Blogger`s User Manual For Twitter

Blogger`s User Manual For Twitter
The Twitter Manual - (cc) David Risley -
Social media has become a drastic shift in the way things work on the Internet. Many dismiss it as a waste of
time. Many see it as something young children do and not worth the time of the serious adult.
But, those who dismiss social media are, I believe, destined to fall into the waste-bin of Internet history. Social
media represents a re-engineering of the top-down approach to the flow of information online. Now, anybody can
become an opinion leader in any market using social media alone. Individual people can now command more
attention that major brands, all from the confines of their mobile phone while sitting in a coffee shop.
What follows includes information repurposed from David Risley dot com [], plus some new
material. The goal of this ebook is to simply be helpful and to act as kind of user manual to those who donʼt know
where to start when it comes to using social media. For those who are already “in the know”, you might learn
something as well.
All materials contained within this ebook are written by David Risley.
Spread The Word
If you like this ebook, all I ask is that you spread the word. Do these two things for me:
1. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@davidrisley)
2. Be sure to retweet this manual to your twitter followers using the URL
The Twitter Manual - (cc) David Risley -
Twitter: Why?
The Internet is broken up into, letʼs say, two groups of people: (1) Early adopters who try everything that comes
out and are on the cutting edge, and (2) everybody else. And there is a whole lot more of “everybody else” than
there are people like myself (early adopters). The “everybody else” crowd hears buzzwords like Twitter but
chalks it up to one of those things thatʼs just too advanced to understand. And there is also the issue of people
just getting comfortable with certain things and not being intellectually curious enough to try something new.
These are the kinds of people who are still using Internet Explorer despite everybody saying how much better
the alternatives are.
Twitter is one that definitely breaks down cross this digital divide. You have those who get it and use it often. You
have those who tried it and decide it is stupid. And you have those who just donʼt get it.
Not long ago, I sent out an email to the PCMech [] mailing list. In that email, I laid out the
benefits of Twitter and, of course, asked people to follow me on Twitter. Why? Because I can then have a back
channel for communication with my readers. It is good for me to have my finger on the pulse of my readers and
not have everything go through PCMech. Said simply, this site isnʼt the proper place for everything.
So, I had a lot of people follow me. But, as I observed some of these new people getting their feet wet with
Twitter, it was very clear they really didnʼt understand how to use it or what to do with it. So, I wanted to provide a
simple how-to manual.
So, letʼs touch on the salient points.
The Twitter Manual - (cc) David Risley -
Why Use Twitter At All?
Twitter is worth using because it allows you to tap into the power of others instantaneously. Want to share a
thought with others? You can. Want a quick answer to a question? You can get one on Twitter. Want to find out
what the latest buzz is before others do? Twitter.
It is easy to throw Twitter into that category of nerdy, Myspac-y things some nerds do. It is easy to see it as a
waste of time. My response would be to not be so fast at dismissing it. As a person who follows technology, the
worse thing you can do is dismiss things by thinking you already know what itʼs all about. That is an easy
sentence to falling behind the curve.
So, given that we have a lot of “normal” people reading PCMech, I thought I would list some reasons why a
normal person might want to consider using Twitter.
1. You can use it to create interesting contacts and spark interesting conversations. And, yes, Twitter is
used for conversation all the time. It is not a one-way flow and if you think it is, it is because you are not using
it correctly.
2. You can build your network. Why would you want to do that? Because, in the future (and now, for that
matter), your network is going to be your security. Imagine losing your job right now. If you have a large
network of contacts, donʼt you think youʼre going to have a much higher likelihood of crossing paths with
somebody who might be hiring?
3. You can tap into knowledge. You might like the anonymity of just Googling for what you need to know. And,
yes, much of the time that is the best way. But, real people are the best resource. The power of many minds
often beats out the power of one. When you follow the right people on Twitter, you can learn information you
The Twitter Manual - (cc) David Risley -
wouldnʼt have learned otherwise. Not only that, by following that person you now have a way to directly
contact that person - over Twitter.
4. Real-time information. Twitter is perhaps one of the most “right now” social media sites on the Internet. It is
commonplace to find out about news on Twitter way before youʼd see it elsewhere. Not only that, you can ask
your Twitter network a question and many times get answers back within a few minutes.
5. Expand your horizons. Keep in mind, our computers are supposed to be TOOLS to help you improve your
life. You didnʼt buy a computer so that you could experience the joy of repairing it, did you? Likely not. If your
computer doesnʼt help you connect to people and do things, what good is it?
In my position as a tech blogger, I consider it one of my jobs to enlighten others on the opportunities the world of
technology presents. I know that many of my readers are not entirely in tune with what is happening out there.
