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How Twitter Works

January 7, 2009

Corey Creed (@Charlotte_SEO) has invited me to participate in a panel for the Charlotte SEO Meetup’s next event, Twitter Experts – How (and why) they do it!, along with the fantastic company of Lisa Hoffmann (@LisaHoffmann, 2 f’s, 2 n’s), Jason Keith Keath (@jakrose) and Roy Morejon (@roymorejon).

I’d never consider myself an “expert” when it comes to Twitter, but if someone else thought of me as such, it’s only because I know how to use Twitter to learn, share and grow; and that’s by relying on my followers and the people I follow.

Corey is going to present four questions to the panel for each of us to answer. Since Twitter made me the “expert” that I am, it only makes sense that Twitter answer these questions instead of me!

So I am asking for your help. Please weigh in with your thoughts and opinions for the four following questions, and together we can all illustrate the real power and value of Twitter in a practical way.

Just post your thoughts and responses and your Twitter username in the comments. In return, you’ll have my sincerest thanks and I’ll give all of you public credit for contribution. Let’s see how this works.

Here are the questions:

  1. For all the time you spend on it, what benefit do you get from Twitter?
  2. How could a small business use Twitter efficiently to gain or keep customers?
  3. What tools help you use Twitter efficiently?
  4. What is your one favorite tip to making Twitter work for you?

BONUS: Do you have any better questions that would be more appropriate to ask?

The event is Thursday, January 8, at 7:00pm, and it will be live-streamed via Ustream (link forthcoming) at Live-tweets will be tagged #semclt.

Thank you!!!

36 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2009 7:39 pm

    If you’re not a geek and really want to know how Twitter works, check out this link: it’s absolutely brilliant. 😉 But kudos Lyle – you ARE an expert.

  2. Ron Strout permalink
    January 7, 2009 7:43 pm

    How could Twitter improve its site to make it easier to use?

    The whole process of connection to others when Tweeting is awkward. There is no easy way to do a lookup of contacts that you would like to include in your tweet. They should have a mechanism to solve this. Replies are also not as intuitive at they might be.

    • 93octane permalink*
      January 7, 2009 8:55 pm

      Ron, could you provide your Twitter username so I can credit you properly? Thanks!

  3. January 7, 2009 7:44 pm

    Lyell – Looking forward to presenting with you, Jason and Lisa tomorrow.

    Here is the URL for the Ustream feed:

  4. Ron Strout permalink
    January 7, 2009 7:48 pm

    Small business use, could be a great tool. The hard part is to build a following that is relevant. And building the following is a challenge if you are new to Twitter. Once you get going you can go viral, but the getting going part is a bit of a challenge. It would be useful to have Twitter provide some type of interest or industry affiliation that would allow you tweet people that have indicated that they are open to being tweeted by those with similar interests.

  5. January 7, 2009 7:49 pm

    1. For all the time you spend on it, what benefit do you get from Twitter?
    People post interesting articles, tips and thoughts. I have also met many great people at meet ups that has stemmed from my Twitter interactions so it is good networking.
    2. How could a small business use Twitter efficiently to gain or keep customers?
    Talk to @CruiseDeals and @CruiseSource they went from 0 followers to a ton in short time by advertising a free cruise by making people follow both of them. During that time they sent out deals and announcements which was free advertising. Also Zappos CEO is interactional with customers on Twitter. It can give a human face to your company and people will deal more with someone they likely have talked to personally.
    3. What tools help you use Twitter efficiently?
    Tweetdeck on Mac is huge for me because I can see searches and replies (for those following me but I don’t currently follow). I keep it on a separate pane and can flip to it when a new tweet comes in.
    4. What is your one favorite tip to making Twitter work for you?
    Have fun. Show your personality. If you use it simply to gain followers, throw out advertisements, or profile a demographic then people will stop paying attention. But if your wit or personality is interjected, you suddenly become more interesting and when you eventually throw out an occasional advertisement, people will be more apt to check out your business side.

