New to Twitter? Top 10 Tips For People

10 by Leo ReynoldsSo you’ve done it, you’ve jumped on the Twitter “bandwagon”.  At least, you’ve decided that its now worth your time and you’re ready to reap the rewards, whatever they are.

There’s been a lot of discussion in the corporate space for the use of Twitter.  Why you should, why you shouldn’t, and a lot of “mushy middle” discussion around the water cooler that doesn’t really help much.

I’ve been there behind the firewall where it’s difficult to get access, or demonstrate value of a service.  So here are some tips on how you really get value for yourself when using Twitter.

1 – The Follow

Don’t think of “friends”, think of people you would like to learn from or listen to. Sure, your personal friends and colleagues will be among those you follow, but find interesting people to follow. Check out who your friends follow, you’ll meet a few new folks, then check out who those people follow, and I guarantee that you’ll start connecting with truly interesting people that you’ll benefit from knowing. It’s really a form of viral networking.

2 – Be Conversational

Jump in and take part in conversations and discussions.  Or simply share your quips and quotes, though with nearly any followers at all you’ll be brought into the conversation.  Twitter is possibly one of the best tools for introverts to meet new people and enter into conversations.

3 – Be Inquisitive

Ask questions, seek answers, explore! While an unending stream of questions can be annoying, starting conversations through the use of questions is quite often appreciated. By our very nature, we all like to learn something, so for the sake of a conversation or for getting an answer to something, ask away!  Twitter is a wonderful crowd sourcing tool.

4 – Be Helpful

A very powerful aspect of the Twitter community is how helpful most people are.  There are so many ways being helpful to your friends and followers that it’ll pay you back in the long run.  Think of it on interpersonal networking terms. The folks you help out may end up helping you in the future.

5 – Please Disagree

Differing points of view help foster learning and discovery. Its ok to disagree with friends and followers. What isn’t pleasant is arguments. Sure these happen in any social interaction sometimes, but its having different points of view that make sharing more interest. Be respectful, be nice, but be yourself.

6 – Don’t Flame

This goes hand-in-hand with number five above. If you can’t add something constructive, informative, or useful, perhaps it’s time for a break.Flaming only harms a person’s reputation (personal brand) and since it’s online, it’s hard to get rid of that newly written record of your actions. Something to keep in mind for online reputation management!

7 – Share Things

Everyone enjoys learning something new, so bring a link or unique piece of knowledge. Maybe its in your profession, or more enjoyable, something that you’re passionate about. Don’t hesitate to share things you find online as your Twitter community is probably already sharing things with you. It’s a great way to learn new things.

8 – Peripheral Services

There are a ton of unique services that build on top of Twitter, or make it an even better platform for communication.  There are a number of audio, photo, and video services that add extra dimensions to Twitter.  Other services use Twitter to share what you’re doing, like webcasting, or checking in with geo-location services.  Other services are built for sharing links and use Twitter for that sharing platform.

9 – Twitter Clients

The Twitter ecosystem has expanded to include dedicated client software as well. There are web based solutions and desktop/laptop based solutions, not to mention mobile apps too. You can likely find the one that fits you best to help customize how you use Twitter and read the stream of information from your network of peers.

10 – Be Yourself

Of course, it should go without saying that you need to simply be you. Trying to be something you’re not usually is discovered early on anyway, and the value of interaction is to be transparent – that’s one of the ethos of social media to begin with. So be you and be proud of it, even if you’re more of an introvert, you’ll find Twitter is a great way to break out of that shell.

Photo credit: Leo Reynolds

Follow Friday – May 28th, 2010 #FF

Follow Friday Another Friday, another chance to share some recommendations with you of the folks who really inspire me to do, create, and share.  Rather than put a flood of twitter names in a handful of tweets where I can’t tell you why these folks are great, I’m putting them together here in a post with a bit more about each person and links to their Twitter and blogs (where available).

This week, I’ve listed 5 of the top Women Twitter users in Minnesota.  They’ve got unlimited ideas, knowledge and passion for what they do.  I invite you to follow them and see for yourself how great these gals are.

Erica Mayer Erica Mayer (@ericamayer) – Photographer, proponent of great causes, and producer for WCCO TV in Minneapolis, Erica understands how social media can be used for a good cause.  In the first 4 months of 2010, she’s raised 100% of her Charity Water campaign goal ($10,000) over two weeks before its end date.

Kay Loire Roseland Kay Loire Roseland (@KayLoire) – “Networker and marketer extraordinaire!”  That’s how AgencyBabylon describes Kay.  Search long and hard, but you won’t find a more outgoing and vivacious individual in social media.  Founder and blogger at Shareology, Kay follows the social media happenings in the Twin Cities (and beyond.)

Leslie Carothers Leslie Carothers (@tkpleslie) – Think social media is the sole domain of marketers and PR folks?  Think again, as this ecologically aware furniture industry expert & interior designer uses her social media skills to the her client’s story of their products.  Leslie is also the CEO of The Kaleidoscope Partnership, and author of Furniture Today’s “Retail Ideas” blog.

