How I Use Twitter, Six Years Later with Jeremiah Owyang
I was Tweeting with social media analyst Jeremiah Owyang and noticed he provides a profile link to an article about his Twitter habits. This is a great practice, because it properly sets follower expectations on how you communicate.
But Jeremiah's "How I use Twitter" summary is six years old! Things like, "Find me on Friendster" and remembering to refresh your page no longer apply. So he and I set out to update his best practices. Still a high volume Twitter publisher (15 a day on average), this is how one of the industry's leading analysts uses Twitter.
2007 Habit #1 - As a ‘shared feed’ reader. I’ll post up links of what I’m reading that I find is interesting in near real time, and give some commentary. I try to add value here, rather than adding to noise. So use me as a news filter.
ANDRE: Twitter recently published what I call the "Twitter Triangle," as an illustration of how to determine your tone-of-voice. What's your take on this three-point assessment? Which points are you more partial to?
JEREMIAH: Good question, I lean on the “help” and “info” side for sure. The good news is, if I accomplish this, and people become more successful at their jobs and careers, it also leads to fun.
2007 Habit #2 - As a chat room. We collectively work out problems, issues, and I gain insight to other people’s viewpoints. Often when conversations are just between a few folks, I shift to direct messages or email –sparing my community from hearing my minutia.
ANDRE: Twitter chats. I find them an excellent resource for meeting like-minded people, and particularly for SMBs to grow their reach. Although I haven't found a single "go to" source list for them. Do you ever participate in them?
JEREMIAH: I rarely participate in hashtag chat rooms, I find it to be too noisy. When I first wrote this post, there wasn’t threaded messages, so I try to take advantage of the threaded replies. I try to shift bigger conversations or topics that can be misconstrued to email or DM.
2007 Habit #3 - Event capture: Lately, when I attend an event (like Mark Cuban’s presentation at BlogWorldExpo, or Teresa’s webinar on Facebook yesterday) I’ll fire off the top nuggets I learn.
ANDRE: Boston, last week. This was a time when it appears you closely used Twitter to capture, follow, and impart information on the event. And at the same time, you really shared your personality, as well. It's so important for these things, is it not?
JEREMIAH: Last week’s Boston Tragedy was a human event, and everyone was impacted. I certainly had many personal feelings about it, but was compelled to share critical news –without spreading rumors—and discuss the broader cultural and technology impact to all our lives. I also provided brands and agencies a perspective on toning down promotions during this sensitive time, which was quickly shared. Again, this was a human event, that impacted all of us.
2007 Habit #4 - Listening tool: It’s interesting to find out what others are sharing and talking about, from very personal to big concepts. I frequently use the search tools around different topics to keep on top of what’s happening.
ANDRE: This is so important, yet I haven't found an isolated resource for managing listening--it largely ends up being a combination of tools. Without endorsement, do you find you use native Twitter tools (including TweetDeck) or 3rd party tools to manage your Twitter listening?
JEREMIAH: I know it’s crazy, but I still use many of the native tools that Twitter provides, including most of my time spent in browser. I’m not using any of the more sophisticated tools, although I have access to many of them.
ANDRE: What three things would you recommend a small or medium business getting started with Twitter?
JEREMIAH: Start with the native and free tools. Master how you'll be actionable in responding, before investing in new tools! The process, the commitment, the mechanics of integrating social into your business workflow matters more than the tools themselves.
2007 Habit #5 - Traffic direction tool: I use it to direct people to this blog, sometimes (I’ll admit) a bit too enthusiastically. Google Analytics indicates this is one of the largest referrers of folks to my blog.
ANDRE: Tell me about how your inbound traffic measures up today between all your social channels. Twitter still on top?
JEREMIAH: Google is the number one source, still. However Twitter is the second top referrer. Facebook further down, although my subscription count is nearly as high as my Twitter following. Ergo: Twitter is still a top source of traffic.
2007 Habit #6 - For work: When I’m conducting interviews or briefings that aren’t confidential, I’ll state who I’m speaking to and what I find interesting, if you listen closely, you’ll hear me tweet about other interesting findings from my job as a social media analyst. Also, I will announce new research, request interviews, and promote workshops, conferences and other services.
ANDRE: I think this is so valuable in leading up to new studies and activities. Have you ever Twitter "crowdsourced" direction on a new product, trend, or topic to research and explore?
JEREMIAH: All the time! I vet ideas about research with the crowd in social channels and also crowdsource case studies, topics, terms, and find out who I should interview in the research process. I also note, that this tends to be a more tech savvy crowd, so this is just one of many methods that we deploy.
2007 Habit #7 - How I don’t use Twitter. Personal Minutia: I rarely talk about waking up, eating lunch, or starting my car, instead, I want to add value.
ANDRE: Ah hah! I caught you recently Tweeting about watching SyFy Defiance. So when it is something of personal status nature, it must be important to you. Are you normally a SyFy buff or do you just like the multi-platform aspect of what they're doing?
JEREMIAH: This is on topic! SyFy Defiance is a transmedia technology show that was announced and featured at SXSW interactive. The show plans to tie computer gaming with the outcome of the show, so it’s actually a second screen experience. With that said, the show is ‘ok’ but really didn’t hold my personal attention.
ANDRE: What about Arrested Development? It's coming back you know.
JEREMIAH: Will have to check it out.
ANDRE: This character Tobias is a nut. He's a "never nude."
2007 Habit #8 - Excessive personal discussions: I’ve been criticized for not @replying at people, but it’s because I’m sensitive to not overload the community with a discussion that’s only relevant to a few people. Instead, I may direct message them, favorite a tweet, or shift to email. Update as of Sept 2008, I have sent/received over 4000 direct messages, out of 10,000 updates. So 40% of my communications shift to private discussions.
ANDRE: I think this is so critical as the reach of Twitter has broadened. Six years ago there were fewer voices. Today, personal communication helps to differentiate your own. In fact, that's how we got into this conversation. So, have you ever reconnected with a lost someone through Twitter?
JEREMIAH: I connect with old schoolyard friends in Twitter and Facebook, what a great connection to remember your past.
2007 Habit #9 - A few people have found me too noisy (filling up their stream) but there’s a simple solution, although I would hate to see it happen, one can simply opt-out. You’ve got to do what’s right for you and I understand.
ANDRE: You can't be everything to everyone. But sometimes we find we're a lot to a lot of people, for sure. Along those lines, let's have a little fun. In this example, you are clearly being objectified for more than your mind. How do you handle this type of follower flattery?
I tried something similar to mixed results.
JEREMIAH: This really made me chuckle, nice one! Thanks for having me, I enjoyed the questionaire. I do think there’s an opportunity for me to eventually update these rules, but for now, they mainly hold true.
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