  6. January 7, 2009 7:52 pm

    Oh forgot: twitter name UTKevDawg

  7. January 7, 2009 7:53 pm

    1. Meeting new folks has been the main benefit I’ve reaped from Twitter. I have also been directed to some fairly interesting info via Tweets, but I would say I click on a link in a Tweet about 5% of the time.

    2. Small biz could use Twitter as inexpensive blogging platform; could use it as a resource bank/help desk – you can get a lot of questions answered on Twitter very quickly; could use it to identify and cultivate partners; could use it as biz development tool by searching for potential customers.

    3. I am currently just using, though everyone sez Tweetdeck is the way to go. Also, use Twitter Search to monitor mentions of our company.

    4. Twitter first started working for me after I had met some of the people I follow. This made them more “real” to me. Don’t know if that’s a tip, but there you are. The main tip I would say is, “Reply, Retweet, Repeat” – Replying to people helps make the experience more conversational and engaging; retweeting helps you build community by supporting others; repeating things you’ve overheard or passing along interesting links you’ve read gives your tweets useful content for others to share.

  8. January 7, 2009 7:53 pm

    Lyell, congrats oh great expert of the Twitterati! 🙂 Here are my thoughts/opinions & 10 minutes spared:

    1. For me the point of joining twitter in the first place was to find people who were in marketing in Charlotte. I have been able to meet and connect with smart people in the area who I can bounce ideas off of, joke with and learn with. That’s been my benefit.

    2. Most what I’ve seen is as a customer service tool or a way to listen to what people are saying about you. Some places have tweeted specials or deals or coupons. I think the only limitation is going to be creativity.

    3. Twitterific. SMS. Sometimes Twhirl. Just general time management too.

    4. Let it be fun. We all have goals and things we need to get done. But sometimes ya just gotta have some fun with it. The other tip is to always remember there’s someone out there that’s smarter than you. Connect with them and learn. Never stop learning.

    Hope that helps! 🙂

  9. sarahstewart permalink
    January 7, 2009 7:55 pm


    1. Get help to questions. Access to lots of great information. Find links to synchronous events really useful – Twitter acts as a sort of diary. See a more personal side to people whose blogs I follow.
    3. I use TwitterFox
    4. You have to work quite hard at first to see the value & build up a network, so my tip is to work at it initially – spend time sending out tweets and making connections. Then, things will pick up and your networking will take on a pace of its own

  10. January 7, 2009 8:02 pm

    you’ll do great up there on the panel. here’s my deal.

    1. the opportunity to complain, swear and expound without repercussion. posting is, completely, a form of therapy especially when i’m not having a good day.

    2. engage followers with comedy. not product placements. the rest will follow.

    3. web ui. tweetie for the iphone.

    4. don’t worry about follow count. don’t even mention it or you’ll look like a douche.

  11. January 7, 2009 8:07 pm

    1. Presence, Awareness, Conversations, Breaking News, Polls/Q&A, Loose Connections (Ambient Intimacy is what the web heads call it), Event or Location networking with people – all of this about any topic.
    2. Inform community about news, deals, events, etc. Connect with clients, customers, partners to build trust and connection for business. Online reputation management, hear what people are saying about you in real time.
    3. for mobile, twhirl or tweetdeck for desktop, txt/sms for mobile, for broadcast. brightkite for location aware. Various web mashups: tweetgrid, hashtags, strawpoll.
    4. The more you do it, the more useful it becomes. Don’t just lurk.

    Bonus: What is more important: How many followers you have or how many you follow?
    My answer: Who you follow is important. Don’t chase followers, it’s a false measure.

  12. January 7, 2009 8:17 pm

    also twitter is a news source for me (not from news source accounts, but people i follow). i barely use google reader anymore.

    KEY MESSAGE: businesses benefit by people mentioning a product. how to do this? have a sound product or service that already has legs outside of twitter. twitter is not the tool. twitter is not the market. people are. traditional advertising still applies!

    i.e. a sysadmin mentioning a backup product they use (that i’ve never heard of) and i google the product and make a purchasing decision. if this company is also on twitter, great. but i really would not care otherwise.

  13. January 7, 2009 8:21 pm

    Good luck on the panel.

