Twitter and Microblogging



Introduction twitter and microblogging

Microblogging is a form of blogging that limits the size of each post; for instance, Twitter updates can contain only 140 characters. This limitation has spawned a set of features, protocols, and behavior that are entirely unique to the medium. Twitter started to take off in terms of popularity in the first half of 2009as a result of high-profile celebrity members and a mention on Oprah, and now it has become more mainstream than other similar social media tools.Most companies should be on Twitter; it’s easy, requires very little investment of time, and can quickly prove worthwhile in increased buzz, sales, and consumer insight. You can use Twitter to announce offers or events, promote new blog posts, or keep your readers in the know with links to important news stories. 

 Numbers and underscores in your username typically lead to fewer followers.

Protocol
  • The microblog is a type of social media site, and although Twitter is the dominant flavor currently, this may not always be true. I’ll introduce you to the basic elements of the microblogging format in this section.

Account
  • On Twitter, personal and company accounts exist alongside a wide range of fictional and inanimate accounts. Compared to other social media sites, Twitter corporate accounts enjoy greater acceptance.It’s OK to set up an account for your company, as well as an account for yourself individually. In fact, my research has shown that “official brand” Twitter accounts are often highly followed.Many successful Twitter versus their first and last names joined together into one long string as the handles (the Twitter term for usernames). Unfortunately, some people (especially those with common names) cannot do this because their first and last names have already been taken, so they resort to a name with underscores and numbers. This means that because I already use @danzarrella as my Twitter

  • handle, the next Dan Zarrella to join Twitter might end up picking @dan_zarrella. This is a bad idea, particularly

Certain titles in your bio tend to lead to more followers.

Bio

  • When you’re creating your account, you’ll have 160 characters in a section called “Bio” to explain who you are. This takes very little time to write, and research has shown that accounts with bios have far more followers on average than accounts without bios.

  • I explored what relationship the content of a user’s bio has on the number of followers the user has.Marketers and entrepreneurs tend to have more followers than the rest, as do accounts labeled official,founder, expert, and author. I also looked at the relationship between follower numbers and gender and family roles. I found that spouses and parents have more followers than the average, whereas people who refer to themselves by the somewhat diminutive terms boy and girl have fewer followers. While looking over the large list of commonly occurring words, I noticed that lots of people use emoticons in their bios and nearly all of them have a negative relationship with follower numbers.


Background
  • Twitter gives you the ability to design and upload a custom background image for your account page.Some users take advantage of this and add lots of extra information about themselves, including other social sites where they can be found. Since these background images are not clickable, they can befrustrating, especially to new users. The best custom background image to use is one that shows your company’s colors or logo to reinforce your brand image.

 
 Any tweet containing your username will be shown on your Replies page.

Tweeting
  • The core of Twitter is the tweet: a 140-character or less text message posted to Twitter. The word tweet can be used as a noun, as in, “Have you seen this tweet?” and as a verb, as in, “Please tweet this.”Twitter was originally intended as a way for people to answer the question “What are you doing?” And although some people post real-time updates about their lives, it is far more useful for marketers totweet about new content, offers, and news, as well as respond to questions from other users.

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Following
  • When you follow someone on Twitter, you’ll see her tweets in her timeline, and if she follows you back, she’ll see yours. The number of followers you have is the number of people who will potentially beex posed to your tweets, so to increase your reach, you should try to get more followers

  • It’s not a bad idea for those on corporate accounts to follow everyone who follows you; to do other wise may make your brand appear aloof. Several web-based services will do this for you. Those on personal accounts, on the other hand, should not feel obligated to do this. In fact, my research shows that Twitter uers who have more followers than people they are following tend to have larger audiences.

  • When you’re first getting started, you can use Twitter’s Find People feature to locate people you already communicate with via email to follow. You should also use Twitter search to find people talking about your company, industry, and interests, and make sure to follow them as well. 




Replies
  • Conversations on Twitter are conducted through “@” replies. When you include “@username” in a tweet, where username is the name of the person you’re talking to, it will show up in that person’s Replies tab. Likewise, you can see who has mentioned your name by clicking on the “@username” link when you’re logged in to Twitter. If a tweet starts with an @ sign, only people who are following both you and the person you tweeted will see it in their friends timeline. Replies such as this are still public if someone views your Twitter stream specifically or uses Twitter search.

     
  • To seem approachable and genuinely interested in conversation, you should respond to as many messages as you can. A good way to keep an eye on this is to look at your stream and count the percentage of your tweets that are replies versus those that are not.

