Follower / following — explaining the Twitter lists
Yesterday’s New York Times piece, Putting Twitter’s World to Use , showed how Twitter can be used, from uniting disgruntled Moldovan youth to assisting doctors in surgery. (As big a fan of Twitter as I am, I’d still have to question whether the operating room is the time or the place to be … tweeting?) Another article, by publishing reporter Motoko Rich, explored how two days of online venting on Twitter led Amazon to correct a cataloguing error. As a book publicist, I use Twitter as an RSS feed of sorts, to keep tabs on what’s going on with the media and in publishing.
A lot of people have already signed up for Twitter — if you haven’t but would like to, check here for information about how to get started — but the question is: once you’ve signed up, how do you actually make use of it?
Twitter works by connecting people with “followers.” Thus, everyone has two lists: followers (people following you and reading your updates) and “Following,” a list of people whose updates you follow.
Finding people to follow
— Look up individuals. This can be pretty laborious since a lot of people don’t use real (or full) names. You can search email addresses too, although that can also get confusing since a lot of people use multiple email addresses and you won’t necessarily know which one they’re using for Twitter.
— Crib from someone else’s Follower / Following list. You know what I’m talking about: you’ve done this before on Facebook and LinkedIn. When you find someone interesting, look through their lists for people to Follow.
— #FollowFriday. Every Friday, people list others they like to follow. This is a great way to find people who tweet about a certain topic (like ebooks or book acquisitions).
Getting people to follow you
Those of you familiar with other social networking sites but who are new to Twitter will no doubt find it creepy that strangers follow you. This is a common practice on Twitter. Although you can protect your updates and change your settings so that you approve all followers, most tweeple don’t make use of these functions. (After all, your profile displays virtually no personal information.) Here’s how to get followers:
— Post your Twitter handle. Post your “handle,” e.g. @yodiwan, on your blog / website / in your email signature.
— Follow others. Some people will “autofollow,” which means they have applications that enable them to automatically follow you if you follow them. Others don’t autofollow, but will scan through their follower requests and follow those people who look interesting.
Tips for Facebook users
— The Twitter application for Facebook. You can download the Twitter application in Facebook (use the Search function to find it) which will enable you to have all your Twitter updates automatically posted on Facebook. (It doesn’t work the other way.) A few considerations: how often do you update your Twitter status? It’s fine to post 50 times a day on Twitter; FB users will simply get annoyed by that many status updates. Also, your Twitter Follower list will likely differ from your Facebook Friend list and the same updates may not be appropriate for both groups.
Tips for Blackberry and iPhone users
— Many people tweet from cell phones. Popular mobile applications include Twitterberry (for the Blackberry) and Tweetie (for the iPhone). Think tweeting from a cell phone is a waste of time? It’s actually one of the best ways to get real-time coverage of an event (from surgery to the plane crashing in the Hudson to a conference panel).
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Fall 2012: I’ve really enjoyed writing about book publicity and meeting (0nline and in person) writers, publicists, editors, agents and others in the publishing industry, but I’ve — reluctantly — come to the conclusion that I just don’t have the time to maintain this blog.
I imagine there is some information that will remain the same and that will remain useful, but there is much more that is or will become out of date, so please keep that in mind if you find yourself perusing my posts.
For some time now, I’ve closely followed a lot of very informative sites about media and about the publishing industry. Since I find myself quite voluble at times about issues that pertain to my job in the publicity department at a large publishing house, I thought I’d set up a book publicity blog. The purpose of this blog is provide tips, primarily, but also information about publishing / marketing trends that will help book publicists — and hopefully others in media and publishing — do our jobs with greater ease and efficiency. Please note that the opinions expressed on this blog are my own, not those of my company.
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