1. Complete Your Profile. Consider how you want to introduce yourself to people. Take a moment to fill out your profile and let people know something about you. You don’t have to tell Twitter everything, but you do want to make an introduction.
2. Come up with a good profile picture. A profile picture can really be anything, but there should be something there in place of the default image. The profile picture (or avatar) can a candid picture of you to a favorite cartoon character to a corporate logo. Tread gently when using copyrighted images, but express yourself. Tastefully, of course.
3. Take advantage of Twitter.com’s “Find People” feature. This built-in network builder will help you find people that share common interests with you. It goes off your profile what you share in common with others and finds you a wide mix of people who reply often or have high Twitter profiles. It’s a great start in building your network.
4. Review the feeds of people who want to follow you. It takes a few minutes and really is the only maintenance you have to contend with on Twitter, but when you receive a follow request, have a look at the first page of their feed. If it is a resource you think you will benefit from or if it is a person that strikes you as someone you’d like to share a dialogue with, then follow back. If the feed is random links on a topic of interest or someone simply re-tweeting others, then you can either follow or not follow back. If the feed offers abusive content, spam, or nothing, blocking is a good idea. To preserve your security, both yours and your network’s, check your follow requests.
5. Avoid the shortcuts. You will be pitched by services promising to increase your numbers overnight. The problem with these services is they do so by automatically hitting random accounts, following and unfollowing them, and (in some cases) approving followers you have never reviewed. These service will also sometimes hijack your feed in order to promote their own services. The idea of picking up 1000 followers in only two days may sound tempting, but it would be best to avoid such shortcuts.
6. When talking to people don’t forget the @ symbol and their username. Many new Twitters tend to forget that Twitter is not an instant messenger, and forget to add in a reply or an address to someone. By starting an update or “tweet” to someone specific you simply add in an @ symbol and a username (i.e. @SociableBlog Good morning. How’s your coffee?). This will grab their attention and start up an exchange between the two of you.
7. Download a third-party desktop client. These clients, going under names like TweetDeck, Twhirl, Destroy Twitter, and so on, go out and fetch your tweets for you. Your feed is then automatically refreshed so you can see what people are saying both on the open feed and directly to you. These free applications make Twitter more efficient and offer additional options not found on Twitter.com.
8. When working with Twitter on smartphones, practice common sense. If you are waiting for a train or sitting in a café enjoying a Mocha, then tweet away from your iPhone, BlackBerry, or G1. If, however, you are behind the wheel of a moving vehicle or at the dinner table with the family, put the phone away. The reason it is called “Social Media” is because you are using Twitter to make human connections, not so you can substitute the Real World with a virtual one.
9. Understand that tweeting from startphones isn’t the same as “unlimited texting.” This is particularly important when you are traveling overseas or working with a limited data plan. The tweets you send from your phone are not SMS messages but data, and much like “push data” (receiving email, updating calendars remotely, etc.) every time you tweet, upload media to MobyPicture or TwitPic, this is data you are using up and will be accrued accordingly. Keep that in mind when working with Twitter on the road.
10. Tweet unto others as you would have them tweet unto you. When you get on Twitter, what does your feed say about you? I glance at @ITStudios and see promotion for All a Twitter, exchanges with people who are new to my feed, and the occasional bit of “What I am doing…” updates. My @TeeMonster feed is far more eclectic. In both, I always consider what I am saying and how I carry myself. I want to be helpful, generous, and above all, fun. When I promote, I try to make it subtle. I never go for the hard sell. Your tweets say a lot about you. don’t be afraid to be yourself, and allow yourself to enjoy the community aspect of Social Networking. There is a lot to Twitter, so long as you remember that behind every account (most of the time) is a person, curious as to what you’re up to and what you have to say.
About the Author : Tee Morris has been an active member of the global Twitter community since Spring 2007. Over more than a decade, he has built a reputation as a true New Media expert. Morris is author of Podcasting for Dummies and Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, hosts the Imagine That! Studios blog, and has spoken on new media at events such as Book Expo America 2006 and the 2007 and 2008 CADCA National Convention. Since 1996, he has taught classes on Podcasting, Web 2.0 initiatives, Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Audition, and Premiere throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC.