I don’t watch it! 😉

  5. Mick Leyden Says:

    @Helen – Great point! I like click on the link as well, although I must admit I don’t do it as often as I would like too.


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