How To Use Twitter - Live Chat recap

On April 26 at 11 a.m., ChicagoNow held a live chat using Cover It Live. The premise was simple: Several ChicagoNow bloggers who are experienced using Twitter took questions from other CN bloggers who are just getting started using the social media platform.

Below is a slightly modified transcript of the chat, which can be read in its entirety right here. The CN bloggers who served as expert panelists include tedgruber, AnalyticalDiva, kiki416, LucyALloyd, exavierpope, chimomwriter, JenChicago, ree_i, JulieDiCaro and bethrago.

First question: Why do you use Twitter?

Ted Gruber:
I use Twitter because I think it's the easiest way to get information out there and the quickest way to get information you are looking for. You don't have to click through multiple pages, to find it.

ChiMomWriter:
I use Twitter because it's been the by far the best way to find/reach new readers. It's my highest referral rate after Facebook. It's also how I find new blogs to read and also how I keep up on current events throughout the day (by following news sources and hashtags)

ree_i:
Twitter is a great way to connect, in a nut-shell. The options are unlimited and I use it mostly to network and build up my personal brand. In this digital era, followers and online "klout" translate to street cred for work and beyond.

Christina (Kiki416):
I use Twitter to know what's going on. I follow some pretty key people within journalism, Latino circles and diabetes circles, as well as news media. I like to know what's going on and follow people who have similar interests as me.

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
I use Twitter as a place to learn, to keep on top of the latest news and best commentaries- @JulieDiCaro is a great example, as her tweets about the Cubs are always witty and informative- and to engage with other people who share similar interests. And, yes, to promote my work.

Christina (Kiki416):
In addition, I've made some pretty awesome friends via Twitter.

@JulieDiCaro:
Twitter is fast, it moves, it entertains me, and it satisfies my ADD issues. It's also the best way to get breaking news on almost anything, including the Chicago Cubs. If you're a sports fan, Twitter really is the World's Largest Sports Bar.

Christina (Kiki416):
I would have to agree with Julie. There are times I get up to the minute scores on twitter faster than searching for it online.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
I started to use Twitter to spread the word about my blog, but found it to be a fantastic way to network with people. I agree with Julie when she says I like it b/c it's fast!

Ted Gruber:
And Breaking News usually hits Twitter way before any other place.

JenChicago:
I use Twitter because it has a different audience. I'd say a more intellectual/learning/business focused group of people (than FB) that like to read and aren't to lazy to click a link.

expostsfacto:
I use Twitter as a mechanism to spread my message of love, positivity, and expecting the very best today! I also use it to spread my expertise of sports, sports business and law, business in general, and share stories related to my profession.

ree_i:
Most news breaks on Twitter and other online-platforms these days so it's also a great way to consume the latest news, trends, etc. It's been instrumental in many campaigns and other movements, as it is simple and has a large reach.
11:02

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
Twitter is the best place to gather information and learn. And, yes, to promote your work.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
It's a great place to listen to what people are talking about and in turn, you can get some great ideas for future blog posts.

expostsfacto:
I also keep up to date on news and happenings of the world, read shared articles, and follow great people. It's a great networking tool. You NEED a twitter strategy if you are using it for networking. I've meet some of the most influential people in the world through Twitter.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
I agree with @bethrago. Some great inspiration from Twitter. Also fabulous for news trends and finding out who the "shakers" are in what you write about.

NEW QUESTION FROM PAM SPANO: How do I find out the meaning of a hashtag? Or should I just ask someone who's using it?

Christina (Kiki416):
Asking is a great way to start a conversation. I also have googled hashtags.

Ted Gruber:
For the hashtags people sometime make up their own but another good site I found is http://tagdef.com/ if you are looking for meanings.

ChiMomWriter:
You can google a hashtag or do a search of it on Twitter so you can see what other comments were to give context. I agree with Christina - it's a good convo starter.

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
If you click on the hashtag it will open a stream of all tweets with that hashtag. That will usually make it self-evident.

Christina (Kiki416):
I have people asking me all the time what hashtags mean. I don't know how many times I've had to explain #FF!

ree_i:
Hashtags are intended for use so that you can follow a certain topic by clicking on it. I.e. If I were tweeting about a Hawks game, I could hashtag it #Hawks and click on it to jump to anyone else who is talking about the game/Hawks as well.

JenChicago:
And #hashtags are a great conversation starter

ChiMomWriter:
Not all hashtags are for topics. Some are additions to comments as well. Like, "My kid is a mess today. #ShouldHaveStayedInBed

Ted Gruber:
Hashtags are a great thing to use when you are posting tweets because it helps you interact with others. Many people search hashtags to find similar topics and really help you increase your follower count in the long run.

ree_i:
Sometimes people use hashtags to convey the context or undertones of whatever they are tweeting about. "I just ate sardines #random" or "my pants just ripped #awkward"

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
Hashtags are also used as a way to make a point, for example, using the hashtag #sarcasm after a dry comment.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
And if you're lucky, hashtags like @ChiMomWriter's become way popular!

