The loud chorus of tiny Spring Peepers punctuated the warm night air, proclaiming their presence to potential mates with a shrill peep, peep, peep. Incessantly.
Yet, standing close by as we waited for owls to return our calls, the noise was somehow soothing and wanted. Unlike the silent but nerve-jangling twitter tweets that burst from my computer screen throughout that very day, coming at me rather than to me.
Peepers and tweeters do have common ground though:
- Both emitters are small but mighty. The spring peeper is the size of a thumbnail but FrogWatch
- Both peepers and tweeters compete to attract attention, and I’m discovering both have their place and purpose. There are many many blogs and articles on how to use twitter for marketing and PR as well as CRM. And they’re tweeted out of course!
Wikipedia says their chorus can carry half a kilometre. The twitter tweet is 140 characters or less. This powerhouse has some 75 million users, of which 12 million sent a tweet last December, according to online measurement firm RJMetrics.
But I clearly need a lot of field experience before twitter changes from a predator to a pet.
I know there are tools that help you tame the noise–tracking, sorting, scheduling, analyzing, all elements I’ll need to learn before I can assist others in their businesses. I’ve been researching them. And in all honesty, I have been getting many leads to social media tips and truths in the few weeks I’ve had a twitter feed.
Yet there were days, especially recently, when it became disruptive and distracting, raising my anxiety level, making me feel out of it rather part of it. As everyone was touting “see me, see my new iPad”, I was struggling with 803 registry errors unmasked by the system scan of my aging and failing desktop. Finally, I just shut it off. After five days of silence, I’m ready to bring it back. I’ve discovered that I can check it out as often or as little as like.
Some of my other findings. It helps to be selective in those you’re following. Avoid the I follow you, you follow me to build followers–I check out the profile of everyone who follows me to see if I want to follow them back. I’m now following 76 people, a mix of influencers/authorities and individuals/subjects of interest– bloggers, Web designers, researchers, lifehackers/frugal living, infographics sites, local news/resources/events.
Rainn Wilson is the only celebrity on my list–after my Shrute farm post, I just had to add him! His tweets are spaced out, like mine to date. I want to add value, not noise. I’ve not retweeted (RT) much either, my reasoning being that most of those I’m following would likely have received that same information. One I just had to RT though was “15 signs you’re talking to a Canadian” from @TremendousNews : http://bit.ly/aZ7jz8 Another good reminder that having some fun is in fact value: as I was finalizing this post, I read a tweet from @barbaraling that TWO escaped convicts have dodged a huge manhunt – by disguising themselves as SHEEP at http://bit.ly/ckaXcB
Some of the twitter “finding and following” basics I’ve learned:
- Be human. Be polite. Listen and respond when appropriate. Engage.
- Personalize your profile. Create a branded handle, set up a background and some info about yourself and how to contact you. Include a photo and URL if you have one. I followed the basic steps on creating free twitter backgrounds at TwitBacks and learned to added photos at twitpic.
- Respond to your direct messages and @’s.
- Limit your tweets to a reasonable number and times. A rule of thumb is 1 to 15 a day.
- Use a link shortening service like bit.ly to shorten your urls.
- As one resource put it “Tweet like your grandma’s listening—you can never be too careful.” An in-the-news example of what not to do.
Here are other links for learners:
Good tips if you’re just getting into twitter at 10 easy steps for twitter beginners. From here, you can jump off to many more tips and tools.
A series of solid tips at blog for profit, 30 days of twitter tips and hints.
Recent item on the Social Media Examiner, ways to network on twitter. All of them non-technical!
For those who have technical skills or access to someone who does, check out these twitter tips at 1st webdesigner.com.
Tips on picking a good username at outspokenmedia.
See hubspot for a collection of twitter blog articles.
Just heard about tweetchats in a great feature on the future of collaboration .
New trails, new vistas. Where will the new sources of content take us? Great perspective on “ content” by Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine.
But now, as I sit in my darkened office and listen to the peepers trilling away outside my own windows, I’m transported far beyond the Twitterverse.
Want to hear spring peepers?