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Beginners guide to Twitter: Do’s, don’ts & etiquette

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I saw this post on Nick’s Blog, and I thought it would definitely add some value, as Twitter is becoming a mainstream communication tool.

Yes, Twitter’s gone mainstream in the UK and USA, moving from geek to the street. The UK ’s much beloved Stephen Fry now has 187,000 Followers!! The Web2.0 tech Superstar Kevin Rose 88,000 following is now looking puny compared to the heavy weight celebrities. Poor old Twitter is going to fall apart now with all this new traffic. They could’nt cope before!!

I’m a Twitter newbie and want to know the Twitter do’s, don’ts and etiquette. I’ve held back on Twitter for a long time, preferring the old fashioned Jedi way of Blogging. Even the die hards like my blogger friend Bill Ives are getting in on the Twitter act. Now I’m signed up on Twitter, I want to learn how to Tweet. Searching around I’ve founds lots of hints and tips to answer my questions: twitter-bird How do I get more Twitter follows?

Ryan Carson recommends: re-Tweeting; speaking at events; making new real world friends and write blog posts to increase your Twitter following. Easy, huh! Kevin Rose adds 10 more ideas: Fill out your Twitter bio; put links to your Twitter profile everywhere e.g Digg, LinkedIn, Facebook, blog, etc; Tweet about your passions in life; tell everyone about your Twitter id e.g tell your Mom about Twitter.. 😉 ; Tweet pictures; Start a contest; watch and learn from other Twitterers; look for hot topics and track your results.

What’s a re-Tweet anyway? ‘”RT” or “retweeting” is simply taking a twitter post from someone else and forwarding (rebroadcasting) it to your followers. Retweeting can be a great way to add followers, as it pushes your @username into foreign social graphs, which in turn results in clicks back to your profile. Make sure to track your retweets using retweetist.’ Kevin Rose

What can go wrong with Twitter? Apart from the frustrating down time, but hey it is a free service, Twitter can end up taking alot of time. More than your overflowing email box it seems. I read Jim Connolly’s Marketing blog. He’s got 23,000 Twitter follows and has just thrown in the Twitter towel. He’s been spending (’wasting’) two and a half hours each day on Twitter! Most of this was Twittering with people he did not know.

Like the chief techno geek Robert Scoble Jim is moving to FriendFeed instead. Like email flame-mail Twitter can have a negative impact. Known as Twittercide!! The advice is don’t lose your temper and stay calm, try to defuse conflicts and look for a mediator when necessary.

Unlike one to one email Twitter is open for everyone to view and judge. The marketing and startup guru Seth Godin warns people about using Twitter because it’s easy to be misunderstood. How can I use Twitter as a marketing tool? The mega marketeer GuyKawasaki uses Twitter as a commercial marketing tool for his website. Click here for Guy’s advice. Companies like Virgin Blue have very successfully used Twitter for marketing. It looks like Twitter will turn into even more of a mainstream marketing tool over time now. I think Twitter has great mainstream social and commercial potential. However, care needs to be taken on what is written , how much time is spent on Twitter and who is followed. Hey, you never know Twitter may even end up as the standard office tool and also replace SMS Texting in the future.

By Nick Barker

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