Colleen Pence

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Archive for Charlotte Anne Lucas

New to Twitter? Join the conversation!

Twitter for NewbiesWhen I started using Twitter two years ago I spent a LOT of time “listening” to the people I followed. I found myself, more often than not, becoming engrossed in the discussions that were taking place. But what I didn’t do was jump in and contribute. And that’s why my Twitter account sat, for weeks at a time, with no tweets from me. I was a Twitter lurker and because I didn’t engage in communication with others, having a Twitter account was virtually useless to me.

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

It wasn’t until I started replying to other people’s tweets and joining the conversation that I learned the value of Twitter. Since I started actively participating on Twitter I’ve met amazing people, both online and in person, who I probably would never have met otherwise. I’ve found new clients on Twitter in addition to new business opportunities. I’ve made some wonderful new friends on Twitter. I’ve found great places to eat. I’ve found tons of educational resources on Twitter. And, I’ve learned new things about my city.

I don’t know if Tim Walker was the first person to compare Twitter to a cocktail party (he’s so wise, witty and savvy that it totally could have been him who said it first) but when I heard him describe it that way, I thought it was the perfect analogy. Would  you have fun at a party if all you did was lurk in the background and listen to other people talk? Of course not. How boring! You’d want to dive in to the conversation – probably several conversations -to express your opinion and meet other people during some (hopefully) lively chats. 

Hanging out on Twitter is very much like that cocktail party.

If you don’t get involved in the conversations on Twitter, you’re missing out. Sure, you might pick up a neat tip or trick or two related to whatever it is that interests you. But you won’t be building anything. You won’t be meeting anyone or forging powerful personal and professional relationships. You won’t be creating your network before you need it (OK. That wise bit of info was said by either Luis Sandoval or Luis quoting Connie Reece…two more wonderfully helpful people you should follow on Twitter).

Dipping your toes into the Twitter stream.

According to Hubspot’s 2009 State of the Twitterspere  Report, a whopping 54.88% of the people with accounts on Twitter have never tweeted. I suspect it’s at partly because people don’t understand Twitter or how to use it once they sign up. For others it’s because they’re following people and lurking but are timid about leaping into the deep, fast-moving current that is the Twitter stream of tweets.

Start out slowly. Don’t get intimidated. Follow the advice of a few pros to get going:

Twitter 101 by Charlotte Anne Lucas is a great place to learn what Twitter is (news, crowdsourcing, broadcast, community) and how to use it.

Twitter 101 by Shéa Bennett, aka Twittercism, is a helpful collection of articles gathered to advise Twitter newbies on their path to happy tweeting.

Of course there are bazillions more Twitter 101 articles and posts available to guide you. But no matter who’s advice you follow to learn the nuances and etiquette of Twitter, the most important thing to remember is:  join the conversation!

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