Let's start with Twitter. This is also considered a form of Micro-Blogging with short text-based posts limited to 140 characters or less. While Twitter can be a great way to get a message out, there is also plenty of abuse that takes place. I have discovered a few guidelines that I follow that help make my Twitter experience a good one.
1. Setting up your account. When setting up your account, it is helpful to have a profile photo or fun avatar, short bio, and general location.
If you have a blog or website, there is a place in your profile to link to it. When deciding on whether to follow someone, I first view the profile. I am more likely to follow a person that I have something in common with.
2. Quality Not Quantity - This is a great rule of thumb when "Tweeting" and in "Followers". When choosing who to follow, look at the nature of their tweets.
A. Are they responding to others? (look for the @ sign) If all I am seeing is one-way tweets, I tend not to follow. These are practices of Spammers & SEO "experts" that only want to sell something.
B. Do you enjoy seeing their tweets? Once you follow, this is what will fill up your screen. And possibly your email box, as you have now given the green light to Direct Messages.
C. Do they have single-digit followers but are following a hundred times that many? - This should be a Spammer red-flag.
This is a 2-way street. Make sure that you are reading & responding to your "Tweeps"(followers). A great way to make friends is to Retweet from your friends as well. On Fridays, remember to spread the love with #FollowFriday or #FF and give a shout-out to a few of your friends so that others will follow them.
3. Follow Backs - Despite what the "Experts" may have told you, you don't have don't have to follow back everyone who follows you . Make sure you are looking at quality of Tweets and their user profile.
Beware of False Friends - A trick that some Twit-wits will use is to follow you to get you to follow back to boost their "Followers" list. Once they have achieved this, they will eventually drop you to make it appear that they have more people following them than they follow. They also now have a one-way street to communicate with you!
A great tool to out these fools is www.friendorfollow . Just enter your Twitter i.d. and you will be shown 3 groups.
1. Following (those who don't follow you back) 2. Fans ( followers who you don't follow) and 3. Friends (2-way street)
There have been a few times, I will reluctantly follow someone back and a few weeks later, find that I was duped. I use www.friendorfollow to out and drop these jerks. I also try to see if I missed anyone following me that I might wish to follow back.
4. Direct Messages - Use them sparingly and wisely. It is a no-no to use your direct access to Spam your followers. I like to use them for information specific to a friend(s) that I don't want others to see.
My biggest pet peeve is the auto-message.
"Thanks for following me! Tell me something about yourself. I look forward to getting to know you"
This is especially annoying when they are not following me back! And are therefore unable to get my messages. I then have to out them with a tweet like
"@(twerpsname) I can not DM you all about me if you don't follow me back!!!!!! #DMFail "
5. Other great practices & tools:
Check your @(yourtwittername) link on your sidebar for shout-outs or tweets about you that you may have missed in real-time.
TwitPic - While Twitter just allows for140 characters, TwitPic (www.twitpic.com) uses your same Twitter log-in and will post a url directly to Twitter so that you can share pictures. (or not if you check the appropriate box).
Tiny Urls - If you want to promote a blog or web post to Twitter and shorten it to fit into your tweet, there are a few sites that will do this. www.tinyurl.com is a tool I like to use.
What are your thoughts about Twitter? Any great tools that we should know about? Pet peeves? Tips?
Love to hear them!