Retweets
  • Retweets are the most powerful mechanisms for marketers on Twitter. If I tweet something, my followers will see it. If you are following me and you copy and paste what I’ve posted verbatim to your Twitter stream, your followers will see it, and one of them may also retweet it. This way, a message can spread virally through Twitter, reaching tens or hundreds of times as many people as it would if only a single person tweeted. It can be useful to ask your followers to retweet something you’ve posted (but do so in moderation). The popular Twitter client Tweet Deck has a retweet button, so it has defined a kind of defacto standard format for retweeting. Many people also add their own thoughts at the end of a retweet.


 Asking for retweets works.

Try to credit at least the original user who posted the tweet. If you have room, also try to credit the
person whose retweet you saw. Do not start the retweet with an @ sign.
• The most common retweet format is RT: @username. Typically, this is reserved for the original poster.
• If the original tweet included a call to action (such as “please retweet”), try to keep that in your retweet.
• If the original tweet has a link in it, keep it there.
• Try to keep as much of the original tweet intact as possible, but it is acceptable to add your take on
it (especially at the end, in parentheses).
• Try to credit at least the original user who posted the tweet. If you have room, also try to credit the
person whose retweet you saw.
• The most common retweet format is RT: @username. Typically, this is reserved for the original poster.
• If the original tweet included a call to action (such as “please retweet”), try to keep that in your retweet.
• If the original tweet has a link in it, keep it there.
• Try to keep as much of the original tweet intact as possible, but it is acceptable to add your take on
it (especially at the end, in parentheses). 


Tranding Topics
  • Twitter has developed an algorithm that tracks mentions of words and phrases up to three words long, and highlights those that are the most talked about at any given point in time. You’ll find this as a top 10 list in the right hand column of your Twitter page. Popular events, news, and memes generally make up these trending topics  If your company’s name appears in this list, it can drive a significant amount of buzz and awareness, but the actual number of new followers or traffic produced is often surprisingly low. A better way to use trending topics is as a barometer for what the Twitter community is currently interested in and talking about.

Hashtags
  • To connect ideas and conversations into a cohesive stream in Twitter’s otherwise free-form landscape, people often use hashtags. Simply a word preceded by the pound or number sign (#), a hashtag is used to indicate that a certain tweet is about the same topic as every other tweet using the same tag. In many Twitter clients, clicking on a hashtag will bring you to a search for that term. In the Twitter search results, you can see the entire conversation that used that tag in real time.

    Popular uses of hashtags include social media campaigns, news, political events and issues, and conferences. They help unify topics that might be discussed with a handful of different words. Tweets about the Boston Red Sox, for example, could include the words Bo Sox, Sox, or Red Sox; using #RedSox keeps it all organized.




Clients

Twitter was originally built for messaging from mobile phones via SMS, and although the website is the most popular Twitter interface right now, hundreds of third-party applications are available that add more features for tweeting. Some of these applications make it easier to manage lots of followers or to update your tweets from your phone. Here is a sampling of these applications: 

  1. TweetDeck

  • My favorite Twitter client and the most popular application, TweetDeck offers features that simplify managing lots of followers, such as groups, searches, and Twitpic integration. TweetDeck is free and runs on Adobe Air, so you can use it on Mac, Windows, and many types of Linux machines.

     2. Tweetie

  • Tweetie is an application for Macs and iPhones. The Mac software has a free version that is ad supported, as well as a paid version. The iPhone software can be purchased through Apple’s App Store. Both the Mac and iPhone versions can handle multiple accounts and support threaded reply and direct message conversations.

      3. Twhirl

  • Twhirl is another Adobe Air desktop application. It includes a spellchecker and is designed to be very simple and easy to use, making it a good client for new Twitter users. Power users may find it too limiting, however. 

      4. HootSuite

  • HootSuite is my favorite web-based Twitter client. It allows teams to manage single (or multiple) accounts, and it includes functionality to schedule tweets to be posted in the future. It is integrated with the Ow.ly URL shortener, and offers extensive analytics regarding clicks and mentions of your brand. 

Takeaway Tips

• Microblogging is a quick and easy way to get into social media and promote your content.
• Set up your account for optimal following and tweeting, with a good avatar and an optimized bio.
• Follow people you already know, and search for people who tweet about your interests and follow
them.
• Twitter is all about two-way conversations; engage with people, don’t just broadcast.
• Ask for retweets (politely) to get them.
• Monitor the trending topics list to check the pulse of the Twittersphere.
• Use Twitter clients that help you manage your account on your desktop and mobile device.



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