    Not that my 6 months of using twitter has given me any real knowledge to preach to anyone else but here goes…..

    1. One benefit I get from Twitter is seeing what others are doing and how they are communicating with each other. I also get to see the latest social media trends.

    2. Engagement is the key to businesses using Twitter. I agree with the post above. If you tweet with price points and agenda’s they you will probably not have a great twitter experience. But if you engage your followers humor or wit, that goes along way to making the feed work for your business.

    3. I don’t have a fancy iPhone or Blackberry so I just have my DM’s sent directly to my cheap a$$ Razor:(

    4. HAVE FUN!! Oh, yeah don’t go in expecting to get 100 followers the first day.

    Again good luck tomorrow. \m/

  14. January 7, 2009 8:23 pm

    1) Twitter allows me to find & connect with smart & clever people in my immediate area. This not only helps me have a more interesting life but it informs me of tips, resources and better parties. On the work side I find other technologists in higher education that can provide feedback on my current projects

    2) Let’s try an example: @MarthaVan follows @joejacobi and she’s an entrepreneur of a reusable freshening wipe called Action Wipes for when the time or water for a shower is not available (camping, cleaning up after outdoor sports, bike commuting etc). @JoeJacobi started following me after I mentioned “surfing”. I tweeted about a conflict I had between attending a 5K & barcampCLT. @joejacobi suggested using an Action Wipe after my race to get to my next event more timely than going home to shower. I asked what it was and @marthavan started following me & offered to mail me a free sample.

    The takeaways are to identify your core customer (kayaker, runner, etc) & follow them. Listen for the natural moment to introduce your product/service. Use search tools for notify you of mentions of related keywords and or your brand name.

    3) Tweetdeck. I have a search box watching for mentions of the phrase “higher ed”

    4) Be nice. Find out what the focus of your followers is & what they hope to learn from you.


  15. January 7, 2009 8:24 pm

    For all the time you spend on it, what benefit do you get from Twitter?

    It’s an ear to the ground in my community/market. I get a good sense of what’s going on, what real people are really doing, and I know more people on a deeper level now than I ever have.

    How could a small business use Twitter efficiently to gain or keep customers?

    Gain by increasing name recognition and building relationships *before* future customers need your product/service. Also, by tracking certain terms on Twitter. (A handyman could search the words “my” plus “broke” among tweeps in his area, for example. If I tweet that my stupid ceiling fan broke, you can sweep in and offer to fix it and I’d be so relieved.)

    What tools help you use Twitter efficiently? and TweetDeck, absolutely. Also any URL shortener with tracking–my fave so far is

    What is your one favorite tip to making Twitter work for you?

    As the “social media greats” have said, tweet about “What has my attention/interest?” rather than “What am I doing?”

    Great questions! @danielklotz.

    My bonus question would be, How can you even make an attempt at measuring ROI of time spent on Twitter?

  16. January 7, 2009 8:38 pm

    Sorry I’m going to miss it, I was ready to jam, but it looks like a huge crowd is in for it. Especially since Lyell will be there. ;-P

    Q: For all the time you spend on it, what benefit do you get from Twitter?
    A: Community, connectedness, outreach, help, global & local mastermind group.

    Q: How could a small business use Twitter efficiently to gain or keep customers?
    A: We do it every day with our little chocolate business. It’s the cheapest PR ever and all you have to do is be passionate. Most people err in not being responsive, or hard pitching. Be a human, enjoy the medium, speak from the heart, and follow people who love what you love.

    Q: What tools help you use Twitter efficiently?
    A: Tweetdeck is currently the choice tool but there is no perfect app. We need something that will allow us to juggle groups of people, multiple identities, scan the public timeline, and not become an anchor of a computer process.

    Q: What is your one favorite tip to making Twitter work for you?
    A: Again, be a value. Love being who you are and engage with others. Anything less and you will be spotted and possibly called out on which will be a negative. Also if things go wrong don’t freak out and delete/restart your account, that doesn’t show anything but someone who likes to rewrite history. Your followers have elephant memories.

    Andy Ciordia / @ciordia9 & @secretchocolate

  17. January 7, 2009 8:39 pm

    New questions…

    Why has Twitter taken off so well recently?

