Utilizing Twitter for Conversations and Information

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    Key Points

    • You have to define who you are and what you are looking for in order to effectivly use Twitter.
    • Lists, replying, search, and third party clients are just four ways to help benefit the power of Twitter.
    • Twitter is used by many different people, it's free, and anything can happen. We just have to utilize it to fit our needs/wants.
    • The ability to have conversations and gain information is all present

    Summary

    Twitter is an experimental tool. It's your experimental tool.

    The most dominate forms of using Twitter are spreading links, gathering links, connecting with people, and socializing with people by very many approaches.

    But how are you benefiting from using Twitter for you and/or your blog community? I've looked at four ways, what are your ways?

    Close

by Derek Jensen

Twitter is a tool that is becoming more and more widely used by bloggers, journalists, businesses, and the general public. It’s free to use, easy to get started, simple, but still highly underestimated and used. Let’s look at how we can use the best of Twitter for having conversations and gathering information all in real time.

Twitter is an experimental tool. It’s your experimental tool

Why is Twitter so underestimated and used? Why do I even say this? Let’s look at the different groups of people that use it that I previously mentioned. We bloggers mainly have used it to connect and socialize with other bloggers and make people aware of our own content. Link love! Journalists or news agencies simply publish their feed. Lots of link love! Businesses are slowly utilizing it to talk to their customers and competition. Finally, the general public is gathering information from the top Twitter accounts, news agencies, and just having conversations with their other friends that actually have Twitter.

After looking at the most dominate forms of using Twitter we can agree that it’s mostly used for spreading links, gathering links, connecting with people, and socializing with people by very many approaches.

Who are you?

who are youIn order to use a tool that has the potential to help out people in so many ways, we have to know who we actually are.

Simply put, “who are you?”

But knowing that this is far from simple, what do you feel defines you? I ask, because this question can also be “what is your passion”, and in order to use something like Twitter should establish this first.

For instance, if you are into knowing the latest news and staying updated you will use the best of Twitter than if you were someone who gets their information by talking with people and holding conversations. Or for that matter you could be both. You just have to know who you are.

Twitter is used both for conversations and information and I’ll be looking at the same four features of Twitter to help both out.

Conversations

Conversations are that social connection we have and can hold with one another. We all know that social media has increased this opportunity and frequency. Twitter is certainly a tool to take advantage and utilize for your benefit all while conversing.

Lists

Twitter ListsYou’ve heard of having groups. Well lists are just like groups and allow you to have conversations with people related to a certain topic, interest, or belief, etc. Many times when you have many followers or people you want to follow you forget who all would talk about what/who. Lists help you out with this potential dilemma. Oh, and if you wish to make a list private, meaning a group just for your use like the “connect” list I have (shown to the right) for people I want to connect with more.
It’s up to you.

Replying

Casual talk is on the rise. Just start a reply. It’s simple as that

Replying is when we decide to talk back, respond, or offer additional input to whatever they have tweeted out.
Say you see someone discussing or talking about a certain thing that interests you, you have the opportunity to respond to them at anytime with extreme ease. Think of it has a geeky (but the next) way of emailing or contacting someone and just to have a very casual talk.

Casual talk has a new meaning and new home, called Twitter. All you have to do is reply to them and all of your followers can see you actually conversing with people. Transparency is at an all time high.

Search

So many are unaware of how to start conversations with people using Twitter if they don’t really know who is all on that would be of interest to them.

Easy solution. Use search.twitter.com and search for a keyword that would be of interest to you to start a casual conversation with that person related to that keyword happy tweet. This is again how people can find you too (keep that in mind). You just never know when someone on Twitter might talk with you.

Third-Party Clients

Third-Party clients are things that allow you to use the basic functions of Twitter, but add more ease and function. Some examples are Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Tweetie, and Brizzly.

All of the ways to use Twitter for conversations I have already stated can all be more ease of use to you and strive for more conversations with people on Twitter through these third-party clients.

Conversations are for starters, but we can get more. Actual beneficial information.

Information

All of the above features I went though (all four) you can use to help you obtain useful and beneficial information for yourself, your followers, and even your blog community.

Let’s go through them quickly:

  • Lists: Use lists to categorize the type of information you are in need or want of. i.e. Social Media, Blogging Tips, World News, Gadgets, etc.
  • Replying: Respond to people related to each of the lists you have made to gain more information or ask any questions you may have about what they have published, reported, wrote, or commented on.
  • Search: Looking for something. Think of this as a real-time Google Search, but keep the search entry short.
  • Third-Party Clients:Gain and retain the most information at your finger tips. Here is where you have to dig into each specific client to see which one better suits your needs.

I’ve looked at four features of Twitter for conversations that also help with gathering information, but recognize how you can begin to start using Twitter in different ways.

Yes, there is so many ways to use Twitter. You just have to find the best ways that fit your way of connecting, holding conversations, or finding information. Remember Twitter is your experimental tool .
The video from Chris Brogan (to the right) even has more ways to use the best of Twitter.

I’m sure that you all have your one twitter tip. Well, how are you using Twitter to benefit you the best?

