Twitter Twitter Twitter

Twitter? What’s that? For most of the faithful Chia Town readers Twitter is old news. Oddly enough Twitter is still not known by some and not understood by others. This post will be mostly for people that have heard about Twitter, know what it is (a quick way to send quick updates as to what you’re up to or what you’re thinking) but still haven’t fully grasped what it is. It MUST be good though…rumors of Apple and of Google buying it have been flying around now so huh…it’s gotta be worth something, right?

So there you are, you’ve set up your Twitter account. You’re still not sure why yet. Who cares if you’re eating a ham sandwich right now? I sure don’t. When Twitter first started that’s pretty much what it was. “I’m taking a crap” and “I just got back from the grocery store” were fairly prevalent posts. After I initially signed up I quickly got bored with it and abandoned it for a while. As I saw more of my friends hopping on I decided to give it another try and see if I missed something the first time. After spending some time figuring out just what I wanted to do with it and what it was useful for I found myself becoming a Twitter junkie. I find it to be a great way to stay up to date with friends and business news.

There are a few things you should ask yourself when setting up an account:

  1. Why are you setting it up? Personal reasons? Professional?
  2. How active do you plan on being?
  3. What do you plan on getting out of it?

These are important questions as you figure out how to configure your account. For example, if you want it to be more professional in nature you’ll want to connect to more businesses and people that are more business-oriented (ie, steer clear of the “I’m so drunk right now” posters). Conversely, if it’s going to be more personal in nature then connect with your friends and avoid the barrage of advertisements and other business-oriented tweets that come from the business people.

There are also some key etiquette points to keep in mind. Please please PLEASE be mindful of these as it can get really annoying for people following your tweets.

  1. DON’T post what is happening on TV shows that you happen to be watching live. Many people nowadays record shows with their DVRs to watch later. Do NOT give away what happens. Not cool man…just not cool.
  2. Try to keep your posts down to a max of 10 a day or so. There are people that post a couple hundred times a day and I’ve had to drop them from my list because their flood kept me from seeing posts from other people.
  3. If someone sends something cool, retweet it and give them credit.

There are also some tools out there to make Twitter more useful to you. For example, I use the “mobile devices” feature so that I am able to send tweets from my cell phone and I am also able to receive tweets from selected people to my cell phone. This can be handy for personal things (“dude! So-and-so is at Brewhouse…let’s go meet them there”) or professional reasons (companies send out coupons or special treats via Twitter and you don’t need to be at the computer to get them. Very handy when a restaurant posts a deal and you are already out looking for food). I myself use TweetDeck to keep things organized as it puts all tweets in one pane, direct messages in another, and replies in yet another. Other utilities that serve similar purposes are Seesmic and Nambu.

Twitter can be fun. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Follow friends. Follow celebs if you want (I was receiving mobile updates from Lance Armstrong during the Amgen Tour of California…cool insights!). Follow businesses. Prove yourself to be a guru in one business or another as you tweet cool stuff. It’s yet another tool that can help you in one endeavor or another if you allow it to be and use it correctly. Interested parties can find me at (@ChiaTown). Other Twitter accounts that have been set up (yes, you can have more than one) are for (@waxporhetoric) and (@thesocialbeast).