    Why has Twitter survived its competitors?

  18. January 7, 2009 8:40 pm

    also, my last name is “keath”

  19. January 7, 2009 8:46 pm


    You have received awesome responses and there is not much to add as all the earlier responders have nailed it.

    In business and in life relationships drive everything. The early adopters of Twitter are a very dynamic group. It is a very collaborative tool where many users want to help others accomplish their goals. The part I have enjoyed the most is that sharing mentality also comes through when we get together for Tweetups, Camps, etc.

    Q1. I think for businesses creating collaborative partnerships with other like-minded businesses can be a huge benefit that will be gained from effective use of Twitter. I have already seen it and think that there will be much more of this to come in the future.

    Great Idea for answering your panel Questions – That is why you are on the panel!

  20. January 7, 2009 8:50 pm

    I clearly misunderstood the request. My sincerest apologies. I’m an idiot. To prove it, I’ll answer the four questions now. (ahem)…

    1. For all the time you spend on it, what benefit do you get from Twitter?
    A. Backlogged with stuff I currently get paid to do.

    2. How could a small business use Twitter efficiently to gain or keep customers?
    A. Spend less time there. (don’t know if it’s applicable to ‘small’ brands yet, but mid-to-large ones, certainly)

    3. What tools help you use Twitter efficiently?
    A. A Phillips head and a spatula. I can’t expand on it right now.

    4. What is your one favorite tip to making Twitter work for you?
    A. When twittering via your blackberry in the rain, use an umbrella.

    Seriously, this is a great idea, but I personally think that the entire SM landscape is in such amazing flux, that there are no right answers and if anything, this Q/A will prove one thing – that Twitter is a medium and how we engage in that medium is as individual as each of us are. Its potential is beyond words – the world has simply never seen such communications potential. Like I said on my post above, I think of Twitter as a modern day CB radio with a million channels. and we all have our own handles (and avatars).

    • 93octane permalink*
      January 7, 2009 8:55 pm

      Thanks for expanding your response, Jim!

  21. January 7, 2009 8:50 pm

    Ooh, questions! I’ve provided my answers below, but I would like to point out a few things first:

    1) There is no “wrong” or “right” way to use Twitter. Yes, there are “socially accepted” ways (like the fact that you shouldn’t Tweet 100% about your stuff, it’s not a shouting tool!), but everoyne is free to use Twitter however they’d like, just as free as their followers are to un-follow.

    2) Some of the Twitter slang is a bit silly, but you get used to it. Tweets, Tweeple, Twitterverse, Twitterland, TwitPic, the list of slang (and services, for the last one) goes on and on.

    Now, onto my answers!

    Question 1: For all the time you spend on it, what benefit do you get from Twitter?

    Answer 1: Twitter connects me with friends old and new alike, as well as business contacts and people whom have loose connections or mutual interests. The true value of Twitter for ME is the community. I follow and am followed by people across many time zones and regularly recieve responses to questions I ask 24 hours a day. It’s both a sounding board and a community, and bringing Twitter connectings into “the real world” has been one of the biggest joys for me over the past few months.

    More specifically, thus far Twitter has: Responded with support that moved me to (a few) tears when I was laid off in early December. Sent well-wishes and follow-up messages responding to a Tweet about a family member having cancer. Taught me something new EVER SINGLE DAY, whether through blog posts, conversations, or stand-alone tweets offering new perspectives.

    I don’t know if there is one true benefit for me, but the combination of the community, the camraderie, and the learning opportunities has been absolutely invaluable, and those three reasons are why I stay.

    Question 2: How could a small business use Twitter efficiently to gain or keep customers?

    Answer 2: The answer depends on whether their customers are ON Twitter. Assuming the answer is “Yes”, a few ideas would be to announce upcoming exhibits (such as trade shows, community events, etc), provide “special incentives” such as discounts or additional products/services, provide an alternative customer service channel and proactively reach out to people tweeting about their company or industry, and use Twitter to solicit feedback (both good AND bad) about their current state of operations. Additionally, they could integrate Twitter with their website and/or blog, as well as any seminars and/or webinars they hosted. Providing input and asking questions real-time is quite neat, and Twitter’s ability to let their customers/prospects view all chatter via the use of hashtags (#) is quite beneficial for real-time, and record-keeping purposes.

