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Archives: April 2009

So, You Want A Re-Tweet Button On Twitter.com?

Twitter.com commands just an estimated 32 per cent of all Twitter activity, which is incredibly low when you think about. Imagine if Facebook boasted that kind of share for their 200-million strong audience; people would be talking. And with complete justification.

(This low number also, incidentally, explains in part the recent hype – and reaction – to Twitter’s 60% drop-off rate amongst new users, as Nielsen, who took the measurements, only accounted for Twitter.com, and not all the external clients, which make up the bulk of all interactions with the service, certainly from seasoned members.)

There’s a good reason why – Twitter.com is an entirely limiting way to interact with the Twitter stream. That statement, true as it is, is pretty insane for any website, let alone a social media platform. Somehow, Twitter gets away with it; at least, for now.

Even the most basic functionality from the site is missing. I’ve discussed recently on this blog the importance of the re-tweet, an event that takes place millions of times a day within the Twitter stream. So frequently, in fact, that’s it’s an accepted part of the experience, but Twitter.com, despite many upgrades, hasn’t considered it significant enough to provide us with a re-tweet button. Has the world gone mad?

Perhaps, but there is a solution. In fact, there are three.

Why Do We Need A Re-Tweet Button?

If you’re unsure of the significant of the re-tweet, please read my article, “In Defense Of The Re-Tweet.

Okay, like me, you might predominately use TweetDeck or a different Twitter client for all your networking. That’s great, even admirable. But think of everybody else. Lots of folk have to use Twitter.com – maybe they’re restricted at work, or their computer isn’t powerful enough to run an external client.

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New Section For Twitter Beginners – Twitter 101

On Twitter I am often asked by followers for information that can be passed on to new folk they have introduced to the network. Twitter can be intimidating the first time you sign up and unless you’re fairly proactive the benefits of the platform can easily be lost.

I’ve written many tutorials, guides and ‘how to’ articles on this blog, and felt it made sense to pool these entries into one convenient resource: Twitter 101.

Twitter 101 breaks down all the help articles within Twittercism into clearly-labelled sub-sections.You can access my guides on Getting Started, Twitter Etiquette, Finding Followers and  Statistics & Data, as well as tutorials on #followfriday and TweetDeck, tips on designing your profile background and instruction on how to fight off spammers and trolls.

You can find the link to this section at the top of the screen. The page will be updated continuously as new material is published.

If you have introduced friends to Twitter and they’re not ‘getting it’, please forward them towards my Twitter 101 page. The full URL is:

Thank you! :)

In Defense Of The Re-Tweet

There’s been some talk of late in blogs and on Friendfeed that the humble re-tweet might be, in fact, at best stupid, worse, a nuisance. As Louis Gray writes in his piece:

“Twitter is a land where 140 characters is all you’ve got to express yourself. If you think you don’t have enough interesting data to share 140 characters of your own, but instead need to piggyback on someone else’s tweet, then maybe you should rethink why you’re using the service.”

Louis earlier suggested that begging for re-tweets is lazy; that repeating what somebody else has said doesn’t add anything to the conversation.

He isn’t alone; Dave Winer and others this week have been beating the re-tweet into submission, suggesting that what Twitter needs is the ‘like’ service that other social networks use (Friendfeed, Digg, Reddit etc).

While I agree that there are right and wrong ways to re-tweet submissions – or, indeed, to ask for them to be re-submitted from your followers – I think completely dismissing the re-tweet is misguided. It serves a purpose on Twitter that makes it unique to that platform.

The Re-Tweet

The Re-Tweet Gives Credit

However you choose to re-submit a tweet – using RT, re-tweet or via (I will address the differences later) – it’s important that credit is given to the original poster. The re-tweet does this effectively and with a minimal waste of characters.

Additionally, the re-tweet is (or should/can be) an endorsement of the person, too. When I re-tweet somebody I’m fairly mindful about whom it is I’m re-tweeting. Even the most obnoxious ass is capable of at least one good tweet, much like every amateur is capable of one pro golf shot. It doesn’t mean the rest was up to par. I take that into consideration when I RT; I’m saying to you, this content is good, and this is a good guy.

Because you give credit, the original poster has an excellent chance of picking up some new followers and meeting some new folk. And vice versa.

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How To Use Twitter To Leverage Your Blog (Part Two)

(This is a follow-up article to the post, “How To Use Twitter To Leverage Your Blog (Part One).”)

In the first part of this article, I wrote about how the impact of the StalkDaily and Mikeyy worm exploits on Twitter were, in a roundabout way, beneficial to this blog. By providing timely and helpful material to folks who were infected by the worms, I received an enormous amount of re-tweets, traffic and praise on Twitter and around the internet, and this blog’s ‘status’ rose considerably.

In this post I will share what I learned about this experience. Can anyone use Twitter to leverage their blog? Is Twitter a great source of traffic? Will Twitter followers become part of your blog’s community, and even subscribe?

Yes, yes and yes, and it can all be achieved by observing a few simple steps.

How To Use Twitter To Leverage Your Blog

Build Your Twitter Profile

This one is a no-brainer, right? Without lots of followers, there’s not much point in sharing your own content, is there? Well, yes and no. I think it’s far more important to have the right types of people following you than to have an enormous amount of folk who have little to no interest in what you tweet about. Would you rather have five hundred followers who regularly clicked on your links and engaged with you and your content, or ten thousand who rarely did and didn’t care either way?

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HOWTO: Clean Up Your Twitter Feed By Removing Inactive Accounts

When you start to follow a large number of accounts on Twitter, it makes sense to optimise that user base to ensure it’s as efficient as possible.