And, honestly, the forward movement in the general world of technology is happening OUTSIDE our computers.
Yes, Twitter is a social media site. Yes, Twitter can be used as a time waster and can suck attention. But, it is
also a resource and a good one. I would never have started using it if it was a waste of my time.
If you should sign up for Twitter, realize that you will only get out of it what you put into it. If you donʼt regularly
submit anything and donʼt follow anybody, Twitter is going to seem incredibly stupid. You have to participate in it
and then, trust me, it becomes a LOT more interesting.
How Do You Make Twitter Worth Using?
One of the important things to understand about any social medium is that you get what you give. You have to
be willing to share your thoughts and you have to be willing to participate in the community. You canʼt expect to
The Twitter Manual - (cc) David Risley -
find much use in Twitter if you just join and then sit back and wait. And youʼre not going to find much value in
Twitter if you only use it to promote your own site.
Twitter is a community. You build up your network by getting others to follow you. When you “follow” a user on
Twitter, this means that anything they enter into Twitter will show up on the timeline on Twitter for you to view.
You are only going to see the “tweets” of the people you follow (unless you are viewing the public timeline which
is everybody). The more people you follow on Twitter, the more information you will be able to observe.
The flip side of this is getting others to follow you. When others follow you on Twitter, this opens up the
opportunity to have conversations on Twitter and be able to talk back.
How To Have a Conversation on Twitter
When you simply enter a “tweet” and submit it, that tweet simply goes onto your timeline. It can be read on the
public timeline of Twitter by a casual visitor, but the people most likely to see it are those who follow you. So,
when you submit a tweet, anybody who follows you can see it. It does not mean they WILL see it. Understand
that Twitter can also be a noisy platform. If somebody following you also follows a bunch of other people, your
tweet may be missed by that person.
To send a tweet which addresses a specific person, you make what is called a “reply”. You do this by using the
“@” sign and then the personʼs Twitter username. For example, if anybody entered a tweet with “@davidrisley” in
it, it would come up as a reply to me. Most people put that at the beginning of their tweet, but you can also
include a personʼs Twitter username anywhere in your tweet. The key, though, is to prefix the username with the
“@” sign.
The Twitter Manual - (cc) David Risley -
You can send direct messages over Twitter as well. This is just like instant messaging in that nobody else can
see a direct message. To send a direct message over Twitter, you use the format “d [username] [message]. So,
for example, to send me a direct message saying “Hi”, you would enter a tweet like “d davidrisley Hi!”. Notice
that you do not need to use an “@” sign when sending a direct message.
By using a combination of public messages, public replies and direct messages, you can turn Twitter into a
powerful conversation medium.
What Do I Tweet?
This is a common question from Twitter newbies. You feel as if you have nothing important to say, so you sit
there staring at Twitter at a loss for words. Or you end up tweeting things like what you had for lunch, a route
which usually ends with the mistaken conclusion that Twitter is a huge waste of time.
In reality, the famous question of Twitter “What Are You Doing?” is actually misleading. You can type anything
you want - not just what youʼre doing. Perhaps you want to share a link to a cool webpage you found. You can
ask questions (which gets more fun as you get more followers). You can retweet other peopleʼs stuff. You can
tweet your observations or thoughts on anything.
Most importantly, you can begin interacting with others by way of replies. Once you begin true two-way
interaction with others on Twitter, youʼll get the feel for the value of the medium quickly. So, instead of staring at
The Twitter Manual - (cc) David Risley - wondering what to type, instead take some time to find and follow others. Then, begin by replying to
other people.
Think of Twitter like a big party. People are sitting around having conversations. You walk up and begin
participating in the conversation that are already taking place. Makes sense, right?
What so many people tend to do is just start tweeting little things. If we take our party anology, that would be like
sitting in the middle of a room where the party is happening and just blankly talking out into space. Not only are
people not listening, but theyʼre likely to give you weird looks if they even notice!
So, remember. Twitter is a big party. It is the conversation at the water cooler. Treat it as such and youʼll get the
feel for it much faster.
10 Tips For Getting New Twitter Followers
Twitter will prove not very fun unless you get some people following you. There is no secret to getting followers.
It comes down to what I stated before: You get what you put into it.
Some ways to get followers:
1. Leverage Your Network. If you already have a blog or a large network on a site like Facebook, leverage that
resource to get your existing audience to follow you on Twitter.
The Twitter Manual - (cc) David Risley -
2. Be Active. Nothing sucks worse than a dead Twitter profile. So, be consistent and try to tweet a few times
per day.
3. Be a Person. Itʼs fine to use Twitterfeed [] to pipe your new blog posts into Twitter, but
you need to be a regular person, too. A Twitter stream is supposed to be more than another RSS feed.