    Question 3: What tools help you use Twitter efficiently?

    Answer 3: I JUST became a fan of “friend or follow” ( today, and regularly use TwitPic, TweetBeep and idek ( to post and monitor Twitter.

    As always, is VERY powerful, and while I’ve taken a look at some of the Twitter group sites, I’ve not spent much time on them to date.

    I do have an iPhone and currently use TwitterFon to post on-the-go. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about Tweetie, but promised myself to wait until I accepted an offer to purchase (only $3.00. but it’s the point!). I’ve also used Twittelator and liked the service a lot, but find that TwitterFon has a better UI for my eye.

    Question 4: What is your one favorite tip to making Twitter work for you?

    Answer 4: I’ll make this short. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. Find your purpose for being on Twitter and stay true to that purpose.

    Oh, and forget about the “I have/want X number of followers for X reason”. It’s about the VALUE of your community, not the SIZE.

  22. January 7, 2009 9:00 pm

    I’d be lying if I said I got measurable business value out of Twitter. Even less so from Plurk. But I do get intrinsic value out of the professional relationships. It was predominantly within IBM when I started, because a few of our people were early adopters (natch).

    It has become a great self-marketing tool as well, now that I’m regularly blogging (+1 week and counting; let’s see). So getting to know other professionals (I hesitate to say fellow experts, because it assumes I am one too) is valuable; IBM doesn’t corner the market on all the cool social software (yet), after all.

    Small business? Seems some bigger companies are finding marketing value in the tool for showing a real ear to customer input. My church is using it to help keep people in the loop on where we are in the aftermath of losing the most important part of our church building to a fire. And I have used Twitter to act as an IM proxy when no one can standardize on AIM, Yahoo or Sametime.

    As a soft pimp job, I wonder where you would place Twitter on the social software continuum?

  23. Jenna Jantsch permalink
    January 7, 2009 9:09 pm

    Good luck & have fun! @VR4SmallBiz

    1. For all the time you spend on it, what benefit do you get from Twitter?

    The connection with people it would be otherwise much harder to make is invaluable. But also the spread of ideas and instant feedback are top on our list.

    2. How could a small business use Twitter efficiently to gain or keep customers?

    Twitter allows you to extend your business’s culture outside of the ‘office’. You can gain or keep customers by including them in the discussion and encouraging others to join in.

    3. What tools help you use Twitter efficiently?

    TweetDeck, hands down our favorite tool. Makes searching, following and tweeting so easy!

    4. What is your one favorite tip to making Twitter work for you?

    Have fun with it, it’s called social media for a reason.

  24. January 7, 2009 9:19 pm

    Here’s the discussion we had at lunch – Twitter is not going to be what it is – just like the web’s first conception.

    So, what is it going to become, because that’s the direction we all want to be going in. I think.

    Thanks again for the invite and lunch organization!

  25. January 7, 2009 10:32 pm

    Great questions!

    1) For all the time you spend on it, what benefit do you get from Twitter?
    – ability to learn from subject matter experts, community
    – leveraging collective wisdom, insights, support
    – know people at a “deeper” level than public personas on blogs etc
    – discover personal and professional opportunities

    2) How could a small business use Twitter efficiently to gain or keep customers?
    – engage in brand dialogue
    – customer relationship management
    – extend the brand promise in real-time to customer, partners
    – harness collective to provide new or ancillary value-adds
    – scale the business

    3) What tools help you use Twitter efficiently?
    – TweetDeck
    – TinyURL

    4) What is your one favorite tip to making Twitter work for you?
    – Have an open attitude
    – More participation, less consumption (I’m encouraged to do more of this for 2009. Thanks to @warrenss!

  26. January 8, 2009 1:56 am

    1. For all the time you spend on it, what benefit do you get from Twitter?
    I get to listen to smart people and read (and see) smart information. As someone said earlier, I learn something new every day on Twitter.

