At the time of this writing, I have over 91,000 Twitter followers. No, I don’t read every word they type. No, I don’t recommend that you try to get 10s of thousands of followers. But I’m frequently asked how I keep up with everyone, and so, I’m going to update something I wrote once before in November of 2008. I hope this is useful to you.
First, tools do matter. I use a handful of tools to keep Twitter useful to me, and I’ll give you those right now.
Desktop App: Seesmic Desktop. I like this app, and mostly, I support Loic LeMeur. ( Tweetdeck is also good).
I like the Air applications listed above because they work pretty much the same on a Mac and a PC, and because they allow me to do all kinds of searches and groupings. I use Search and Groups features to make sure I can see who’s talking to me, and also to track specific topics, events I’m at, and people who matter to me above the fray.
iPhone App: – Tweetie. I have tried all the other various iPhone apps (I have purchased six so far), and I still come back to Tweetie. It’s sleek and seems to handle my volume very well.
I use iPhone apps instead of SMS or the mobile web page, because it’s all about velocity. I have to read fast, scan, and then make conversations happen.
Other Tools – Twitter Search. I’m in here ALL the time. I live in search because it gives me more value than just reading streams in the wild.
I like Blip.fm to add the occasional musical flavor to my tweets.
I use Twitpic or YFrog for uploading pics (depends which is up).
I use http://bit.ly for URL shortening. Lots of other people like Hootsuite and other apps. call me a simplist, but I just like bit.ly because it doesn’t obscure the URL once you click through.
What I Do With Twitter
I use Twitter as a communications platform. I don’t use it to microblog. Instead of answering the question “What are you doing?”, I answer the question, “What has your attention?” It’s much more fun to answer. I also reply 75-80% of the time in my stream. (Meaning: if you search http://www.twitter.com/chrisbrogan, you’ll see that most of any page is @ messages.)
Sometimes, I just talk back and forth because that’s a good touchpoint with the folks who want to know me better.
Other times, I promote products, people, services, things that I think are cool. I don’t do it for money. That’s my friend, Ted’s company. I just like promoting good/interesting things. I promote my stuff, too. I do it at about a 12:1 ration (12 them, 1 me).
I use Twitter to learn about other people. I also use it to “look over your shoulder,” if I have to do business with you. Meaning, if I’m going to call Lisa Horner from Citrix Online, I will check out @lisahorner first to see what’s going on, so I know what I’m walking into.
I use Twitter Search before I visit a city, and when I’m in the city, so that I know who’s who in the local scene, and so that I get a sense of WHERE people are hanging out. This kind of info is like mind-reading, and/or it’s a great way to get a leg up on where you’re going from the on-the-ground locals. (try it!)
I ask questions on Twitter all the time. I *love* the human-powered web these days. I don’t ask Google much. I ask Twitter. Why? Because you’re smarter.
Other Questions You Might Ask
How Often Should I Tweet? – As often as you feel like tweeting, and as often as your audience/community will sustain.
Should I Use Services Like TweetLater? – I don’t. You can. Seems like robots stuff and I don’t do that on Twitter.
How Do You Get More Followers? – I answered that by showing you how to get more Twitter followers TODAY (parody title and style, but the advice is solid).
How Often Are You On Twitter? – I’m on lots. Hours a day. But the thing is, this is part of my business. How often should you be on? That’s up to you. How much business does this channel net you? How much do you need to connect to folks who matter to you?
What else would you want to know? This is what I have for you. Any other ideas or questions? I’ll update accordingly.