Twitter is the new Myspace. Back when I first started using Myspace, around 2-3 years ago, it was still a place where people connected with each other. When you added a friend, people would actually take the time to see how you were. This meant connecting with some very interesting people. I traded Myspace emails with Peter Bagge, author of Hate comics, which was a highlight.
Now Myspace is overrun with spam and people who indiscriminately add to build up their friend count. Twitter, on the other hand, is what Myspace used to be. It could too get corrupted by spammers, make money onliners, and otherwise add-happy users, but right now it’s a vibrant community where people with 20,000 followers are corresponding with people who have 20. It truly is a social network.
Admittedly, I hated Twitter when I first saw it. It seemed like blogging for non-writers and seemed a corruption of the better medium of blogging. But now, having been on the site for some time, I see it for what it is, more like human conversation. Everything can’t be an essay, and that’s not how people normally talk to each other. It’s blogging meets instant messaging – a pretty simple realization, but as soon as you realize that, the more you can get out of it. And the site can potentially drive a lot of traffic to your blog or site.
Twitter and Book Sales
When you’re self-publishing, you’re basically selling one book at a time. Selling a book from a Twitter profile is something like selling a book out of a trunk. Obviously, you can’t guarantee actual hard book sales from Twitter traffic, but the more interest you can generate in your blog, and your perspective, the better chance you will have to unload books. It’s yet another way to market and right now should be mandatory as it’s the internet’s new It Girl.
10 Tips for Using Twitter
1. Don’t add too many pages all at once. If you are following 400 people and only have 10 followers, people are going to read this as you don’t have good Twitter content and/or you’ve spam-added a bunch of pages. Add several, wait for them to add you back, add some more. It’s best to have your Twitter followers and follows about even, give or take a hundred depending on the number of followers.
2. Make your Twitter posts understandable to people who aren’t part of the conversation. Just typing in LOL! without any context isn’t going to make anyone check in on the conversation. A Twitter post should stand on its own, which is tough to do in 140 characters, and many people don’t follow this advice, but it’s recommended.
3. Don’t over-Tweet because you’ll flood people’s home page with your own posts and they might delete you. Link to the blog posts you really want people to read. Linking to other people’s blog posts will gain followers who will do the same.
4. Join the conversation – reply to people and you may be very surprised how quickly they reply back, even people with thousands of followers, which means your address is listed on a popular page.
5. Go to Highspot’s exhaustive directory of publishing-affiliated Tweeters. Editor Unleashed has some more good tips and follows. Now read #1 again. Additionally, you can be banned from Twitter for adding too many people in a short amount of time.
7. Use a service like Tweetdeck. One of the things missing from Twitter is that it only lists replies that begin with your username and not posts that have your username a few words in (a major oversight). Tweetdeck helps alert you to these replies and helps you organize Tweets by type, and other features.
9. Sign up with Mr. Tweet to get new follower recommendations and get recommended to others.
10. Take part in Follow Fridays, where you reply to a few people you think are interesting.
This just scratches the surface – a site like TwiTip offers daily Twitter tips, run by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. You may be surprised just how much traffic Twitter can bring to a site. The network is at the stage where people are very interested in the work of their fellow Tweeters. Hopefully it stays that way.
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