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"Getting A Handle On" or "How I See" Twitter (part 3 of 3)


You can read Part 1 of the article here, and you can read Part 2 here.

Creating Attractive Leaves

By the time you're using lists, you've probably spent some time at your streams, pulled out quite a few leaves (read other users' tweets) and dropped a good number in as well (written your own tweets or retweeted others'), and you may have started to see how you can benefit from Twitter (after all each leaf is like a small, quickly read headline that often points to some tasty article on the Web that you absolutely need to read, right?). As you start to have more tributaries that get your leaves you can begin to market your own web site, or blog, on those leaves and attract potential readers to your site. Perfect!

Even better, as you keep feeding attractive leaves into the tributaries (i.e. write really good tweets that your followers see when they come to their streams), people will begin to see you as someone who sends them attractive leaves that they really want to see; i.e. an expert in your field. Because these Twitter users want to show their followers that they know which leaves are more attractive than others, they want to associate themselves with you. After all, you send good leaves downstream, which they can in turn send further downstream to their followers, and so on.

Note that all of this really works best if you can create your own content or find truly original stuff on the web. This may require a fair bit of your time, but the ultimate result can be an army of followers just waiting for you to send them really beautiful leaves to see and enjoy. I can't think of any better way to build as well as keep traffic coming to your web site on the web at this time.

Also note that creating attractive leaves can sometimes be as simple as telling people what you're doing.

Narrowing your streams down and more closely interacting with your followers through @Mentions can sometimes result in people's streams intersecting and these Twitter users may cross paths in actual life (called Tweetups in Twitterese).

Gaining More Visibility for Your Leaves

Okay, so you've got some attractive leaves but how do you get them into more streams so that you can build a bigger following? Aside from providing good content yourself or pointing to it with your leaves, you can put special markers on your leaves. Doing so will place them into special streams that other Twitter users can access via the Twitter Search function. You can create leaves with these markers (called "hashtags" in Twitterese) to make it easier for people who may not be following you to find your attractive leaves... and hopefully find them attractive enough to become your follower. To find messages with hashtags Twitter users simply need to do a search for the term using a hashtag (the "#" character) in front of it. By the way, doing searches like this for topics you are interested in is a great source for retweets for your own followers to enjoy and forward on (retweet).

Here's an example of writing a tweet with hashtags. When I send off a tweet describing this article about Twitter I might write it like so;

An explanation of #Twitter for #newbies [link to this page]

That way there's a good chance that anyone looking for leaves (tweets) that mention Twitter or Newbies, will see my leaf (Tweet in Twitterese). To take this example a little further, a follower of mine may retweet the original tweet like this:

RT @LondonWebDev An explanation of #Twitter for #newbies [link to this page] #SocialMedia

By retweeting (using the RT to indicate that they've retweeted) my tweet they've added to the potential of the message being read. And by adding the #SocialMedia hashtag, they've further added to its potential.

You can read more about Twitter hashtags here:

Twitter Support: http://support.twitter.com/entries/49309-what-are-hashtags-symbols

If you've read this far you're doing pretty well and you now know a fair about Twitter. You know how to follow others, how to handle your Twitter data stream to keep it manageable, how to create attractive tweets and how to connect with other Twitter users. Before I point you in the direction of some software and some web sites that I've found helpful in understanding and managing my own Twitter experience I'd like to mention one last topic...

SPAM on Twitter

You don't need to spend a long time at the stream to see that not all leaves are attractive. In fact, some of them can be brown and ugly (I'm still speaking metaphorically). These are, of course, spam. Tweets that attempt to send you to some... well let's say spammy sites that are well, spammy. Anyways, you'll start to recognize these leaves. Twitter has ways to help you keep these leaves out of your stream. You can start by "unfollowing" the annoying spammer. Doing so is as easy as clicking the annoying user's "unfollow" button.

I will say, though, that as time goes on I seem to be getting far more quality followers than spammy follow-me follow-you twitterbots following me. It's a great feeling to have someone with more than 25,000 followers follow you on Twitter.

If you feel that you're being spammed on Twitter check out the following links:

http://twitter.com/#!/SPAM

http://support.twitter.com/entries/117063-how-to-block-users-on-twitter

Resources

No doubt there are tons more Twitter resources out there, but these are the ones that I've actually used in my first month at Twitter.

Software

Tweetdeck (www.tweetdeck.com) is a desktop program that enables you to handle your Twitter streams more effectively and more efficiently. For example, you can schedule tweets to be submitted at a later time and date. You will have to have your computer on at those times, of course. Tweetdeck is free.

Web Sites

www.tweetstats.com Give TweetStats your Twitter username and you'll get to see statistics about how you use Twitter. I used the information from TweetStats to help me build one or two of my lists. TweetStats is also free.

www.Klout.com Find out if all your hard work at gaining some importance as a Twitter user has paid off. Klout, another free web-service, will show you how you stand in the Twitter community.

Twitter Help from Twitter

You can get started with Twitter help at:

http://support.twitter.com/

and the Twitter Basics can be found at:

http://support.twitter.com/groups/31-twitter-basics

They cover just about any question you could possibly have about Twitter there.

Do you know of any Twitter resources that you would recommend? I'd love to hear about them and list them here, so please drop me an email and tell me about your favourite(s).


article by: Michael Clark for www.LondonsWebDesign.com
created on: February 2, 2011

About the Author, Michael Clark

After writing, teaching and lecturing about the Internet and the Web for over 15 years, Michael recently decided to get back to his software development roots.

Michael's company, www.LondonsWebDesign.com, designs and develops web sites for small and medium-sized businesses in and around the London, Ontario, area.

When he's not helping his clients 'get the Web,' Michael is hard at work developing a mini-CMS that can be easily customized for each of his client's websites. You can 'follow' Michael on Twitter as @LondonWebDev. Just look for the icon of the guy tugging on his ear :).



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