Twitter has been in the media recently. Not just the expected online and print sources, but often in local news segments. Local news anchors now use Twitter to talk about upcoming stories and breaking news.
What is Twitter?
This is the big question, isn’t it? For those not familiar with Twitter, it was created to let anyone answer the question: “What are you doing?” Your answer has to be no longer than 140 characters and can be seen by anyone viewing your profile, following you, or privately if you send a direct message.
So, Why is Twitter Such a Big Deal?
Twitter has captivated geeks and non-geeks alike because of the following reasons:
- Unlike email, messages are short
- Messages can be sent and received from just about anywhere, including: the web, a special Twitter client, or from your phone using SMS text messages
- Conversations are public (by default), so anyone can listen in or contribute to a discussion
So, what does this have to do with your next idea?
Twitter is interesting for those launching an idea because:
- It is realtime - there is only a limited delay between when a message (“tweet”) is written and when it is read by others
- It is interactive - people can talk back, giving you a chance to improve your idea or provide feedback quickly
- It is trackable - it is an easy way to find out who mentioned you by using Twitter Search
- It is tribal - you can find like-minded people that may be good testers, consumers, advisors, and marketers
- It is viral - people can “retweet” (RT), which simply means that they can share your message with their networks, and so on, allowing your message to take off if it is interesting enough
The biggest downside is that users with more than a few dozen friends can get overwhelmed trying to keep up with what everyone has to say. So, your tweets may get lost in the masses. Twitter Search helps, but it can miss some of the important content since it only indexes your tweets, not the content of the links from those tweets.
An recent article on TwitTown is now telling us about some interesting improvements to Twitter’s search capabilities:
Until now, Twitter’s realtime search feature has been limited to Tweets themselves; the content of each Tweet is indexed and searchable through Twitter’s search engine. That, Jayaram says, is going to change – at an unspecified point in the near future, Twitter will begin crawling and indexing content linked from Tweets, not just the tweets themselves anymore.
What does this mean? It means that not only will your 140 character tweets be searchable, but so will the content linked from your tweets. This means that the long-term impact of a tweet is greater than it is used to be.
Here is a simple approach to getting started on Twitter, so that you can become comfortable with it to take advantage of it today as well as when this new search feature comes out:
- Create a Twitter account
- Start writing with an attitude of giving back, rather than saying silly stuff. Write things that help people
- Find like-minded people to follow. Use Twitter search to find people talking about the same things you like. If they like what you have to say, they’ll follow you back
- Listen and contribute to what people are saying. Retweet good tweets, tweets with links to good content, etc.
- Share your blog posts using TwitterFeed to extend what you have to say to those following you