Twitter is a “microblogging” platform. When using twitter you are limited to 140 characters. This means you will be sending information in short bursts. 140 characters lends itself to a conversational style and is enough to send links to websites or your blog.
Why use twitter?
- It’s fun! Twitter is a great way to make new connections, find out about what’s going on and keep up to date with friends who are also on twitter.
- It’s a great way to drive people to your site. When you tweet your link on twitter then everyone who follows you will see it. Some of them may “retweet” to their followers too (se below for an explination)
- Google is increasingly taking note of how much “buzz” there is around websites and blogs to decide where to put them in the rankings. If you have lot’s of tweets of a post or a page, expect to go up in the rankings (maybe!)
How to use twitter
- Go to twitter and sign up for an account.
- Fill in your bio section carefully. This is what people will read and decide whether you are someone that they would enjoy following and interacting with.
- Go to the “search” box and type in something that you are interested in. As a therapist I am interested in therapy so that goes into the search box and I will be given a list of people who have something to do with therapy. Read their bio information and decide who you want to “follow”. If you follow them it means that every time they “tweet” (send information out) it will appear in your twitter feed and you can read and respond to it.
How twitter grows
Chances are that as you follow people, some of them will check out your bio and think you might be interesting. They may well then follow you back. Now you have people who get to see your tweets.
When people tweet you can respond by pressing “reply”. This is how conversations start. The people that follow you will see your reply. This is how the network builds up. Here’s an example….
I follow my friend Sophie, she tweets and I reply. The people that follow me see my incredibly interesting reply and wonder what the conversation is about. They may then check out the whole conversation, see how fascinating it is and start to follow Sophie too. Now my followers start to reply to Sophie with their ideas. It’s a snowball thing!
What is “retweeting”?
Retweeting is where I pass on information from someone to all of my followers and is an extremely powerful way to get your information spread across the net. Here’s an example:
- My friend Sophie is running a therapy workshop. She puts the information onto a website like http://counsellingcourse.net and presses the “tweet” button at the top.
- This automatically sends the information to twitter and the 500 people that follow Sophie.
- As one of those people I will see this information and the link to the great website. I will check out the course and may sign up.
- I think the course is so good that I want the people who follow me to find out about it. I can do this in a millisecond by pressing “retweet” on Sophie’s original tweet. This now sends that information to the 220 therapists that are following me.
- They go check out the course and some may sign up. Some may retweet the information to their followers.
- I’m sure you get the picture, within literally minutes; you can have your course, blog post or pictures in front of thousands and thousands of people.
What is the first step?
Go right now to http://twitter.com and get signed up. There are plenty of instructions on the site helping you with this. You can then start to follow me @itomlinson and I will help you out if you get stuck. Before you know it you will find yourself in a great community that helps each other out, shares great information and has a laugh! So, now you know how to use twitter, I’ll see you over there and we can tweet together!!