Potential Power of Twitter–Part 2

Good day, friends!

Last time I shared a story about the time some friends and I wound up lost while driving to a women’s retreat. (You can read that post here.) Today I’ll tie that into:

The Incredible, Potential Power of Twitter

Yes, I wrote that title—and mean it. Would never have happened a year ago, I promise. I couldn’t be bothered being a part of this monster of a social media tool, nor did I have any desire to learn about it so that I could be. Then I happened on Kristen Lamb’s blog. Then I cracked and bought her bestseller, We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media—WANA, from here on and the best $4.99 I’ve spent in some time. Read my thoughts on it here. Those thoughts got me a request to write a short article for Author-Me’s monthly newsletter

Knock-knock: Are you starting to get an idea of how this works?

These days you’ll find me hanging out here, on Facebook and yes, Twitter. Do I absolutely love any of Kristen’s recommended three? Not necessarily, but I love people and enjoy making online friends and connections and learning more than I ever imagined I could via all the blogs I find via the three venues. (Kristen’s weekly mash-up of awesomeness—a.k.a. blogs—could keep me reading all day, and since January of this year, I swear I’ve gained an education in social media and self-publishing from blogs alone. And all for the cost of what? Internet access and whatever time I’m willing to put into it.)

Sorry. Sidetracked. Back to business!

So what sets Twitter apart? Doesn’t take that much time as a tweeter to figure out how powerful a tool this is. I will, however, state it’s much easier to see the potential once you’re using Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or similar personal browser created to organize and manage the hundreds and probably thousands of tweets headed your way alone on a daily basis. (Depends on your following as well as your ability to create/maintain online relationships. Oh, and don’t expect to be able to read and/or respond to every message once you’re ‘established.’ Twitter interactions happen pretty much in a ‘real time’ manner: about ninety minutes (assuming you’re using a personal browser and based on how busy a particular column is—more about this later) before you ‘missed’ a tweet, or more realistically, a slew of them.

Okay, writing about this is getting bigger than I can handle, so I’ll stick to what, IMHO, are the keys to what makes Twitter so amazing: simplicity and inherent exponential potential.

Simplicity: One-hundred-forty characters to get a thought across AND get it onto the screens of x-number of fellow tweeps. At first I thought, what’s the point of just that tiny window? Now I realize a side benefit: teaching me to edit and keep what I say succinct and direct. (Only the most important words here.)

Inherent exponential potential: Concept=simple. Potential power: beyond believable and in need of a few sentences to do it justice. When you tweet, write your message but spare some characters. You’ll use those spaces to create a hashtag: the pound sign/symbol (#) followed by pretty much any word you want. Think in terms of tags or keywords.

Example: If I’m tweeting about US Open tennis, I’ll add #usopen, #tennis, #rafaelnadal or something along those lines. The Twitter monster makes sure that anyone who has a Tweetdeck column dedicated to any or all of those (or similar) hashtags will see my tweet. Now do you get an idea of how many potential people you can reach with only one-hundred-forty characters? (And that doesn’t include retweets, folks—messages you ‘repeat’ to all your followers with a single click.) Honestly, I am boggled—better yet: flum-gubbered—every time I think about this.

I’ll stop here—think I overwhelmed myself—before I give you too much to take in. (Something tells me I’ll be exploring this topic again.) Please feel free to shoot out questions: here, or at my Facebook and/or Twitter pages.

Don’t forget: A critique of up to 10 pages of your work-in-progress or completed manuscript is still up for grabs at the end of this week. Leave a comment for your chance to win!

Until next time,

Joanna

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11 thoughts on “Potential Power of Twitter–Part 2

  1. Hi Joanna, okay, you have me intrigued even more. I’m going to have to buy the book and learn! You just touched on the subject, but even from that I learned a couple of things I didn’t know about Twitter and Tweeting (lol, sounds so funny to say those words). Anyway, I do think it’s a great idea, if only I can learn how to use it and manage it.

    Thanks for the awesome follow-up blog and the book recommendation!

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    1. You’re very welcome, Christine. You won’t regret WANA–that’s a promise. I often hear all the tech and social media terms I toss out nowadays and remember when those words didn’t even exist, let alone me have a clue what any of them meant.

      Download Tweetdeck (www.tweetdeck.com); the whole thing will wind up making more sense after you use it for a while and get comfortable with it.

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    1. Your best bet is to simply start following others whose tweets interest you (many will reciprocate; others often follow later, after you’ve begun responding to others’ tweets). Twitter will suggest people for you to follow. Also, Tweetdeck allows you to make columns to help you out. I have ‘Tweetdeck suggests’ and ‘new followers’ columns that keep that info sorted. And back to Kristen Lamb: she does Twitter-related articles every Tuesday and dedicates a big part of WANA to Twitter. (It’s her favorite social media platform. She made sense of it to me.)

      Think what made Twitter initially so hard for me to grasp–especially using Tweetdeck–was that I expected it to be so much harder than it is.

      Good luck. What’s your Twitter handle (i.e., name?). I’ll be happy to follow you!

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  2. Great info. I’m still trying to figure Twitter out. I can’t make heads or tails of most of the comments. Couldn’t follow a thread. A fellow author pointed out the side bar where you click that little arrow and then see the comments based on that post. So, I’m getting there. Slowly!

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    1. I think this will be so much easier for you, Lilly, if you download Tweetdeck. And yes, you’ll get there. I have a few more posts coming on this topic. The first is scheduled for this upcoming Wed (10/5) and inspired by questions in these comments and other places I’ve posted where related topics have been explored. Thanks for stopping in!

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