Do any of you have a Twitter account? I had been hearing "Twitter this" and "Twitter that" for quite some time. I was tired of not knowing what it was all about. Then I heard that Charlie Sheen signed up for a Twitter account...and got 1 million followers within 24 hours! Not that I care about Charlie Sheen, but the fact that 1 million people signed up to follow that train wreck, well that is quite a phenomenon. I wanted to know more about the phenomenon that is Twitter.
Here's some cool facts and figures from Twitter:
3 years, 2 months and 1 day. The time it took from the first Tweet to the billionth Tweet.
1 week. The time it now takes for users to send a billion Tweets.
50 million. The average number of Tweets people sent per day, one year ago.
140 million. The average number of Tweets people sent per day, in the last month.
177 million. Tweets sent on March 11, 2011.
456. Tweets per second (TPS) when Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009 (a record at that time).
6,939. Current TPS record, set 4 seconds after midnight in Japan on New Year’s Day.
Seems like exponential growth. Can we ignore it?
It's very easy to set up a Twitter account at http://www.twitter.com/.
Once you sign up you can begin selecting others to follow and you can wait for others to choose to follow you. Waiting is not an optimal action step. If you are anything like me, and you're not Charlie Sheen, you'll wait and wait and wait.
After two weeks, I was following 16 people and businesses. I had five followers. Pathetic, right? After all, the train wreck got 2 million followers in 24 hours. After two weeks I had five. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5...I could count them on one hand. If Twitter is a popularity contest, I was definitely losing.
Before we talk about what I have done about it, let's talk about some basics of Twitter. Twitter is a social media messaging tool that allows you to communicate with a network of followers in not more than 140 characters. Less is OK. There isn't much more to it. You follow others and others follow you. Then you tweet.
Well, to be honest, there actually is a lot more to it. It can be pretty overwhelming. I've done a lot of searching on the internet for helpful hints and tutorials. Here's a great guide to using Twittter if you are curious. There's even a whole new vocabulary to learn. Words like:
- tweeps: Twitter people that follow each other from one social media/network to another
- tweeter: a user of Twitter
- tweet(ing): the act of posting to Twitter
- tweets: posts on Twitter by twitterers
- Choose a few well-known people to follow. Pick people from a variety of interests. It will make the first tweets you receive interesting or informative. Here is is list of 100 People You Should Follow On Twitter. It's a great place to start.
- Are there sites you visit daily on the internet, or some blogs you read regularly? Check to see if they have a "Follow me on Twitter" button. That's an easy way to find people to follow.
- Once you select some people to follow you can click on their profiles to see who else is following them. You can choose to follow some of those followers.
- I signed up for a service, TweetBig, that will go out and search for people to follow, follow them for you and automatically follow back anyone new who follows you. This is not a free service. It has a $1.00 for seven days trial, followed by a $17.95 per month charge. After five days I decided to cancel the subscription to this service. It worked well for the first two days, but then seemed to stop working. While it worked to add some followers, many of them I actually unfollowed later. I don't recommend this action.
Do I tweet? Since signing up I have tweeted 35 times. The majority of those tweets are automatic tweets generated from my blog that share the title of the blog post and a shortened URL so others can easily connect to my blog. I have responded to a couple of questions asked by others and shared a few links containing information I thought helpful. Mostly I'm standing back and watching what others are tweeting about to first get the lay of the land.
So, there you have it, friends, first impressions of the world of Twitter from a tweeting newbie. If you tweet, please connect with me (@justonedonna).
Your new Twitter friend.