    2. How could a small business use Twitter efficiently to gain or keep customers?
    –quality control and customer feedback, quickly;
    –targeted “soft” sells — the amount of information a company can glean from someone’s tweetstream is very valuable and allows companies to do ad-like things that are not offensive because they’re reaching only the people very interested in specific products or companies;
    –“friend of a friend” networking and word of mouth, one of the best sales techniques. Twitter is built on connections of followers and followers’ followers: all the connections work just like word-of-mouth advertising, or better.

    3. What tools help you use Twitter efficiently?
    Twitpic and Twitterrific., including the advanced search.
    Tried TweetDeck, didn’t do much for me, will give it another chance., similar to TweetDeck but with fewer features (which is sometimes a good thing).
    On my list to check out: for multiple Twitter accounts.

    4. What is your one favorite tip to making Twitter work for you?
    Read and listen to what others are saying. Interact. Then walk away from the keyboard sometimes (that’s the hard part).

  27. January 8, 2009 1:56 am

    Wow, I can’t imagine topping the comments that have covered Alpha to Omega but since the power is still out at home and my 11 year old is interigating the mgr of Dicks about the integrity of their windows, here’s my input 🙂
    1. For all the time you spend on it, what benefit do you get from Twitter? As a working(in real estate) mom (3kids, 2 Golden Retrievers, 1 pony 1 husband :)) I spend a vast amount of time on the go and on my Blackberry/ on the phone. Twitter wasn’t & isn’t a business draw (despite my TweetCall RealtorLiz hubby chose from the selection).Twitter has become a meaningful source of breaking news and clever, fun, relevant (wind storm) conversation. I look forward to actually meeting the CLT tweeters in person. Its a great avenue to find common wit in short passages. 2.How could a small business use Twitter efficiently to gain or keep customers? This is a question better directed to my husband with ROI. Twitter is about establishing a connection. emphasis on service. When you trust and like someone, it makes business smooth provided the person being trusted is qualified and deserves the trust (Madoff has received lots of tweets). Twitter gives the opportuntiy for personality. Here is one example. I ordered from Zappos last week and mentioned it in my tweet. @zappos thanked me, followed me(which is still new to me) and upgraded the shipping. I got the boots in a day and tweeted appreciation a few times @zappos about fit, service. 3. What tools help you use Twitter efficiently?Tweeterbery I feel like June Clever driving, reading and typing (shhh no I don’t do that)…can’t one of you invent the talking walking twilking companion? 4. What is your one favorite tip to making Twitter work for you? Enjoy what you find of interest & don’t waste time on those who don’t benefit you (including me). Its a personal experience make it one.

  28. January 8, 2009 2:00 am

    So, if I say something groundbreaking about Twitter hear, will you mention me during your presentation? 😉

    I’m not a business owner or a sales manager. Making sales doesn’t matter to me, and I suspect that’s one thing many business owners want us to tell them Twitter can do.

    Yes, Twitter CAN help with sales, but don’t expect it to rescue your anemic revenues.

    My top gains from Twitter?

    * Crowdsourced answers to questions — faster than Google and a better array of answers.

    * New/stronger relationships where geography was once a barrier.

    * Increased brand awareness for PRstore

    * Fewer criticisms of PRstore by under-informed bloggers.

    * Significant increases in inbound links to site/blog (good for SEO).

    * Significant increases in traffice to site/blog.

    * Interviews with journalists and bloggers.

    * Recognition as an authoritative voice in the PR and marketing fields (as measured by retweets, @replies, blog comments, and inbound links).

    * New acquaintances who fill needs I can’t fill myself (collaborators).

    * Potential future business partners?

    How could a small biz use Twitter to gain or keep customers?

    * First, know your customer. People respond to emotion: pride, loneliness, fear, jealousy, desire, laziness, greed. How does your product/service correspond to a basic human emotion?

    * Design a Twitter strategy (indeed, your entire marketing strategy) accordingly.

