1. Go to Twitter.com and sign up.
2. Start Tweeting on key messages you care about.
3. Big difference between Facebook and Twitter. On the former you have “friends” who see each other’s stuff. On Twitter you “follow” someone, bit like stalking, and hopefully they follow you but it is not guaranteed.
4. Think of Twitter more as an “announcement’ based micro-blog.
5. I’ve found the best way to control and engage in conversations is through “Tweetdeck”. Download Tweetdeck (or Seesmic Twitter) for free which gives you a great Dashboard to manage the tweets from people you follow in one column, then add a column for your own tweets so you can instantly see what you have said. Add a further column to spot tweets on key subjects say on Software as a Service (SaaS) by typing #SaaS in the search box along the top or #Bing, the new search engine by Microsoft. That # sign is very important. Twitter arranges stuff using # prior to words as a signal to trap those words.
6. At the top of Tweetdeck just type your 140 characters, anymore the screen goes red alerting you to cut it down. Spelling errors underlined in red.
7. People that follow you and that you follow are now connected. Therefore you can now Direct Message them eg say you are going to a function that evening and you want to know whether IanDSmith is going too! Just go to IanDSmith’s picture, hover over it, pick the top right hand box and DM. Type your message to Ian and hit enter.
8. Again with Tweetdeck in front of you, look at the top right hand corner, tick the Facebook box and now you have a live stream of all your Facebook updates.
9. I look for tweeters that share my interests and start to follow them.
10. I focus my tweets on ideas, quotes, articles, information that will help owners of businesses maximize growth. I’m looking for remarkable thinking, action, making things happen.
11. To maximize the impact of my 140 characters, I use tiny.url to shorten my links, thus maximizing my ability to say something useful.
12. Really good stuff is Re-Tweeted by me, as I spot it. Dead easy with Tweetdeck, hover over picture, bottom left square is Re-Tweet.
13. Occasionally I’ll give a personal update on my hobby of competitive masters track.
1. It’s another opportunity to get your manifesto out there, to add value to your community, to give something back, to add value.
2. It incentivizes me to stay current, blogs, FT, WSJ, HBR, Inc Magazine etc. Once read i grab great content and tweet it.
3. It allows me to cross-reference stuff happening on my web site or my blog.
4. It allows me to join conversations on events in real time. (Although clearly full scale blogging is better)
5. I can follow the companies I’m working with and spot conversations they are having and thus stay on point when I’m making observations.
6. I expected to meet like minded software entrepreneurs and I have: and because some of them were New England based, I was able to meet for coffee and start collaborations on a personal level.
1. A big time suck: solution, I try to keep tweets to 10 minutes every day around lunchtime.
2. Watch spammers: I don’t follow everyone who follows me.
3. Nothing to say: Solution, surprise yourself. I think it forces you to define what your strong coat is, what you really feel strongly about.
Where is it going?
Who knows, but it is a very effective tool to keep aware of the big issues that impact your sector, communicate with your customer base, signpost great knowledge to your community and build your influence.