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I’m on Twitter – Now What?

A friend asked me recently, “How do you know Dave Chalmers?”

“I don’t” I replied, “I just follow him on Twitter.”

As soon as I uttered those words, I realized how ridiculous that might sound to someone who doesn’t use Twitter. Why would you follow someone who you don’t know in person, or have a relationship with?

I’ve been using Twitter for just over two years. In the beginning, when someone would ask me what Twitter is all about and why I’m such and advocate of the platform I used to say, “The power of Twitter is all in who you follow. It’s a connected stream of content that gets updated by the second. I follow a number of people in marketing, wireless, investing, business, sports and news outlets because that’s what I’m interested in. It’s like the news, on steroids”.

While I still believe that most of this is true, when now confronted with this question, I find myself saying – “It’s about engagement, the relationship. It’s about the ability to establish a connection others who have similar interests, learning from them, their experiences and their knowledge.”

It’s about learning from one another. We can connect with individuals, celebrities, business leaders, brands, politicians and media outlets in real time and in ways that were never before possible. We can interact with people miles away who have similar interests, experiences or challenges and learn from them.

As an example, I follow Dave because he has identified that he has interests in mobile, hockey and sharing business ideas. Things that I am also passionate about.

I am in no way a Twitter expert. Nor am I an expert in social media. I don’t think that anyone really can be. I’m skeptical of those who claim to be ninjas, gurus and experts in the field because the the platform is continuously evolving. What worked well yesterday may not work at all tomorrow.

Many people I talk to that I have ‘convinced’ to join Twitter later come to me and say, “I’m on Twitter – now what?”. They haven’t followed anyone yet, haven’t updated their profile to promote the addition of followers and haven’t posted an update. Their usage declines and eventually, the luster of their shiny new Twitter profile begins to wear off.

To these people, and to anyone new to Twitter, I offer up some things that have helped me increase my enjoyment of the platform:

  1. Use the ‘Who to Follow‘ suggestions.
    – Find people using Twitter’s suggestions, browse by category or find your friends on Twitter.
  2. Find your friends and see who they follow.
    – Since you’re friends, so you’re likely interested in the same things.
  3. Re-tweet things from your Twitter friends that you think your followers would be interested in.
  4. Use @mentions to respond to the interesting things that people post
  5. Use @mentions to thank people for retweeting your posts or for mentioning you in a post
  6. Follow-back people who follow you (those with similar interests)
  7. We’ll leave this blank because this list is evolving! 😉

Feel free to comment and provide me with other tips/tricks that have worked well for you or your experiences with social media platforms.

And…Follow me on Twitter!

  1. January 12, 2011 at 3:49 am

    Hi Matt,

    Like you, when I first joined Twitter, it was about connecting with friends and satisfy the curiosity. With time, and by following people, companies, organizations, and local news I discovered a whole new way of getting the information I truly cared about. There is so much information being exchanged on Twitter in our community and its so easy to simply follow the likes of @THEMUSEUM, @kwsymphony, @communitech, @IgniteWaterloo, @TEDxWaterloo and so on to get the inside scoop on whats happening around town!

    The beauty of social media is that we’ve never met, yet through LinkedIn and Twitter, I see that we have many interests and some connections in common. And through your Twitter feed (which I’m now following), brought me to this great post and felt inspired to comment.

    So Cheers Matt and hope to meet you at the Social Media Breakfast!


  2. January 12, 2011 at 4:29 am

    Oh, definitely agree. There are so many people that I follow on Twitter that I’ve never met. Many of them who live, work and play right here in Waterloo Region. What’s great about events like the #SMBWR is that you get to bring to life the online relationships that you have developed. That said, I’m looking forward to meeting you as well!

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