    * Specific examples of tactics for Twitter:

    – Contests
    – Solicit feedback
    – Answer questions
    – Spotlight on your customers
    – Make decision makers accessible
    – Show accountability for mistakes
    – Twitter discounts/coupons
    – Customer input into new products

    Tools to Make Twitter More Efficient

    * Twhirl (my preferred desktop client)
    * TweetBeep (alerts — when it works)
    * TweetChat (for live, topic-based chats)
    * TwitPic (photo sharing)
    * TweetGrid (to follow multiple topics at once)
    * TinyURL bookmarklet (to shorten a webpage URL in a single click without having to visit
    * ShareThis (to let my blog readers easily share my posts via Twitter)
    * TwitterFeed (to pull breaking news from RSS feeds into Twitter when the news site has an RSS feed but no Twitter account)
    * TwitterSnooze (to “mute” people I follow when they’re engaged in short-term heavy Tweeting)

    Favorite Twitter Tips?

    1) Promote others more than you promote yourself. Sounds counterintuitive, but the payoff is greater.

    2) Use DMs to build deeper, stronger relationships. The greatest secret of Twitter is how much you can accomplish by spending as much time on non-public Tweets (DMs) as you do on public Tweets.

    If you’re a novice Twitter user or you only read the public Tweets, tip #2 may never have occurred to you. It may, in fact, be the most important lesson you can learn about Twitter.

  29. January 8, 2009 3:30 am


    1. People, people, people. Conversations. Learning. Filters of the rivers of news of the web. Fun.

    2. Listen, customer service, marketing, find and empower fans and customers. “Personalize the corporation.” Don’t just follow people because they mention you; reach out to ask questions. Respond as a person, not a corporation. Don’t just stalk because they mention keywords that you track. Listen to what is going on and help as you can. Skip broadcasting.

    3., Summize (oops,, twhirl. But so many more exist…

    4. Play. Test. Find people that do the same, and learn from them. People figure out your agenda, so leave that at the door and bring your personality.

    I learned a lot of these from you…

  30. January 8, 2009 4:00 am

    Looks like you are getting great input to your questions. My thoughts:

    1. Twitter gives me access to a world of ideas, people, expertise, etc., that I wouldn’t find on my own. I learn a tremendous amount from Twitter and try to add value by giving back good ideas, links, questions.

    2. First, as a customer service tool: offer direct access to company and respond promptly to issues. That would provide immediate and measurable benefits. Second, develop a community of loyal followers then actively engage them to improve the way they do business (eg how can I make the customer experience better for you?).

    3. I use TweetDeck. Great tool.

    4. Important to have idea of what you want to get out of it before you get into it. There’s a place for everyone, from the person who tweets their lunch menu to some of top minds in social media. If you know what you want to achieve before you jump in, you’ll have an easier time finding the people to follow and building the community of followers you need to meet your goal.

    Good luck on the panel; look forward to following it. @lancegodard

  31. Vinnie permalink
    January 8, 2009 11:41 am

    For all the time you spend on it, what benefit do you get from Twitter?

    Keeping in touch with family and friends and learning a lot more about my local area since I just moved here 9 months ago.

    How could a small business use Twitter efficiently to gain or keep customers?

    You could use it to resolve customer service issues like Comcast, converse with your customers like Zappos, or you can just stay silent and follow searches, using Twitter as a barometer for customer satisfaction when someone mentions your work. Lots of different ways and there’s no one right way to do it, it’s going to depend on your business.

    What tools help you use Twitter efficiently?

    SMS and IM for realtime (I’m not big on twitter clients like tweetdeck but to each his own). Twitpic for instant reaction to the things I see out in the world. And some useful twitterbots like @cltraffic and @CMPD ;).

    What is your one favorite tip to making Twitter work for you?

    Have fun with it. Even if you use twitter in a business capacity don’t be afraid to let your hair down and joke around once in a while. Show that there’s a person behind the @replies and retweets. Don’t let serious business take over 🙂

  32. January 8, 2009 12:45 pm

    A question I’ve been thinking about lately: what defines success or effectiveness on Twitter? What metric are we judging ourselves against?

  33. January 8, 2009 8:11 pm

    great job everyone. thanks for publishing to ustream for those who could not be there live.

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