Some of you maybe already use Twitter, if not you will have almost certainly heard of it.
Twitter is the fastest growing micro-blogging, social networking site on the planet.
Some of you may have looked at Twitter and decided it was just another Internet time wasting entity, for people with way too much time on their hands.
This was exactly my first impression, until I looked into it further.
Twitter is quick and easy to use, which is why it has grown so quickly in popularity. It is a cross between sending put a public email and a mini-blog. You type in a brief message; of only 140 characters, including spaces, which is not much. It asks the simple question, “What are you doing?”
Some take this question literally and type something like, “Just got up and I am making coffee.” They hit send and blast the message off into cyber-space. Apart from personal friends of this particular person, no one really gives a shit that they are making coffee. This is why many see the whole Twitter thing as a huge waste of time.
One has to realize that the Internet is full of a tremendous amount of inanity, it is not only Twitter. Just look at Internet Forums, one has to look beyond that and pick out things they can use.
Lance Armstrong uses Twitter. When he recently had his bike stolen from the team van, he sent out a Tweet. (What a message on Twitter is called.) Within a short time his followers had picked up the message and re-sent it out again. Soon there were literally thousands of people looking out for this stolen bike.
The thieves couldn’t sell it because everyone knew about it and it became way too hot. Within three days, the thieves abandoned the bike, and Lance had it back. Again, when Lance Armstrong broke his collarbone, his followers knew about it within minutes, and later Lance himself was sending out messages in real time, assuring us that he was okay, and thanking fans for their concern.
I look on Twitter as an extension of what I am doing here. I can follow people at a single click; I can also stop following someone at a click. There are many cyclists on Twitter all over the world. It is neat to be up late at night, and read that someone I am following in Australia has just got back from a bike ride.
When I post something new here on my blog, I send a message out on Twitter, along with a link to the new article. I use TinyURL.com to shorten the link because I only have 140 characters to get the message out there. In addition to that, I might say “Just got back from a 40 mile bike ride,” because some people may be interested to know that.
I do much of the same as I do here on my blog, only in a condensed form. I put out little bits of humor, to make people smile; I put out stuff to make people think. I am still new to Twitter, about six weeks, and I only have between 200 and 300 followers. I hope to build this to many thousand, and in doing so build the readership of this blog. It is as much effort for me to write and article to be read by two hundred people as it is to be read by two million people.
I have just discovered a wonderful tool called Tweet Deck. It allows me to organize the people I am following on a single page, so I can easily read what they have to say. For example my two passions are bicycles, and music. I have separate columns for cyclists and musicians.
The best way to get followers is to follow other people and they will follow back. Tweet Deck will become more useful in time, because when I get to the stage where I am following thousands of people, it will be impossible to read every single message. What I do is quickly scan though and pick out a few that interest me, and I respond. Others will respond to me, and I put those into a group that I start to follow on a regular basis.
To get started, go to Twitter.com and sign on, it’s free. You need a nickname, mine is exframebuilder, your own name, where you are, and a brief bio. Once you’ve signed in, you can pull up my page, click follow, and you are now following me. You can also follow Lance Armstrong, and Levi Leipheimer if you wish.
Then you can see the people I am following, (left sidebar), and click on them to see who they are. If you like what you see you can follow them at a single click. You can also drop people just as easy, and no one is offended.
You can also go to www.search.twitter.com and type in the word bike, and you will find cyclists from all over the globe. Happy Tweeting, and as Elmer Fudd said, you will find my posts on Twitter a “Wheel Tweet.”