4. Tweet value. Put stuff out there that is actually worth reading. This doesnʼt mean you canʼt post random
things youʼre doing throughout the day (you want to be human), but people will value you more if what you
say is actually interesting.
5. Follow others. If you follow other people, chances are theyʼll follow you back. Donʼt be random about. Find
people who are actually worth following for your particular interests.
6. Strike a conversation. Just following a person and sitting back accomplishes little if your goal is for them to
follow you back. Strike a conversation with them! Talk back! Send a reply. Thatʼs a sure-fire way to stand out
to people who follow a lot of people.
7. Retweet. If somebody you follow sends out a really useful or interesting tweet, retweet it to your own
followers. Not only do you provide value to your own followers, but it shows up as a reply to the person who
originally sent the message. Good on both fronts.
8. Be Interesting. It helps, not only to be a real person, but to actually be interesting. Funny tweets are one
example. Careful, though, donʼt be fake!
9. Be Interested. Take an interest in your followers. This goes hand-in-hand with several of the above tips, but
at the end of the day, when you show interest in your network and the actual people who follow you, theyʼll
WANT to follow you. Acknowledge your followers publicly when they post something interesting, for example.
10. Donʼt Forget Photos. People like photos, so if you use TwitPic [] sometimes to tweet
photos, people will watch and take a gander.
The Twitter Manual - (cc) David Risley -
It Isnʼt All About Being Followed
Iʼve had people see that I follow almost 3000 people and they ask, “Why"?”. They observe, and correctly so, that
I couldnʼt possibly read the tweets of 3000 people. And theyʼre right. I do NOT read every tweet that comes
across my plate. There are other Twitter users who follow a lot more people than I do and, trust me, theyʼre not
reading everything either.
When you follow a person, that means you can tap into their thought stream. Random thoughts, new links they
find, or their new blog posts – youʼll have those things entering your tweet stream. So, I have almost 3000
people who comprise a steady stream of collective thought.
The beauty of a site like Twitter is the near-instantaneous nature of it. You can learn of new things quickly. News
events break VERY fast on Twitter. It is like having 3000 pairs of eyeballs out there acting like a little conduit of
information which is sent TO YOU – via Twitter.
Do you see the value of that? I sure do!
Following the right people puts them into your thought stream. You can see what they see (if they tweet it, of
course). Thatʼs a LOT of information at your fingertips. And like any river or stream, you just dip your toe in it
when you see fit. Iʼm not watching every tweet that comes across my screen. But, I monitor it in my peripheral
vision (so to speak) so I can keep tabs on whatʼs happening out there.
The value of your tweet stream is determined by WHO you follow. So, take whatever youʼre interested in, find
the people in your niche, and follow them. You can use a site like Twellow [] to find people. You
The Twitter Manual - (cc) David Risley -
can even use Twitter search [] to enter search terms youʼre interested in, observe the
people who talk about those things, and follow them.
We all like to be followed on Twitter, but letʼs not get too hung up on it. Obviously being followed is a good thing.
But, I think there is perhaps more value to be had in simply following the right people.
Top 10 Signs Youʼre Not Worth Following on Twitter
These are the top things I look for to tell me youʼre not worth following:
1. You tweet spam. This would include the usual stuff such as “make money” MLM stuff, tweeth whitening,
how to get more followers, etc.
2. You donʼt have an avatar. That brown default avatar is, for me, classic sign of a spammer. If youʼre not a
spammer and youʼre still using the default avatar, change it now because youʼre in bad company.
3. Your avatar is sexy. You know, Iʼm a guy and I like a beautiful woman as much as any other guy. But, I
donʼt want to subscribe to it on Twitter. If your avatar is you simply advertising how much you want to get
laid, then get lost from my Twitter account.
4. Your profile bio is stupid and offers no reason why I should follow you. A profile like “I like fun things”
tells me nothing.
5. Your profile has nothing but links, with no personal interaction with your followers. If youʼre just a oneway stream, youʼre not using Twitter correctly and I wonʼt follow you.
6. You just tweet news or quotes. Sorry, I can get my news from anywhere and I donʼt want AP headlines
tweeted to me. And if all you do is tweet other peopleʼs quotes, then youʼre just telling me you let other
people think for you, too. You offer no value. Buh-bye.
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7. All you do is talk about stupid stuff like what you had for lunch. I like personal (non-business tweets),
but at least be somewhat interesting and donʼt make that the only thing your profile broadcasts.
8. You tweet in another language. Nothing personal here, I know not everybody speaks English. But, it
wouldnʼt make much sense for me to follow somebody I canʼt understand.
9. Excessive Blip.FM links. I donʼt CARE what music you listen to, and for me to click it and listen to a song
is the biggest waste of time EVER.
