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How I use Twitter has changed over time, so it’s good to update you, should this be of use. It will most certainly change a bit more in the coming months, but I’ll have to wait to announce those changes. Here are some thoughts on how I effectively use Twitter.
My Goals With Twitter
As I always say, start with the goal. My goals on Twitter are to build relationships and to drive awareness. In the first, I intend to build relationships with people who are interacting in the same spaces that interest me. In the second goal, I intend to drive awareness to people’s projects that are of interest (I promote other people 12 times as much as I promote my own stuff), and then to drive awareness to projects I’m participating in or that will have value to my various communities of interest. Your goals might be different. Mine, to restate: build relationships, and drive awareness.
My Desktop Tool
I’ve switched to Hootsuite because I like their web app, the fact I can use it in a browser, the built in stats package, and the ability to schedule certain tweets. (We’ll get back to the scheduling thing). I prefer Hootsuite to desktop apps, as my previous favorite desktop app uses Microsoft Silverlight, and just doesn’t “feel” the same way it used to when it was on Adobe Air.
My Phone Tool
I’m using Hootsuite for the Android platform, primarily because it allows me to carry my columns and views over between apps without any fuss. It’s not my favorite Android app, but it’s convenient.
What I DO with Twitter
I use Twitter to stay connected to people who matter to me: a mix of friends, family, colleagues, and business partners, as well as people who I find interesting in the various spaces I care about. I read a lot more than I tweet (don’t faint, because you think I tweet a lot, but I read a lot more than I respond to, as I imagine most people do). I reply as often as I can to as many as I can.
I spend about 60% of my time in Twitter in SEARCH. ( http://search.twitter.com). I search for things for my projects, for my clients, for my brand, for my interests. I make little search columns all the time and live in them more than I live in lists of people’s names. Why? Because that’s where opportunity hides out.
I use Twitter to promote things: other people’s things, my things, interesting posts, and useful causes and charities.
I used to be 100% against scheduled tweets. Now, I support them in limited use. I’m not a fan of fully robotic streams, and I don’t pump my blog automatically into my @chrisbrogan stream (though I do have it autoposting to @broganmedia).
With scheduled tweets, it’s usually for something important or helpful. It’s not often a business ask. For instance, I’m promoting some professional speaking tips I wrote over at AMEX OPENForum, and it’s something that’s useful to you if you’re a speaker. That’s why I can feel a bit more justified in scheduling them. I’m just trying to make sure people don’t miss a certain resource, and so I spread it across a few different points on the clock (I learned this from Guy Kawasaki, who I used to argue with about this).
I don’t talk much about the various other apps I use, like Twitpic or whatever, because that depends on what you’re doing, but I will say that I use SocialToo to manage Twitter followers and to cut down with spam. As I gain about 500 or so Twitter followers a day, I can’t actually manually go around, look at everyone, and gauge whether I should follow them. At that rate of followers, and if I gave them only 1 minute of thinking each, I’d waste almost 9.5 hours a day just looking at people’s accounts. So, I follow back everyone, and just delete jerks. SocialToo does this for me in spades, and I’m grateful for it.
What I Do and Don’t See
I don’t see every tweet you send. I don’t CLOSELY follow more than a few hundred people. I see your trends. I see when you write about things that I search on. I see you when I dip in to wonder how you’re doing. But I sure don’t read every tweet that comes out of you, and you sure shouldn’t read all of mine. Twitter’s a stream. Dip in when you can. Get what you need. Close it and reenter life.
You Don’t have To Follow Me
Some people think I tweet too much (I’m down over 50% from last month, and 70% from the month before, I think). That’s okay. Perfectly fine not to follow me. I don’t base my friendship on software equivocation.
And You’re Doing it Wrong
If you want to know, I’m doing it wrong.