Twitter! Last night we focused soley on Twitter. Arguably Twitter could be the focus of several classes but hard to do with 10 weeks. We talked briefly about the history of the business and how SXSW 2007 was the tipping point for Twitter. We also discussed how the technology/business was briefly called twitch (as in that is what you did when your mobile device went off.) I like it in only that you’d be able to say; I’m twitchy.  We reviewed search on Twitter and how it can be used to do market esearch for your business. We covered lists , trending, URL shorteners and the impact on SEO of URL shorteners. We also discussed the best URL shorteners for retweeting (rhymes with bit.ly) and the best times of the day to tweet (10am/1pm) for maximum traffic generation. From there we talked about the nature of Twitter; Lifestreaming, intent based marketing, niche social networks (via lists), tweetups, spending habits and the golden ratio.

We then reviewed a few of the best applications that utilize twitter as a platform.

  • Seesmic – Video tweeting, like 12seconds.tv
  • wefollow – Lists those most influential/popular
  • Twittaround – Augemented reality highlighting Tweets and their physical location
  • Tweetdeck – Twitter application that unites the clans (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter messages)
  • twittervision – Just for fun. I really miss the 3D globe.
  • Friend or Follow – Find out who is not following you.
  • Klout– Find out what kind of user you are. There are 4 flavors!
  • bit.ly – URL shortener and much more
  • TwtQpon -,Twitter based coupons
  • Objective Marketer – social media analytics, in beta now.
  • TwitBacks.com / TwitterGallery.com – businesses that enable you to customize (brand) your Twitter background.
  • oneforty – The one stop resource for all things Twitter.

oneforty is a tremendous resource that has positioned itself with the unenviable task of tracking all things Twitter. Fantastic resource.

During the course of conversation one of my students asked about how to get started on Twitter. There are million lists out there and I recommend the following progression.

  1. Through WeFollow and Twitter’s search, find those that you’d like to be connected with. Search for #subject-of-interest to see who is contributing to the conversation.
  2. Spend some time listening to them but do not follow. (Go to their Twitter page and look at the content they’ve created.)
  3. Extend the research to that user’s site (listed on their Twitter page) and then look for them on LinkedIn and Facebook. Collect as much information as possible. (This is not to stalk but to give you some frame of reference as to who they are and what they’re about outside of the area of core interest.)
  4. Based on the information you’ve collected prioritize those you’d like to be connected with. Remember, not everyone is Guy Kawasaki and will follow you back, so set your expectations appropriately. Also, on wefollow, they divide users into two categories; the most influential and the highest numbers of followers. These are not always the same.
  5. Download Tweekdeck and review the features.
  6. Then I would follow my immediate friends and tweet about the things that interest you/them. (Remember, this is micro-blogging and blogging rules apply; only you have 140 characters to convey sentiment and this is more conversational. Keep content on a personal level you’re comfortable with and stay focused on your areas of interest.)
  7. Never let your Golden Ratio get to an unhealthy level. Optimally you would have more followers than you’re following but don’t be worried about that to start. The numbers should be pretty much equal.
  8. I would add ten users a day maximum and pay attention (Friend or Follow) to those that don’t reciprocate by following you back. I’d give them 2 weeks to follow you and then weigh how much you value their tweets. The reason for adding 10 a day; you must keep your Golden Ratio at a healthy level. Sophisticated users will elect not to follow you at a glance if the numbers are off balance.
  9. Once you’ve established a healthy base (200+) you will need to cycle through and make sure that you’re follows are being matched. From here on out keep your followers clean. I nuked 30+ a couple of weeks ago for those that have not tweeted in the last 2 months.
  10. For the bigger fish that you want to follow you, you can retweet some of their tweets. Do this in an honest way. Don’t spam the internets with your need to have them follow you. If you do this over time they will figure out what subjects your most interested in and when you do follow them, there is a greater chance for them to reciprocate.

This recipe is just to get started and does not touch on getting a tweet to go viral or building subject matter expertise/thought leadership within a community or anything else you can think of. This is a starting point.

Next class we’re reviewing Facebook and have a team presentation on The Cluetrain Manifesto. Should be fun!

ITEC-4700: Class 7 – Twitter