Ok, You’ve Convinced me. So How Do I Start Using Twitter?

Twitter is a pretty simple mechanism. In 140 characters or less, tell the Twitterverse what you are doing, what you’ve been doing, what you plan to do or what is holding you up from doing what needs to be done. Got it?

First, create your account
Twitter is free, but you do need that digital identity so folks can find you. So visit Twitter.com and sign up.

Second, start posting
You really don’t need to do a whole lot if you just want to sample the world of Twitter. Once you are logged into your account, start dropping your Tweets into the What Are You Doing? box.

Third, find folks to follow
Now you will want to build out your network. This is done by finding folks to follow. You may want to find those in your local area or in your industry. You may want to find those who share your interests. Or you may just start picking folks at random. There are a couple of ways to do this. One is to use Twitter’s Search feature to find folks by name or by location. Once you find someone that you wish to follow, take a moment to see who they are following. You can quickly and often times effectively expand your network in this fashion, growing geometrically rather than linearly. Another recent resource is TwitterPacks. Twitter-ites are adding themselves to this wiki and self-sorting by field, location, and interest.

Fourth, find a good Twitter app
Once your network starts growing, you will likely find that constantly refreshing your Twitter page gets old quick. Once you hit this point, you will want an application that displays your Twitter activity in near real-time. Finding a good Twitter app, or client, is sort of like finding a good pair of shoes. You have to try a few on before you’re happy with the fit. I’ve tried Tweetr, Twhirl and Snitter. I finally settled on Snitter as it had most of the features that I needed/wanted in a Twitter client.

Fifth, manage your network
Your network is organic and I would compare it to the art behind the bonsai tree. Like the bonsai, you need to nurture your network. It requires care, fertilization and sometimes, pruning. There are a number of tools you can use, but that is a topic for a future post. Managing your network is an art form and it deserves greater attention than a few lines can deliver.

Sixth, have fun!
When it comes to Twitter, if you’re not having fun then you are doing something wrong. Twitter is kind of like Cheers, where everybody knows your name. Spend some time Tweeting and responding to other Tweeters and pretty soon, when you come online, your Twitterverse will treat you just like Norm (minus the beer)!

There is a wealth of information out there but I’ve found the Twitter Wiki (http://twitter.pbwiki.com/) to be an incredible resource for all things Twitter.

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