Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Twitterverse

Okay so a few days ago, I posted an article about Facebook and a few tips on how to make your Facebook experience more enjoyable. For the past week, I've been trying to convert some Twitter 'non-believers' into Twitter nerds (like myself). Most of the time, when someone tells me "I don't like twitter!" or "Twitter is the butt hole of the Internet!" I simply reply with, "You only think that because you don't actually know how to use it." Most people who dislike twitter also do not know how to use it. I rarely run into a person who knows everything about twitter and dislikes it. Here are some tips/pointers for those who are new to Twitter, or even those who are Twitter veterans.

Mentions and Hashtags...

Every day, I see people misuse mentions and hashtags. It kinda makes me a bit sick, because it really isn't that complicated. Some people misuse mentions and hashtags by NOT using them. One way to create connections between yourself and others on Twitter is through mentions. Mentions are pretty self-explanatory: they are used to literally "mention" a person in your tweet. It is very similar to tagging someone in a Facebook post. If you want to get the direct attention of someone, or simply have a conversation with someone, use a mention. A mention, much like tagging on Facebook, includes the '@' symbol, along with the person's user name. For example, if I wanted to tweet my twitter crush, I wouldn't just type in her user name in my tweet. It might work effectively on Facebook, but with the large amount of information flowing through Twitter, it is nearly required for you to use a mention to get some one's attention. Incorrect tweet: "Angel, meet me at 3 today." A tweet like that would simply get sucked up into the Twitter universe, and won't likely be seen by the intended recipient unless she happens to stumble it. So, the correct tweet would be "@AngelRexasarous, meet me at 3 today."

Hashtags are a fuzzy issue, and even I have problems figuring out how to use them effectively. The way I understand hashtags, they are basically exactly like mentions, except they are used to 'mention' or 'tag' a certain topic or word in your post. If you were speaking of something specific, such as concerts, you may want to end your tweet with the hashtag #concerts. Now, this may be simple.. and it actually is. However, sending a tweet with 5 or 6 different hashtags becomes obnoxious, and therefore ineffective. Sometimes it is neccessary to send a multitude of hashtags into the twitterverse at once (I've done it before) just be sure not to make it a habit. Remember, you want people to enjoy following you and enjoy what you tweet.

Anatomy of the Twitterverse

One of the most important things on Twitter is accepting that you are not the center of the universe. On Facebook, you might be the center of everything (although I seriously doubt it) but on Twitter, even the celebrities aren't revolved around completely. Twitter is like a universe.. if you haven't noticed by my use of the coined term 'twitterverse' in the previous paragraph. However, it is an extremely unique universe. There are many objects floating around through the universe, like stars and planets. These stars and planets will be, metaphorically, the users of twitter like you and I. There are no solar systems in the twitterverse; as I said before, no one revolves around one person. Instead, stars and planets revolve around each other. Stars and planets will not grow and become more influential unless their followers grow along with them. In the twitterverse, stars and planets feed off of each other.

Alright, so enough astronomy for one day. My point is, Twitter is a social media site where everyone is successful only if everyone is successful. You as a Twitter user won't be successful if everyone around you isn't successful. The best way to use Twitter is to use what you are good at, something you consider yourself an expert at, and pass it on to someone else while, at the same time, absorbing the insights of others. Forget self-promotion: promote others, help others. Remember, in the twitterverse, everyone feeds off each other. Without the success of everyone, everyone fails.

Finding Your Niche

Finding your niche on Twitter is one of the most important factors to success on Twitter. Of course, a niche is a persons position in society; a role that a person fills with high effectiveness. My niche on twitter is sports; since I consider myself an expert on sports, I tweet about sports. You like concerts? Music? Video Games? Go ahead and tweet it. Try to dedicate yourself to one specific topic; one specific niche. Follow people who are related to your interest, make connections with those people. It is so much more entertaining to talk with a large group of people who actually like the exact same thing you do. Of course, it's also fun to speak to those with varying opinions on the same topic. To accomplish this variable sameness, you must seek out your niche, something you feel that you know everything about, and attach yourself to it. You may not see the effects right away, but becoming influential on Twitter takes time. Share your knowledge on your topic of expertise, while also being open to other opinions and information. There is a large amount of information on Twitter for you to explore; explore it with a generous, open mind.

Use Scheduled Tweeting

When you send out a tweet, it honestly doesn't last too long. The average tweet will only be seen by a few people. With all of the information flowing through Twitter, your tweet will show up on some one's timeline and quickly drop to the bottom. And of course, not all of your intended targets are on Twitter at the time that you tweet. Twitter, like everything else on the Internet, is a worldwide interface; therefore, you must consider time zone differences, along with the variety of personal schedules that every tweep runs on. The times that you are most actively tweeting may not correspond with my schedule. Therefore, if you want me to read something, I may not see it. However, using browser apps such as Twuffer, Buffer App, and When To Tweet can help you spread your tweets. This will help to maximize the exposure of your tweets, which is something that every twitter user wants to accomplish. Don't be afraid to send a tweet more than once throughout the day. Schedule a tweet to be sent at multiple times, especially during prime time (for sports, and most other niches: 5 pm - 9/10 pm Eastern Standard Time) when most people are tweeting. Of course, be sure to not spread your tweets to thinly or too tightly; sending the same tweet out in close proximity with each other can be redundant, while making the time that it is sent too broad can quickly out date your tweet, thus minimizing exposure. You want to find the right balance, in accordance to your audience.

While this isn't all you can do to maximize your effectiveness in the twitterverse, these tips are definitely a great way to start.

Twitter Scheduling

Edit: When To Tweet website does not function, at least not for me.

Other Twitter Apps

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