JenChicago:
@ChiMomWriter Good point. Sometimes is for poetic license.

Christina (Kiki416):
@ree_i there are many different versions of hashtags though. For example, #togs. I didn't know it was short for photographers. While many people still use #photography #photos #photogs, there are a select few who do use #togs. Depends on the circle you want to get into,

expostsfacto:
#hashtags are used by businesses, non profits, and other movements to help with shared information on a particular topic. I.E. conferences, chats, or a particular event. We actually could have had this chat on twitter if we decided to create a hashtag, say #CNTweetChat

NEW QUESTION FROM BILL GAUL: Is there a way to aggregate your "following" into groups for viewing mode? In other words could I group politics, news, sports, etc. and view those tweets at once?

Ted Gruber:
Bill with TweetDeck you can do that very easily. I have grouped UFC fighters and hockey people into their own groups.

Christina (Kiki416):
Bill: LISTS!
Lists will be your best friends. You can title them and throw the people you follow into them so you can divide them into topics.

JenChicago:
Yes- they are called lists on Twitter. Start with one.

ChiMomWriter:
When you start using twitter, start making lists RIGHT AWAY. It makes it so much easier than trying to go back and create them later. You can create lists by topic, geography, etc. Then, you can use an app like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to open various hashtags

ree_i:
Yes, you can create "Lists" to group special interests. They can be public or private.

Ted Gruber:
Errr lists. They are great for organizing each person you follow.

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
Bill, absolutely. And as you follow more and more people, you need to group them into lists. Otherwise, it can get overwhelming.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
To answer Bill's question, yes there are. You can use the "List" function. In native Twitter and in the upper right corner go to lists

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
For example, all ChicagoNow bloggers are on this list: https://twitter.com/#!/ChicagoNow/chicagonow/members. You can do that for any group you want.

ChiMomWriter:
You can also choose to follow someone's list as well, which makes it easier to find people with your interests. Jimmy has a list of ChicagoNow bloggers. You can click to follow that rather than each individual person.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
Then you will see a button to create a list. You can search for people that share your interest, aggregate a list of names and so forth. There are also Twitter directories online that help

Christina (Kiki416):
I agree with ChiMom. I don't use lists right now, but I have a few. I learned about them way too late in the game. Now, I just know off the top of my head who tweets what. That's how you know I'm a twitter nerd.

@JulieDiCaro:
I've abandoned lists, because I created them all the time, but never used them.

ChiMomWriter:
You can place people on multiple lists. Christina, for example, would be on my list of ChiNow bloggers and also on one that is simply midwest bloggers.

Christina (Kiki416):
@ChiMom: I know how to use them, I just don't. I have so many people I follow it would take a whole day to do!

expostsfacto:
@Julie: You can keep up by following a large amount of people if you create lists based on interests.

NEW QUESTION FROM CANDID CANDACE: If you could pick the most important thing to do on Twitter, what would it be?

Christina (Kiki416):
RELATIONSHIP BUILDING!

ree_i:
The most important thing is engagement.

JenChicago:
listen and respond.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
The most important thing on twitter is to "stop proclaiming and start conversing".

ChiMomWriter:
Most important thing - engagement. If you drop links and leave, you'll get very little out of it.

@JulieDiCaro:
Share other people's content. It's how you get people to a) follow you and b) share your content.

Ted Gruber:
Interaction with other people from all over the world.

ree_i:
Depends on what your objective for using Twitter is though, of course.

ChiMomWriter:
Good point, ree_i. But if you want to build an audience there, you have to take the time to talk to people.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
Don't tweet just anything. I would not retweet (RT) anything unless I am proud to refer it to a friend.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
Candice, I agree with @Kiki416! RELATIONSHIPS!

ree_i:
Yes, definitely. No one likes a "Broadcaster" You must socialize. That's why it's called SOCIAL media.

expostsfacto:
Candice: The most important thing to do on Twitter is to "establish your voice". Going after followers is weak and fake. You have to spread "YOU" on twitter and eventually the followers will come.

Christina (Kiki416):
There have been social media experts who have pushed and promoted relationship building, aka engagement and conversation. When you build relationships, you're creating your own community on Twitter, making it a place where you can trust your followers and they trust you with whatever kind of content you're putting out there.

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
I retweet other people's tweets a lot- I have diverse interests and I've picked up many new followers by doing that. Of course, that's just another form of engagement. BUT- you shouldn't just retweet. It's importatant to engage in the conversation.

NEW QUESTION FROM CHRISTINE WOLF: I'm 44 and just coming to understand Twitter. How can I keep track of the constant flow of Tweets that show up on my iPhone, especially when I'm in the middle of doing other things?

Ted Gruber:
The interaction is key. I see a lot of other Twitter accounts just post news and their thoughts but never respond to people. Opinions are good

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
When I tweet, I want people to see me as a reputable source of information.

Christina (Kiki416):
Christine: Make time for Twitter. Don't let it rule you.

Ted Gruber:
You can click on a persons name if you are interested and see what Tweets you may have missed.

