Twitter Insights

twitter bird with pcI am often asked why people use Twitter.  Even prominent business people (nevermind my entire extended family) say, “I don’t get it.”   I also frequent encounter the favorite throw away comment from people that don’t WANT to get it, “why do I need to log in to Twitter to see whether you ate a peanut butter sandwich for lunch.”  Come on.

Below are some thoughts on Twitter.  While I start with the “basics” I think they’re generally valuable for people that are knowledgable about Twitter.  But I put the more advanced topics in the Twitter 201 section.  Click any of the links to see the full posts.  If you see a topic with no link I haven’t written the post yet.  If you want me to prioritize it please just leave a comment and I will.  Thank you.

Twitter 101 Topics

Twitter is a way to follow news (like RSS).  You can subscribe to your favorite news sources (e.g. NY Times, TechCrunch) and get real-time updates when they publish new stories.  You don’t have to publish what you ate for lunch – you can just read the news in real time.

Twitter is IM (and text messaging) – Just like IM tools AIM, Google Talk or Skype, Twitter is inherently an instant messaging tool.  To understand how it differs and why you should care at all about IM read this post.

How to get (the right) people on Twitter to follow you – Twitter is all about becoming part of the conversation.  But as of July 2009 it’s quite hard to get the people you want to read your Tweets to actually follow you.  This post talks about some practical strategies for getting “the right” people to follow you.

The read power of Twitter is link sharing – People often comment that Twitter can’t be useful because it’s only 140 characaters.  What these people don’t realize is that the real power of Twitter comes from people including links in their Tweets to other articles, photos, videos, etc.  This post discusses the power of Link Sharing on Twitter.

Understanding the @ command in Twitter – It’s not as straightforward as you might think. 4 basic tips, 2 more advanced tips.

Making it easier for people to search for you on Twitter – Many people list their Twitter handle rather than their real name on Twitter.  This makes it very difficult to search for you as this post explains.

Twitter is real time

Twitter can create encounters

Twitter can be location specific

Twitter 201 Topics

5 Steps Businesses Must Take to Monitor the Twitter conversation – People are talking about your brand online.  You need to know who is speaking, what their authority is and whether they’re talking positively or negatively about you.  You must then take action.

Twitter observations: Asymetry, How many followers should one have? – Plaxo, Friendster, MySpace and then Facebook all had two common themes that have been shattered by Twitter.  The first is the idea that when you want to follow somebody is they say “yes” then it is a two-way relationship.  The second assumption in social networks was that most people want their information to be private.  This post talks about many things but primarily the advantages of asyemtry has given Twitter.

Did Twitter Kill the Blogger Star? – Twitter was popularized in 2007 as a “micro blogging” service made popular by the frequent use of people like Robert Scoble and Michael Arrington.  It drove people like Robert and Shel Israel to start Tweeting rather than writing long blog posts.  So has Twitter killed blogging?  I would argue that the opposite is the case.

Twitter will become advertising (CPM, CPL)

But why doens’t Twitter make money?

Twitter must fight porn

Twitter much fight spam (or @ becomes useless)

Twitter has DM link spam (but so to did blogs and we cleaned that up)

p.s. If you read this far, bravo.  You don’t have ADD like I do.  I can’t finish lists.  You might also note that I’m starting a new series even though I didn’t finish the series on “Pitching a VC.”   I promise to.  My ADD requires me to wander around.  If you’re still reading you probably don’t have ADD but if you want to know more about it check out here for the best book I’ve seen on the topic.

15 Responses to Twitter Insights

  1. […] But I hope to help more people – even many prominent people I talk with – get it.  Here  is the link to the whole outline that I’m calling Twitter 101.  This is the first post in the […]

  2. […] This is the second posting in a series I’m calling Twitter 101 for all those that say “I don’t get it?”  The first post is here and if you want to see the outline it’s here. […]

  3. […] This is the third posting in a series I’m calling Twitter 101 for all those that say “I don’t get it?”  The Twitter 101 outline it’s here. […]

  4. […] This is the fourth posting in a series I’m calling Twitter 101 for all those that say “I don’t get it?”  The Twitter 101 outline it’s here. […]

  5. Mike says:

    You are helping me understand more about twitter. Being someone from the young generation (24), I never even related it to IM’s or SMS. I thought that in 140 characters or less you could never get anything of importance out.

  6. Mark, you are too funny. And very wise and well spoken to boot. Many of your suggestions have legs far outside the VC community.

    I just found you thru Tim Barker (another special person and colleague from our PenOp days) this AM and will stick around for more, including your lists – complete or otherwise. Thanks.

    • marksuster says:

      Ha. Thank you Melinda. I was born a bit cheeky but living in the UK for 10 years reinforced it. BTW, I also worked with Tim for years across 3 companies: BuildOnline, Koral and then Salesforce.com. He’s a good friend and a great product manager.

  7. […] A useful description can be found at twitter 101 […]

  8. […] use the Twitter @ sign – even amongst daily Twitter users.  So as part of my ongoing series Twitter Insights, I wanted to cover how the @ actually works (even experienced users may be surprised by some of the […]

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