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Choosyinfo July 20, 2010 at 2:36 am

The problem with so many people don’t realize the power of twitter is because of deep rooted practice and thought process which makes people try to game the system.

Twitter is tagged as “get into the conversation” not “get traffic to your blog”.

If you keep your blog and personality aside and sincerely try to start or carry forward a conversation you will soon realize the power of twitter.

BTW thanks for the “50 power twitter tips video”. – nice share.

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Tech Genius July 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm

You are so right. Just trying to follow as many people as you can and hoping that they will follow you back will get you nowhere. Even if this way gets you some followers they will not actually follow your tweets. You just have to get in a conversation with people and make relationship :)

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Derek Jensen July 20, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Not a problem for the video. You a correct that we need to use Twitter more for conversation and just hope for traffic. Not the other way around.

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Nabeel | Create Your First Website July 20, 2010 at 2:43 am

Great info on Twitter Derek!

As someone who does not use Twitter much, this was really helpful.

I think Twitter is still underused by many people, as spreading these kind of info will help increase Twitter’s use.

Kindest,
Nabeel

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Derek Jensen July 20, 2010 at 11:37 pm

I’m glad I could be of help to you! Twitter is underused and also not used on a personal level meaning people feel they have to use Twitter the right way.

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Alex @ SQL Training July 20, 2010 at 7:23 am

Great post Derek.
This post can certainly help people to understand Twitter more properly and to become more interactive in it. Actually Twitter was meant to be a form of communication when it first was introduced but with time Twitter got completely changed to a marketing tools. It is still great that we still have a good amount of people who actually converse with others.

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Derek Jensen July 20, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Thanks Alex! We surely do need to make conversations our way of marketing.

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Dean Saliba July 20, 2010 at 7:35 am

I am a big fan of Twitter, I’m not making a lot of money from it at the moment but I am sure getting my fair share of free traffic from it.

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Derek Jensen July 20, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Dean,

I just hope your using it in a way that benefits you in the long run.

Best,
Derek

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Ryan Biddulph July 20, 2010 at 7:51 am

Hi Derek,

Thanks for sharing your twitter insight.

The power of twitter is in conversation. Engagement is where relationship-building starts and no matter what business you are in, it’s about relationships.

I gained over 13,000 followers by making the RT and @reply functions my best friends. The idea is to connect with people, not to pitch them. Without showing interest in your followers your links will never get clicked.

Ryan Biddulph

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Derek Jensen July 20, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Ryan,

You’ve got it! You and I should help out many other bloggers in trying to understand this issue. Additionally, we need to just be ourselves because these ‘conversations’ tend to be somewhat robotic.

Best,
Derek

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Adventures in Children's Publishing July 20, 2010 at 9:01 am

Derek, thanks for the informative article! The possibilities with Twitter are endless. It’s something that as a writer has opened up connections in ways I never imagined.

Marissa

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Derek Jensen July 20, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Marissa,

You’re welcome and I’m curious to know if you have used Twitter to help condense your thoughts for writing.

Best,
Derek

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Jack @ internet parental controls July 20, 2010 at 9:14 am

Great post Derek. I’ve been tasked with promoting my companies new product. My boss is reluctant to approve a company blog due to the time required to make it effective. All of my past experience with SEO and driving traffic have involved blogging and generating social buzz. Do you have any ideas on how to use Twitter and FaceBook, etc. to promote a product that just has a smalll static website? I don’t have a steady steam of new content to promote.

Thanks. Jack.

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Derek Jensen July 20, 2010 at 11:47 pm

You’re welcome Jack!

I hope your boss will begin to recognize how much business he could gain from starting a blog that will basically run itself in a couple years.

For using Twitter I would use Search.Twitter.com and look for keywords to your product and then begin having conversations with those people. No pitching! Here you will take a chance to see if they will check out your product on their own.

For using Facebook there are many fan/community pages that might be similar to your product. Start connecting with those people that are apart of those pages. Remember it’s all about the conversations not pitching.

Good luck!

Best,
Derek

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Richard Scott July 20, 2010 at 10:14 am

Excellent post. I think you have some really good points here Derek. I use Twitter to gain ideas as well. It’s cool to see what people are talking about and it can spark your creative juices. I do think LISTS is the way to go. Otherwise you’ll never be able to keep track of your favorite people or conversations. If only Twitter wasn’t so slow. haha

Plus, I wish you didn’t have to use Hootsuite or any of the others to manage multiple accounts. Gets to be a pain logging in and out all the time. I just feel even more distance using those programs. Plus, I find they are great for scheduling tweets, but that’s about all.

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Derek Jensen July 20, 2010 at 11:49 pm

Thanks Richard!

(still need to get to your other message) But, I feel that we need to use the lists feature more as I stated in this post. I feel that if it wasn’t for these Twitter clients many companies would actually twitter for conversations and not for marketing purposes. There’s the other negative.

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Robert @ Techinfo-4u.com July 20, 2010 at 11:17 am

Twitter is a great resource for me all right, I get fair amounts of traffic from twitter for my posts when they’re first published,. however, I don’t feel that the people following me on twitter really are that interested in becoming part of the site. More just reading a quick post and then leaving.

