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Posted
27 January 2008 @ 12pm

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How I Use Twitter

Dave Winer today asked for advice for Twitter newbies. I’m not sure I have a lot of advice for newbies (given that Twitter is still a young product, aren’t we all newbies and figuring out how to use it anyway?). However, I can write about how I use it.

  1. I never use the website. I use Snitter as my exclusive Twitter client. It’s far easier to reply to somebody; you get notfied of new tweets; and it plays a little piece of music when you post a 140 character tweet.
  2. I follow about 80 100 people or so. I have a pretty simple mechanism for who to follow: I either read the person’s blog or I hear repeatedly from others that this would be an interesting person to follow.
  3. If you follow me, I will follow you. If I’m not interested in what you write, I unsubscribe.
  4. I always have it running in the background.
  5. I use it as a chat-room.
  6. I use it to keep a pulse on what is going on among the people who are my ‘virtual’ friends.
  7. I do announce new blog posts on Twitter.
  8. I barely ever say what I am doing.
  9. I try to ask questions and provide answers.

I don’t see a lot of value in following 1000 or more people. You can’t keep up with what’s going on among such a big group anyway. If I see somebody who follows 2000 people but only has two followers, that’s probably a spammer.

For me Twitter is a communications tools. I always call it a backchannel to blogging, where ideas get passed around in real time, new posts announced, and where you have a direct, unmediated channel to other bloggers, no matter whether they are A-listers or Z-listers.

The most important things about Twitter, though (and what in the end has made it so useful), is that Twitter can be whatever you want it to be. How you use it greatly depends on the people you communicate with.

Oh, and if you want to follow me, you can find my Twitter feed here.

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