Twitter is no doubt one of the best ways to find breaking stories and up to date information about something which is happening right at this moment.
Whether it be the death of Osama Bin Laden or the Japan Earthquakes, Twitterverse is always booming with information, news or scoops in real time. What makes Twitter so useful and compelling is it’s universal and spontaneous nature. Anyone can break a story, news or deal on his Twitter profile and if the tweet is really worth, it will spread within minutes. This is very different as well as way faster than old media where the end user gets the information after much editorial processing.
But here is the catch: not everyone is familiar with Twitter basics and sometimes they need clear and concise guidelines on how to use Twitter to dig out specific information they are interested in. Most newbies think Twitter as a large chat room with useless discussions without going into the finer details, which is now made a little easy.
Twitter has launched an official site at media.twitter.com/newsrooms which provides detailed guidelines on how to use Twitter to find sources, embed tweets on webpages or promote your own stuff on Twitter. The site is geared towards people who are new to Twitter and need help in understanding how Twitter works.
Here are a couple of sections from the Twitter Newsroom site which are worth reading:
This section outlines a suite of search tools which you can use to find tweets that are related to the topics of your interest.
- Twitter Search: This section gives some insights on how you can use Twitter search to find information about a particular subject. Please note that Twitter search is also available at twitter.com/search apart from search.twitter.com
- Advanced Twitter Search: This is for power users who have lots of Ifs and buts. Learn how to use Twitter advanced search, combine search operators and track conversations between two people (see example).
- TweetDeck and Twitter for Mac: Use TweetDeck on your desktop and dedicate columns for specific hash tags. Get real time notifications and there is no need to manually search for the same hash tag or topic every other day.
- Archive Search: Need to find old tweets? Use Topsy.com
Twitter says that it is their goal is to help creative professionals in news, TV, sports and entertainment use Twitter effectively.
Still not getting hold of Twitter or find it rather confusing? The success stories page will be a good start which showcases examples of Journalists and media persons using Twitter everyday to find information that matters to them.
Furthermore, Twitter gives some more tips on branding your profile with a custom image, a profile picture and writing a clear and concise bio.
#Publish and #Extras
Some tools of the trade. Learn how to embed tweets on webpages, display selected tweets or add a Followor Tweetbutton on your website.
Finally, the wrap of section contains links to Twitter help pages, problems and troubleshooting issues and a lot of other useful resources.
If you are using Twitter for a year or so, chances are you already know these things. However, if you have a friend or colleague who is new to Twitter and needs help in understanding the basic things, the Newsroom page will be a good start.
Some Tips On Using Twitter Wisely
1. There is no rulebook and the so called ethical guidelines for using Twitter. Everything depends on what you want to achieve through this medium and your tweets should be a reflection of your goals.
2. You don’t need tons of followers to tweet. Everyone started with zero followers.
3. Respecting your followers is a good practice. It won’t hurt if you are tweeting about your lunch or last night tequila party but make sure your tweets are meaningful and not offending or disturbing.
4. Build relationships, not just blind followers with an egg as their profile picture.
5. Communicate with people you care about and talk about things you love, rather than stealing tweets of random celebrities or mimicking someone.
6. Avoid personal attacks or stalking someone publicly. Not only you will lose trust, but you will regret your behavior as the reactions are most likely to pour in.
7. If you are promoting your business on Twitter, register a different account for branding reasons. Your business followers can quickly subscribe to that Twitter profile and get real time updates about your website, without having to go through each and every personal tweet of yours.
8. It’s fine to use auto tweeting services like Twitterfeed but don’t overdo. Be human, no one likes robots.
9. You don’t have to tweet every single hour. Do it when you feel it and don’t worry about F.O.M.O (fear of missing out).
10. Twitter is a great way to connect with strangers and like minded people. When you are talking about something very specific, remember to use appropriate hash tags. People who are searching for the same topic will notice you and they will eventually follow your tweets.
11. Don’t forget to thank your followers when they Retweet your tweets and reply to them when they are mentioning you. It should ideally be a two way channel.
12. If you are using Twitter to market your business, help as many people as possible rather than tweeting about your business all the time. You must deliver value in some way or else no one will stick around in the long run.
13. Self promotion isn’t bad and remember the fact that no one else is going to do that for you. But excessive self promotion equals spam.
14. Your followers are 1000 times smarter than you. Respect their time and attention.
Happy tweeting! See you there