9 Advanced Twitter Tips

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Over my last year on Twitter, I tweeted 9 tips that I realized were important and not discussed anywhere. They seemed to help a lot of people, so I figured I would put them in a blog post. These are not tips for beginners, I am going to be using terms like RT, Tweetdeck, Twitter Search, Friendfeed and others. If you do not know what I am talking about, read this first!

So here goes, here are 9 tips that will help you with your tweeting:

  1. Do NOT use ?&? in your Twitter profile: Twitter and ampersands do NOT get along for some reason. Take em out if u used em! I am not sure why this is but every time you use an ampersand in your bio, it is displayed all weird and kinda lowers the chances of someone following you. If someone could explain to me why this is, I would appreciate it.
  2. Search for Yourself: Wow, doesn?t that sound profound. Well, contrary to what a shrink would mean by the sentence ?search for yourself?, I mean it literally. Twitter has an API call limit of 150 calls an hour. Every time your Tweetdeck searches for replies, DMs, or tweets, it wastes a call. Use a search for your own name instead of a replies column in your Twitter client. Saves APIs and gives the same result! The only downside is that people with protected updates wont show up.
  3. Interact: If u follow someone, don?t expect them to follow back if you NEVER connect with em. Send them a @, whatya have to lose? Contrary to popular belief, Twitter is NOT about updating your status, you have Facebook for that. Twitter is about dialog, it is about social interaction. So if you want to maximize your Twitter experience, when following someone new, say hi.
  4. View Threads: Threads are not easy to follow on Twitter, but the best option is to click ?in reply to? under any tweet on the Web or in the new version of Tweetdeck. That way you can see what the tweet was a response to and put it in its correct context.
  5. Use Friendfeed: I never understood the whole Friendfeed craze but I recently discovered that it is a very good resource for searching for an old tweet. Twitter Search only goes back a few weeks, but Friendfeed allows you to find any old tweet. In fact, I found all these tips, which were tweeted months ago, using Friendfeed.
  6. 125 is the new 140: Talk about cryptic. What I mean is yes, Twitter allows you 140 characters but if you use them all up, you cannot be retweeted easily. After all, when someone retweets your tweet, they automatically need to add the characters RT@hilzfuld (or whatever your name is), which adds anywhere between 14-30 characters depending on your name. If you are sharing useful information on Twitter, leave room for a RT, if you are not, leave Twitter.
  7. Add a Period before your Tweets: I have to give credit where credit is due. A friend of mine offered this solution to a common problem on Twitter. Twitter now allows users to see a reply only if they are following both sides of the conversation. Some people might like this, as it reduces the noise, others, myself included, like to see who my friends are talking to. If you add a period before each reply, the tweet will not start with a @ but rather a . and will therefore not be considered a reply. If it is not a reply, all your followers can see it, enabling them to be introduced to the person you are talking to. Great tip Ahuva.
  8. RT, RT, RT: If and when you come across interesting content shared by one of the people you follow, do not forget to RT it for your followers. There are so many reasons to do this starting from the very essence of the Twitter etiquette, the added value you will give your followers, as well as the credit and reciprocity that you are giving the original person who tweeted the content.
  9. Use Groups: One of the most common questions asked about Twitter after ?why would I care?, is ?how do you follow so many tweets?? The answer is I don?t. That?s it! No, kidding. I follow over 3,000 people but really pay close attention to less than 200 people?s tweets. How do I do that? I create groups in my Twitter client that creates a column with only certain people?s tweets. So there is an ?All Tweets? column, which I rarely look at, a ?Primary? column, which I watch closely, a ?Hilzfuld Search? column, which I of course watch the closest, and a DM column as well. The problem with this is as time goes on, the ?Primary? column is starting to become over populated with people I interact with on a daily basis. Pretty soon, I might have to create a ?Primary Plus? column. Kidding, but that is the best way to effectively follow your Twitter stream.

There are many more useful tips that you should follow when tweeting, but these are some I collected from my time on Twitter. Perhaps this will be the first post in a series, who knows? Meanwhile, check out some articles on the basics of Twitter, why to tweet, things to watch out for, things you need to know before you start, and steps to take after.

LAST UPDATED 8/11/2009