Twitter allows you to network in two ways: first, it allows you to find individuals that you want to connect with and follow. Secondly, it allows other people to find and follow you. Using Twitter, you can find people with similar interests who will share links, information, and a network of other interesting people with you.
When you first sign-up on Twitter, your profile will look very empty. What you should do is to start by finding some people to follow and have a good collection of users later on. By looking through the profiles of friends, family, and other people who write on interesting topics, and people you find through Twitter search, in due time, you’ll have a solid Twitter network.
When joining, it’s very common to first add your close friends and family or at least the ones you personally know that already uses Twitter. In the initial stages, it’s helpful to get used to the service with a group of people that are close to you.
When most users join, they add their family and friends and keep up with only a few dozen users, at most. During this period, users often chat about daily activities and personal stuff, and they tend to read every single update that their friends post.
As users begin to follow more and more people, it becomes less important, and much more difficult, to track every single tweet. Instead, they focus on reading Twitter when they are able to, rather than reading everything.
Additionally, users begin to tweet on subjects more relevant to their followers’ interest; that is, they are more likely to share an interesting article than mention how they picked up their kids from soccer practice or trivial ones like one’s personal activities.
Finding Twitter Users You’re Interested In
With the popularity of Twitter, everyone seems to have a Twitter account. Go through your RSS feeds and the blogs you read ñ chances are, your favorite online writers also have Twitter accounts. The cool thing about following writers you already read is that they’ll refer you to new content sources on the topics you enjoy, since these writers will often link to articles and blogs that interest them.
Think of other authors, web users, bloggers, entrepreneurs, and business’ that you would be interested in keeping track of, and search for these people. Once you are following a group of Twitter users that you find interesting, take a break and use Twitter for a while. You can focus on learning the conduct and norms of Twitter at this time.
There are plenty of people who try to immediately jump on the Twitter bandwagon and follow thousands of people. Don’t be one of them. To experience the power of the service, you need to learn how to use it organically – not by just jumping in and befriending 10,000 people. People who jump into that often don’t understand the subtle rules of Twitter because they haven’t used it enough. Take your time and get used to the service.
Furthermore, here are a few online tools you can use to find Twitter users you might want to follow:
We Follow – Twitter directory and search
Twitterel – find Twitter users with related interests
Twitterholic – find top twitter users and stats
Just Tweet It – a Twitter user directory
Tweetmondo – search local Twitter users
Expanding Your Network
After adding your personal contacts, friends and family to your Twitter network, consider how to find more people worth following.
1. Find out who the people you are following have added themselves. Just like in Facebook, you looked through all of your friends’ friends in order to find people you knew. With Twitter, you can do the same thing to find people you might know or be interested in.
2. Look through the profiles of people you are interested in (authors, bloggers, etc.) and see who they are following. Popular Twitter users often follow people with the same ideas and interests as them. Read these people’s profiles and tweets to see if they are a good match for your network. If so, follow them!
3. Look at the people following the people you’re interested in. Often, the users following your friends will be interested in the same sort of stuff you are. Continue this process until you’re happy with your list of friends. By continually looking through the people following and being followed by your friends, you will find lots of potential Twitterers who can provide you with a great network.
4. Use Twitter Search to find people writing about topics you want to know about. Go to http://search.twitter.com and check out the search box. Search for what you want and get results. Itís more powerful than it looks at first: with Twitter Search, you can subscribe to the results of the search page and continually track who is saying what. The easiest way to track the results of the search page is by using RSS. Twitter Search is one of the coolest parts of Twitter.
5. Use a service like Twellow.com or JustTweetIt to search for other people in your area of interest. Twellow, the Twitter yellow pages, allows you to search Twitter by subject to find people who are interested in the same topics as you. For example, you can look up all users in the category ‘Vegetarian’ if you run a vegetarian food blog. JustTweetIt is a directory of Twitter users. By adding yourself to the directory, it will help others find you.
You can also use Twitter Search to subscribe to the results of specific searches. You can continually look up who is talking about specific topics. While this is very useful for creating conversations with people who are talking about your company, you can also use it to find people of the same interest.
A final service you may want to look at is CityTweets. This service lets you find people who live in your area. Using this site can help you make connections with potential customers in your area.
Lastly, check out the comments on TwiTip.com, where people submit lists of Twitter users who are experts in many specialties.
How do you know which users are worth following? The advice mentioned above will give you huge lists of people to follow, but that doesn’t mean you should follow all of them. For every potential follower, you should filter through their profile and decide if it is worth your time to follow them.
How do you know whether or not you should follow a specific user? Take a look at an average Twitter profile. The profile lists the user’s name, location, a short bio, and a collection of recent tweets. Whenever you find a potential person to follow, whether through Twitter Search or by looking through follower and following lists, you should take a look at a user’s profile and make sure that they will add value to your Twitter experience. Following too many Twitter users who aren’t interested will actually hurt your experience in a few ways.
If you add uninteresting Twitter users, you will receive boring updates and waste your time with uninteresting info because you have to filter through the irrelevant tweets. How do you know if a potential Twitter user is worth following? Take a look at his previous tweets. You don’t need to spend too much time on each individual profile (especially if you are trying to grow your network), but even a few seconds can help you differentiate between relevant and non-relevant users to follow.
What Makes Someone Worth Following?
People worth following are good twitterers who:
Post regularly. If a Twitter profile shows that the user hasn’t posted in 2 months, it’s likely that they are not using Twitter very much anymore. If they only post once every few days, they may not be contributing enough to make it worth your while.
Post interesting content. Look at the previous tweets on his or her profile. What does this user talk about? Do they tell you about every little thing they are doing? Unless it’s a member of your family or a close friend, you probably don’t care what they ate for breakfast or where they are going tonight. However, if the user writes about topics you are interested in, posts links relevant to you, and makes you want to read more, they could be worth following.
Reply to followers. See if there are any replies to other Twitter users on the user’s profile page. These replies begin with ‘@someotheruser’. Does this user help their followers? Does he or she provide good and clear responses to user questions? By seeing how the user interacts with others, you’ll get a good sense of how they will interact with you.
By filtering through your potential Twitter contacts, you’ll find people who are actually worth following. Don’t waste your time with those who post boring or irrelevant content, and who don’t respond to their network. They aren’t worth your time. Bear in mind that those who post great quality content but only infrequently are fine to follow, as when they do pop up they might deliver some really great thoughts and links.