Meg Gerritsen Canada Meg Gerritsen Canada (@dotmeg) – A true 21st century librarian who understands the power of social media and uses tools like Twitter for engagement with patrons of the Hennepin County Central Library in downtown Minneapolis, MN.  Meg is also co-founder of, an “unconference” style conference which focuses on crowd sourcing the speakers, content and of course the attendees.

Lisa Foote Lisa Foote (@footenotes) – As co-founder of MixMobi, Lisa’s passion around the mobile space allows her to take the lead on demonstrating new media ideas on the go.  Her focus on Mobile + Social + Realtime is unique in my Minnesota friends – she truly understands where things are going in the future.

So there you go, some of the best in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul.  I highly recommend following them all.

Until next week then!

Follow Friday – April 16, 2010 #FF

Follow Friday Icon I’ve been a bit lax the last several weeks in participating in Follow Friday on Twitter.  I always liked the concept and tried to do a couple good ones every Friday.  Over the past year or so (I think it’s closer to two) I found that I kept sharing the same folks.  While these tweeps are excellent to follow – great conversation, smart, helpful – I just felt I was repeating myself over & over again.

So last week Chris Brogan blogged about a different tactic to Follow Friday.  Such an obvious one that a person hates to admit they never thought of it (I hadn’t), though I’m sure he’s not the first to think of it.  Knowing Chris, he won’t mind if all of us borrow this one though.

Rather than try and cram as many twitter handles into that 140 characters, I’ll call out a handful of folks right here and tell you a little bit of why you should follow them.  Here goes.

  • Paul DeBettignies (MNHeadhunter) @MNHeadHunter – There was little doubt who was going to be my first #FF shout out. Friend, mentor, biz advisor, collaborator, critic, and cheerleader – Paul DeBettignies is a Minneapolis based independent IT Recruiter who’s helped more people than I can count in job search, career help, and more.  He’s also the biggest U of M sports fan in existence.
  • Phil Gerbyshak (@PhilGerb) @PhilGerb – If you don’t know Phil Gerbyshak, now is your chance to meet & follow him. Author of 10 Ways to Make It Great, Phil is a Milwaukee social media strategist, relationship geek, and lover of interesting things. His enthusiasm and fountain of ideas can help kick-start your business or blog, for either professional or personal interests.  Ask him about Milwaukee!
  • Bryan Person (@BryanPerson) @BryanPerson – Founder of Social Media Breakfast itself, Bryan Person is the guy I emailed back in 2007 about starting an SMB here in Minneapolis. Loved his advice of “why not you”. Originally from Boston, and now in Austin, Bryan is currently the “LiveWorld social media guy”.
  • Lisa Grimm (@lulugrimm) @lulugrimm – Looking for smart, witty, and a great example of how digital public relations professionals are using social media? Follow Lisa Grimm to find out how someone at the nexus of GenX/GenY embodies the best of characteristics of both. It also turns out that she’s a great speaker and moderator of panels.
  • Don Ball (@donmball) @donmball – Cofounder of CoCoMSP and Unsummit, Don Ball is a great resource in the St. Paul & Minneapolis are for freelance, independent contractors/consultants and startups in general.  Supportive, idea rich and willing to share his enthusiasm for you to succeed is how I describe Don.

Okay, that’s a good start for today.  I’ll work at doing a better job (read: more) next week, but it’s hard to pic a handful of really good, valuable people out of so many I know and write a short blurb about them.  Or it could be that it’s late on Friday and I’m looking for a way to get this posted while it still is Friday.


In any case, check out these great folks and let me know some of your suggestions below.  I’m sure there’s many I haven’t met yet that I’d really like to talk with. Now go have a great weekend!

It depends…

Funny how many questions have answer that start with those two words. This tends to be exceptionally true of the coporatization of social media.

  • What if I call my boss a jerk on Twitter? It depends…
  • What if we find bloggers defacing our product images?  It depends…
  • What if my company finds me posting on Facebook when I’m home sick? It depends…
  • How do we monitor the blogosphere for our multiple brands? It depends…

The complexities of the requirements for big business and their employees is not as clear cut as it is for small, aggressive start-ups. In the end, the reality is that discretion is required on both sides; by the people who post or create media, and the people who read or consume media.

A Note For SPAM Marketers On Twitter

'Gorilla salesman' by Sunfrog1 It’s been there for awhile, quite awhile really.  I’ve been able to ignore it for the most part, though it is getting a bit old.

I’m talking about those MLM types, thinking they can gain some advantage through sheer following numbers on Twitter.  Fancy schemes to gain thousands of new followers in 48 hours or less.

What purpose does this serve?  If your tweets/following percentage can’t even break 1%, why are you there?  Why would I even care?  Why are you gaming my account and others?  We can see through what you’re trying to do.

Do you want to know why?

Like a bad 70’s disco LP, stuck in the past. Singing the same tune like so many previous polyester leisure suit wearing, used-car salesman before you.  Am I stereotyping? Gee, sorry – there’s a reason for it.  Your last-century marketing efforts are lost in the reality of the 21st century.  You might as well try selling toothbrushes door to door for all the good your Twitter account does.

Take your glossy commercials with pop stars, your shiny hummer, that damn inflatable Gorilla, delete your spam account and start over.  We’re not buying it.

Photo credit: Sunfrog1

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