I need to somehow get more loyal followers……..any ideas?

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Derek Jensen July 20, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Robert,

You may get more followers by putting in more time and effort and start communicating with people, holding conversations, and showing who you really are and why they should visit your site. No pitching though.

Best,
Derek

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Dev - Technshare.com July 20, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Excellent Post Derek. Twitter is one of my top traffic source.
Tweetdeck and hootsuite are very useful tools. I usually use hootsuite.

Thanks for sharing this great Post. Awesome work man.

~Dev

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Derek Jensen July 20, 2010 at 11:51 pm

I appreciate it Dev! You keep up the work!

Best,
Derek

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James@Architectural Salvage July 20, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Dev thanks for sharing the Tweetdeck and Hootsuite tools. I had no idea about those tools at first but after reading your comment I went and downloaded them and they are great. Tools are the best and especially the hootsuite.

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Andrew Henderson July 21, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Great post, Derek! This post has caused me to rethink my entire Twitter approach.

Despite having created a personal account over three years ago, I rarely used Twitter. I’m trying to learn the benefits of it now but still struggle. About six months ago I started a blog and created an account for the site. It has been one of our main sources of traffic, but I am starting to worry that despite that fact, many of our followers are not true supporters (a subject you mentioned in this post and in the comments). I have to admit I am guilty of recruiting followers by following, however I do my best to use the account to communicate with followers and not simply blast our own articles. I would take a new approach going forward.

Having both personal account and a brand account, it seems an entirely different set of rules apply for each. I find having our logo as the profile image to be a challenge. Some people automatically think it is spam despite the fact that I do my best to interact with followers. What do you suggest for overcoming the Twitter brand account stigma?

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Derek Jensen July 21, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Hey Andrew,

We should connect on Twitter! I’m @byderekj

And I’m glad you have enjoyed this post and think the points you bring up in your comment are things I have also dealt with.

What I plan on doing (when launching my brand new blog) is actually have a Twitter account for that blog but not really use it. Instead I will use my personal Twitter account. But, if you wish to use a branded Twitter account like you’ve described I’d recommend to create a Twitter background and edit the profile info to say who actually is tweeting. We can talk more on twitter ;)

Best,
Derek

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Andrew Henderson July 22, 2010 at 11:39 am

Cool. Thanks. I’m now following you. @AndrewHenderson

I’m already ahead of you. We currently have a branded background (although it needs an update) @BeerSessions, and I end tweets with – tweet by @AndrewHenderson so followers know who is saying what.

If you don’t plan to use the branded account why create it? Do you think it will build a following? Interested to understand your strategy.

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Derek Jensen July 22, 2010 at 1:49 pm

My reasoning for having a branded Twitter account is just so people or spammers don’t get one with your name and use it against you.

You can see this actually in the post I wrote on my Tumblr.

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Derek Jensen July 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm

My reasoning for having a branded Twit ter account is just so people or spammers don’t get one with your name and use it against you.

You can see this actually in the post I wrote on my Tumblr.

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shaik July 22, 2010 at 1:45 am

Pretty insightful post. Never thought that it was this simple after all. I had spent a good deal of my time looking for someone to explain this subject clearly and you’re the only one that ever did that. Keep it up

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Derek Jensen July 22, 2010 at 1:55 am

Shaik,

I appreciate the kind words. Hit me up on Twitter @byderekj if you’d like. We can talk more ;)

Best,
Derek

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Reza Winandar July 25, 2010 at 7:20 am

Lists are more likely categories in blog, but what we do about list is just abandon it. We must create a few list so our conversation will be more effective.

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Derek Jensen July 25, 2010 at 9:57 am

Reza,

You’re correct. They are like allowing us to always be updated and organized on information that we would like to be broadcasted to our individual communities.

Best,
Derek

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Avinash July 31, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Twitter can be a great tool. But I was not able to use it to full after it looked more as a spam to me rather than a constructive tool. I stopped using it almost. But later on unfollowed almost everyone and now it seems it is on track.

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Derek Jensen July 31, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Avinash,

Sometimes it’s always good to start fresh now that you know better ways to use the tool such as Twitter in this case.

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Murlu August 1, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Yes, Twitter can be great for traffic but the true power comes form the connections you gain.

Much like how you’d make awesome friends on forums and such, Twitter lets you find a ton of people that are very knowledgeable and want to work with you on projects – you just need to seek out these people.

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Derek Jensen August 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm

And many times people don’t seek out these people, they just add a bunch of followers to their following count hoping they follow back. Instead, we should connect with everyone that we follow.

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seospidy@Seo Services Company August 12, 2010 at 3:37 am

Twitter is most powerful application its like magic to me. spammers use it for spamming in internet. for me twitter is like tech hub i got latest tech news, gadgets, tips tricks and guidelines i m following all internet marketing guru’s.

thanks very interesting post.

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Elihu5991 March 31, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Wow, excellent advice Derek. Thank you. I’ve had trouble trying to utilize Twitter, as you can see here twitter.com/thirdspaceme . So I’m currently mainly using it as a platform to let subscribers know of new articles.

I’m going to try to use your advice and see if it makes any difference.

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