Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tweet Now

Twitter is the rage nowadays, and as usual, I am late to the game. Yeah, an early adopter I am not, and still a lagard with the newest new thing on the internet. Well, Twitter isn't all that new, really. It has been around for more than 2 years. At one point, it was teetering on collapse, with a lot of bad user feedback on its responsiveness, or lack of it. Today, it still has issues, although it is being overlooked by many because of the sheer popularity of the platform.

So what do I do whenever a new popular thing comes along? I pick up a book to read all about it. In this case, I read to learn how to promote my blog by expanding my community of readers. When I came across the book, "Twitter Power - How to dominate your market One Tweet at a Time", by Joel Comm, I borrowed it and read it from cover to cover. In the process, I fast-forwarded my grasp of Twitter, which was great because in these internet days, speed is of the essence. You just don't have the time to figure out the great stuff all on your own. You need somebody who is been there, done that, and then some, to kickstart you.

Well, this book has certainly kicked me with lots of ideas and I am off to a running start. Yep, I am on now, although I must admit that I have, till now, a grand total of 1 tweet to my account. That's because I am encountering problems with getting the background changed. And, I discovered, Twitter actually has an unresolved bug here. But hey, I expect these problems to be ironed out in time. Only I hope it doesn't take too long.

But back to the book. What I like about it is that you get a lot of tips on how to do a lot more with 140 words or less. Joel discusses how he, and other Twitterers, have used Twitter to promote their products, and their blogs online. One of the most useful tip for me was how to and why to change the background. Joel also goes into some length discussing branding issues and how one should go about doing it. His common refrain? Marketing yourselve and your business through Twitter will take time, he says, so one has to be patient. That's pretty disappointing advice to anyone who wants to make his million before he is 30, but to me, it makes sense. His point is that this platform should be treated with respect, that you can't keep throwing marketing messages at twitterers ad nauseam. Instead of winning a following, which is key in Twitter, you'd hemorrhage followers.

There's a ton of interesting tools that are out there in Twitter-verse to fill in the gaps that Twitter, by its very nature, has. For example, how do you schedule a twitter message, how do display pictures with your tweets, how to keep track of popular tweets...? Joel ends the book discussing some obligatory legal stuff so you don't get into trouble. This is standard fare, so you can skip this chapter, really. Joel can be ponderous, but on the whole, its an easy book to read with lots of things to pick up.