Twitter Insights

I am often asked why people use Twitter.

Even prominent business people (nevermind my entire extended family) say, “I don’t get it.”

twitter bird with pc

I also frequent encounter the favorite throw away comment from people that don’t WANT to get it, “why do I need to log in to Twitter to see whether you ate a peanut butter sandwich for lunch.”

Come on.

Below are some thoughts on Twitter.  While I start with the “basics” I think they’re generally valuable for people that are knowledgable about Twitter.  But I put the more advanced topics in the Twitter 201 section.  Click any of the links to see the full posts.  If you see a topic with no link I haven’t written the post yet.  If you want me to prioritize it please just leave a comment and I will.  Thank you.

Twitter 101 Topics

Twitter is a way to follow news (like RSS).  You can subscribe to your favorite news sources (e.g. NY Times, TechCrunch) and get real-time updates when they publish new stories.  You don’t have to publish what you ate for lunch – you can just read the news in real time.

Twitter is IM (and text messaging) – Just like IM tools AIM, Google Talk or Skype, Twitter is inherently an instant messaging tool.  To understand how it differs and why you should care at all about IM read this post.

How to get (the right) people on Twitter to follow you – Twitter is all about becoming part of the conversation.  But as of July 2009 it’s quite hard to get the people you want to read your Tweets to actually follow you.  This post talks about some practical strategies for getting “the right” people to follow you.

The new Twitter “Who to Follow” functionality – Twitter has released new functionality that makes it easier to find the right people to follow.  Interestingly, this also helps the right people to follow you.  This post discusses the new feature and why it’s so powerful at driving engagement.

The real power of Twitter is link sharing – People often comment that Twitter can’t be useful because it’s only 140 characaters.  What these people don’t realize is that the real power of Twitter comes from people including links in their Tweets to other articles, photos, videos, etc.  This post discusses the power of Link Sharing on Twitter.

Understanding the @ command in Twitter – It’s not as straightforward as you might think. 4 basic tips, 2 more advanced tips.

Making it easier for people to search for you on Twitter – Many people list their Twitter handle rather than their real name on Twitter.  This makes it very difficult to search for you as this post explains.

Twitter is real time

Twitter can create encounters

Twitter can be location specific

Twitter 201 Topics

The Case for In-Stream Advertising (Part 1) – Some users have complained that ads don’t belong in Tweets or in-stream.  But many of these users are already driving people to their websites where they monetize.  This article looks at the emergence of ads in Tweets.

The Case for In-Stream Advertising (Part 2) – Google got big by having contextual advertising on a pay-per-click model.  But many people don’t know that Google resisted this business model at first.  When Overture (funded by my firm, GRP Partners) came up with the model the industry resisted.  Now it’s accepted wisdom.  I argue in this post that I think in-stream advertising will go the same way.  The beauty of in-stream is not only that engagement and CTRs (click-through-rates) are higher but also that the content creator shares in the monetization vs. just the technology provider.  This link will tell you more.

5 Steps Businesses Must Take to Monitor the Twitter conversation – People are talking about your brand online.  You need to know who is speaking, what their authority is and whether they’re talking positively or negatively about you.  You must then take action.

Twitter observations: Asymetry, How many followers should one have? – Plaxo, Friendster, MySpace and then Facebook all had two common themes that have been shattered by Twitter.  The first is the idea that when you want to follow somebody is they say “yes” then it is a two-way relationship.  The second assumption in social networks was that most people want their information to be private.  This post talks about many things but primarily the advantages of asyemtry has given Twitter.

Did Twitter Kill the Blogger Star? – Twitter was popularized in 2007 as a “micro blogging” service made popular by the frequent use of people like Robert Scoble and Michael Arrington.  It drove people like Robert and Shel Israel to start Tweeting rather than writing long blog posts.  So has Twitter killed blogging?  I would argue that the opposite is the case.

Twitter will become advertising (CPM, CPL)

But why doens’t Twitter make money?

Twitter must fight porn

Twitter much fight spam (or @ becomes useless)

Twitter has DM link spam (but so to did blogs and we cleaned that up)

p.s. If you read this far, bravo.  You don’t have ADD like I do.  I can’t finish lists.  You might also note that I’m starting a new series even though I didn’t finish the series on “Pitching a VC.”   I promise to.  My ADD requires me to wander around.  If you’re still reading you probably don’t have ADD but if you want to know more about it check out here for the best book I’ve seen on the topic.