There really is no point in following:

  1. Spammers
  2. People who ignore you
  3. People who tweet content that’s of absolutely no interest to you
  4. People who never tweet at all

This article will focus on how you can remove this last group from your network.

How To Find Inactive Twitter Accounts

Twitter Profiles

Yesterday I wrote about how you can use the statistical data on Twitter-Friends.com to analyse your presence on the Twitter network. We’re going to use one of the many features on this site today to clean up our inactive followers.

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You Are The Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Tweets With

On my travels around the interwebs today I stumbled across this interesting piece, “The 5 Things I’d Tell My 21 Year Old Entrepreneurial Self.” The article focuses on the lessons learned by the author over the last 12 years of his life, and how he would love to be able to share that knowledge with his younger self.

Midway through the article is an interesting quote that I want to share with you:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

The line is attributed to Jim Rohn, an American author and motivational speaker. I don’t know much about Rohn (like me you can look him up on Wikipedia), but I found his statement of enormous interest. The more I thought about it, the more it resonated with me, and I began to think about how it might apply to Twitter.

Your Twitter Inner Circle

Consider for a moment the people you most converse with on Twitter. If you follow a modest number of people this is probably fairly easy to work out. If you follow thousands, it can be trickier, and the results might surprise you. I used Twitter-Friends.com to evaluate my data and invite you to do the same. (TwitterFriends doesn’t require you to enter your Twitter password, but if you do the data is a lot more thorough. It also has a cool ‘online‘ feature that shows you which of your contacts are currently using Twitter.)

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Twitter: The Best Of The Week (April 18-24, 2009)

This is a weekly series that looks at the best Twitter-related stories, news and articles within the Twittersphere over the last seven days. You can read previous entries in our archives.

Oprah

Oprah finally submitted her first tweet to the Twittersphere, and quickly received a lesson in social media from Shaquille O’Neal. It wasn’t long before she had an army of followers some half-a-million strong, giving a massive boost to the entire Twitter network. At the time of writing she is following 10 people, most of which are celebrities.

Here Before Oprah?

Were you on Twitter before Oprah joined? What about Ashton? Does it matter?

Researchers Turn Thoughts Into Tweets

The University of Wisconsin’s Neural Interfaces lab has built something that’s not far short of a miracle – a software system that reads brain patterns and converts those signals into Twitter updates.

Five Ways To Get Your Questions Answered On Twitter

Five sites that scan Twitter’s hive mind for the solutions to your problems, courtesy of Mashable. (Also from Mashable: “The Seven Ways To Approach Twitter“.)

Twitter Changes The Rules

As of April 20, Twitter has changed the number of accounts that a single user can follow in a day to 1000. It seems wise, but unless those people follow you back, what exactly can you do with that? Hard to spam somebody who isn’t following you.

Ignore Twitter At Your Peril

It’s been a big week for scandal. Amazon, Dominos and CNN all had some damage repair to take care of, thanks to events that broke and had legs on Twitter.

Twitter Personality Test

Have your Twitter personality tested with Twanalyst. Seems everybody who does more than a handful of submissions a day is a spammer.

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Two Quick & Easy Ways To Find That Missing Tweet

Every once in a while I lose one of my tweets.

And every so often, somebody will ask me about a tweet I published a while ago; typically it will be something I submitted earlier that day, but it might be a week ago, or even longer. That’s a lot of tweets.

Tweet, Where Art Thou?

This was the tweet we were looking for. I knew I wrote it, they knew I wrote it, and I desperately wanted to be able to find it and re-share that great content. If you tweet as much as I do, it can take hours to go back through your timeline to try and find a single submission. Forgot the haystack; this is like a needle in a stack full of needles.

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The Secret To Twitter Success – Be Famous, Useful Or Interesting

The secret to being successful on Twitter – and I judge success on the network to mean building a large, positive and strong number of followers, and having the reach to be influential and significant within that group and beyond – is really incredibly simple.

In fact, you only need to be one of three things to make it on Twitter.

  1. Be famous
  2. Be useful
  3. Be interesting

That’s it. We’re done.

Still here? Want some more detail? I wasn’t kidding. Any one of those three states of being will lead to Twitter success – guaranteed. Everybody on the network who matters – and you can measure that by popularity or status (or both), or any which way you like – has one of these traits in abundance. Some lucky folks have two. The gifted and relative few encompass all three. But the good part is that everybody can be one.

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Why Replies On Twitter Are Far More Damaging Than Direct Messages

The direct message system on Twitter is only two-way if both parties are following each other. If you’re following somebody and they’re not following you back, they can send you a direct message, but you can’t reply using the same method. Not only is this poor etiquette on their part, but it’s a really stupid idea from Twitter.

Where’s the logic? Is it meant to protect us? If you’re following somebody and they’re spamming you with direct message after direct message, you can unfollow them. You can block them. They’re no longer an issue, because the direct message facility has been removed from their power.

It’s not so with @replies. Anyone can @reply anybody else at any time, whether they’re following you or not. In light of the policy regarding DMs, how does this make sense?

  1. @replies go into the public stream, and are visible by everybody (you can read any user’s @replies by going to Twitter search and entering @username, i.e., @stephenfry).
  2. Even if you block somebody, they can still @reply you. And while those replies won’t appear in your timeline, they will become part of the stream.

Meantime, direct messages are private: they can only be seen by the recipient. It doesn’t add up.

The potential for abuse here is enormous. It’s so big, in fact, that I’m not only surprised we haven’t seen a major event already, but that one doesn’t take place on a daily basis.

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