Jan 09

Find Your Flock on Twitter

I get bummed out when I find interesting people who simply don’t get Twitter. They sign up, follow a bunch of people, and then say, “It was just a bunch of people saying they like ice cream or going to work that day.”

Social media tools like Twitter are like cell phones. We don’t get cell phones and then plug in a bunch of numbers just to have them. We think of whom we would actually want to call on a regular basis, and then plug in their numbers. It’s the conversations that make the medium interesting.

Do you like certain blogs? Find out if the blog and the actually bloggers are on Twitter simply by Googling their name and “Twitter”. You can do the same for potential business partners, employees, celebrities, and anyone else. If they are boring, unfollow them or filter them out with tools like Seesmic or Tweetdeck.

Putting the people ahead of the medium ensures you are actually making the most of a very useful communication tool.

Nov 08

Twitter Lists: Find Useful People to Follow in Half the Time

I can honestly say I turned a lot of people onto TweetDeck. My friend Renato and I made this video back in the day about how its listing featured allowed you better organize people on Twitter. That was a big deal then.

Now I know this isn’t terribly new news, but Twitter Lists are pretty cool. Looking at who a person follows is something Robert Scoble has been doing for a while now, and now Twitter has been nice and has allowed us to all do this with half the work with categorization to boot. Essentially, they now allow us to share the groups we’d already set up in Twitter clients like Seesmic or TweetDeck, which is a huge catalyst to social networking in general.

I have created a few lists so far and will continue to create more with the intention that if you follow my lists, you will actually gain value by using Twitter. There are a lot of uses for them and until TweetDeck incorporates them (which I’ve heard it will, and Seesmic already has), I can see myself using them almost exclusively. I am also hunting for other people’s useful lists and have noticed that a lot of the people who are really savvy to certain industries are too busy to create them. I hope after time this changes (*hint hint*).

Jun 30

How Someone With 2000 Twitter Followers Can Be More Powerful than a Person with 25,000

Much of what Seth Godin says seems like common sense to me. Unfortunately, I’m finding more and more that companies need his lessons pounded into their brains. Here’s a video of Seth explaining that it doesn’t matter how many Twitter followers you have, it’s how effectively you can network with it:

Numbers don’t matter. That’s like saying because you weigh a lot, you are a more powerful tennis player than Roger Federer. Federer can hit a tennis ball harder than people twice his size simply because he gets in position and has better technique. Tennis analogy not working for you? Here’s an example of what Seth is saying worked out:

HOW A PERSON WITH 2000 TWITTER FOLLOWERS CAN BE MORE POWERFUL THAN SOMEONE WITH 25,000 SIMPLY BY FOLLOWING SETH GODIN’S ADVICE:

1.) A person who blogs about foreign films starts following people who tweet about movies like “Dinner with Andre” or are tweeting about the Cannes Film Festival while it is occurring. By tweeting back and forth and engaging people, tweeting unique links, this person gets 2000 followers. Many of these followers have over 1000 film obsessed followers themselves.
2.) Another person buys followers, follows people just so they follow back, etc. The whole mentality of “I’ll follow you only if you follow back” is just childish. Tim O’Reilly offers useful info all the time and will probably never follow me in my lifetime. So what? Anyway, by playing this numbers game, this person gets a whopping 25,000 followers who are more concerned about reciprocal followers than actually getting useful information.

Say I’m marketing a foreign film. If I have these people tweet something with the intention of it getting as much exposure as possible, the person with 2000 followers will probably be of more use to me. Why? Because this person will get retweeted by people who actually care what I have to say, who would have a lot to offer their own followers by retweeting my stuff. Do the math:

2000 people exposed initially
50 retweets
x 6000 unique followers among these retweeters
600,000,000 possible impressions

vs. 25,000 possible impressions for person #2

Someone who just gets followers to have them will probably get few to no retweets, and often gets them simply with the notion that he or she will feel obligated to retweet in return. That’s lame. It’s not targeted or effective. So this person with tons of followers has little influence, because he or she is more focused on being perceived as influential rather than actually having something to say.

Power=mass x acceleration. If you are in the right position and surrounding yourself by people who actually care about what you are trying to do, you can do a lot more with a lot less. Ignore the numbers game. Engage people who are useful and who would find you useful. The numbers come, and not always where you expect them to.