10. Tweets with a lot of weird characters. Some people like to tweet endless amounts of people full of heart
symbols and and other “wing dings”. No.
So, what do you think? Do you have other reasons for not following people? What do you look for when you
decide whether or not to follow or not?
Getting the Most Out of Twitter
So, Twitter is what it is. However, there are a lot of really cool third-party sites out there that take advantage of
Twitter to provide add-on capabilities.
Twitter Search (
This is the search engine for Twitter. Technically, it isnʼt a separate site. But, I find that so many people donʼt use
it and they should. For example, if you are interested in blogging, you can search for the word “blogging” and
youʼll find people talking about it in real-time.
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If you are in charge of the reputation of a company or brand, the value to this should be obvious. You can find
out what your customers are talking about - RIGHT NOW. Are they talking about you? Just continually monitor
Twitter Search for the name of your company or brand. The moment somebody says something relevant, you
can chime in to help. It makes brands personal and it is awesome customer support.
TweetBeep (
Get email alerts whenever somebody tweets about something you're interested in. It is actually allot like Google
Alerts, except for Twitter. Want to be notified if anybody mentions your name, your city or your website on
Twitter? Set up a TweetBeep.
TwitScoop (
TwitScoop creates a realtime, live-changing tag cloud of what is hot on Twitter right now. At a glance, you can
see what the leading subjects of conversation are on Twitter. Very interesting to watch whenever there is some
big news event taking place. You can often find out about it before you'll ever hear about it on television.
Twittervision (
A take off the word "television", Twittervision is definitely a site you can load into your browser, sit back and
watch. It is a mashup of Google Maps and Twitter, showing you tweets as they happen and from where they are
located on the globe. It is interesting to watch the map move around in real-time and seeing what people are
saying around the world right now.
Twellow (
The Twitter Manual - (cc) David Risley -
Twellow is a directory of Twitter users and it allows you to search for people based on their name and the
information they put into their bios. Very useful for finding people of similar interests to you to follow on Twitter.
#Hashtags (
A real-time tracker of hashtags on Twitter. A hashtag is like a tag for tweets, a word describing the content or
nature of the tweet. Hashtags are an invention of the Twitter community, not really something enabled by Twitter
TwitterPoster (
A look at TwitterPoster might remind you of the old days of those million pixel homepages. What it is is a
graphical representation of the most influential Twitter-ers. The larger the image, the more influential the person
right now. Might be a bit useless, but it is cool.
TwitterFeed (
If you run a blog or anything else which has an RSS feed, you can use TwitterFeed to automatically fetch the
latest entries from that feed and send them as tweets using your Twitter account. A lot of bloggers, for example,
use this to automatically send out links to new posts over Twitter.
Rules of the Road
There are a few things that are worth keeping in mind:
The Twitter Manual - (cc) David Risley -
1. Twitter is now breaking the barriers of early adopters and is beginning to go mainstream. As they do so, the
service is being overwhelmed. Twitter downtime happens so often that is is an ongoing joke. So, do not be
surprised when you see Twitter seem to die off every now and then. It usually comes back in a few seconds.
2. I most certainly do NOT recommend using any Twitter bots to auto-follow anybody or mass follow groups of
people. All this does is open you wide up to Twitter spam. I suggest you exercise just a little judgement in who
you follow. Yes, it is more work, but it means youʼll get more value from it. If you get too much input (by
following just anybody with no judgement), Twitter will quickly become nothing but a noise machine that just
sucks your attention.
If you are not on Twitter, I suggest you give it a go.
The Twitter Manual - (cc) David Risley -
In Closing
Some have gone so far as to call Twitter a utility, much like the phone company. Will it become that ingrained
into our daily life? Perhaps. There is one thing that I would bet the bank on: microblogging is here to stay and will
only become more mainstream as time goes on.
- David Risley
Now, I leave you on a humorous note...
Top 10 Signs Youʼre Addicted to Twitter
1. Youʼre on the Twitter website and find yourself refreshing the page rather than waiting for the auto-refresh. F5
is worn out.
2. You realize you need to turn off Twitter to get any work done. Problem is, you “realized” that an hour ago, too.
3. You get overly excited when you get a new follower.
You find yourself typing “@” to reply to people, even if its in an email.
You are bored and confused whenever there is another Twitter outage.
You have a Twitter client set to start automatically on boot up.
Your blog hasnʼt been updated in awhile, but youʼve been Twittering like crazy.
You feel the strong need to check up on Twitter before going to bed at night. Or perhaps on your laptop IN
9. First thing you do when you get home from date night with the wife is check Twitter.
10.You put your Twitter handle on your business card.
The Twitter Manual - (cc) David Risley -
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