JenChicago:
@Christine Do not even try. :) Twitter is a river. You will make yourself crazy if you try to keep up all the time. Make sure you responds to the people who talked to you while you were away and you should be good.

expostsfacto:
Another important thing to do is to "jump into the conversation"...find hashtags or twitter chats you find interesting and engage in them. You'll be surprised how many followers you get who share the same interests.

@JulieDiCaro:
Christine--you probably can't keep up unless you follow a small number of people. Don't think of Twitter like Facebook, where you want to read everyone's post. Think of it more like a constant stream. You jump in and jump out as you have time.

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
Christine, I love your question! I'm also 44 and after being on Twitter for several years I've learned that Twitter will be there when you have time for it-- not the other way around.

Christina (Kiki416):
People understand that you have a life and Twitter is there for YOUR convenience. That's the nice thing about it. Unlike phone calls and texts, even chats, you don't have to respond right away.

ChiMomWriter:
Christine: That's part of the reason why lists help me. I can look at one particular list rather than just an overwhelming flow.

ree_i:
You don't have to be on Twitter all the time. And if there are specific accounts you are keeping tabs on, you can go into settings and have a notification sent to you when they make posts. You can also Star tweets as favourites to read later.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
Christine -- There are things you can do if there is a topic you are especially into (this works well for news). If there is a topic you want to stay on top of, set up your app to receive periodic alerts. Then you can scan the stream. The beauty is the content is that Twitter is brief -- you scan and join when you can.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
Christine, start with 15 minutes in the morning, afternoon and night until you get in the groove and find people you feel are worth following.

expostsfacto:
If you are using Twitter to following an interesting topic, you can set searches in Twitter applications TweetDeck and HootSuite.

Christina (Kiki416):
I have an eye on 6 different Twitter accounts. I would go crazy if I didn't know how to manage it. Most of the time, I'm on Tweet deck. My phone only carries 3 of the 6.

ChiMomWriter:
I try to pay attention to when different people are generally online. First thing in the morning is a good time for me to sit down with Twitter, and so is post-bedtime for the kids. There's also a big surge around 10pm our time when west coasters hop on more. You can find trends and set times for yourself accordingly.

ChiMomWriter:
That's great advice - Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
Christine, start with 15 minutes in the morning, afternoon and night until you get in the groove and find people you feel are worth following.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
If you have a phone, that's the best access to Twitter, though, too. I read to and from work.

FOLLOW UP: Please list the apps you prefer for your smart phones.

Ted Gruber:
I use Echofon and sometimes Ubersocial.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
I use Tweetbot for my phone...

ChiMomWriter:
I like HootSuite, although I often just look at the Twitter app on my phone.

expostsfacto:
For smart phones, I use UberSocial, which sends my tweets to Facebook and Twitter.

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
I use the regular Twitter app for my Droid. I'm old school (!) in that, I think. It's fast and easy.

@JulieDiCaro:
I use Twitter's app for my Android phone. The others were all too buggy.

ree_i:
On my iPhone I like the Twitter for iPhone App. I tried Echofon but find it a little cluttered for my taste.

JenChicago:
sproutsocial is so clean and user-friendly!

expostsfacto:
Hootsuite has a mobile app but it does not work as well.

Christina (Kiki416):
I use the Twitter App for Android. I used to use Ubersocial and Twitdroyd but they stalled a bit. When the Twitter App started allowing multiple accounts, that's when I stuck with it.

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
I use UberSocial for Blackberry. Only issue it's hard to toggle between my account and the other one I manage.

expostsfacto:
UberSocial has improved with its performance on multiple accounts with the latest upgrade on BlackBerry. If you don't have it you should update.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
For Android, I use Tweetcaster Pro -- works really well! When I had Blackberry I used UberSocial

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
Tweetcaster Pro also lets me link to multiple accounts on my Android. It has a small fee but worth it

NEW QUESTION FROM GUEST:Should bloggers/writers aim to use twitter for random thoughts and banter or for meaningful 160-character thoughts on newsworthy events? Both?

Ted Gruber:
It's your Account nobody else's. Tweet what you want to talk about.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
I would say use Twitter to define your own voice in the social space. And if it's news and random blatherings, then I would.

Christina (Kiki416):
I agree with Ted. Brand yourself and your twitter account. You can write about anything you wish.

ree_i:
Yes, Bloggers should use Twitter for both. People are there for your content, but it doesn't hurt to show you have a personality to set you apart from the pack!

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
You can gather the coolest followers and friends from random Tweets.

ChiMomWriter:
I'd say use it for both. Random banter can get a conversation started and as you build relationships, it helps people get to know you.

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
Both. I like to read what others are thinking about current events, and it makes it more personable- here's that engage the reader part- when there are bits and pieces of their lives in their tweets.

Christina (Kiki416):
I write about anything and everything.

JenChicago:
That's your call. How much edge do you want? The greater the risk in being honest and authentic, sometimes the greater the reward- or it could backfire a little. But I'm a fan of sass and personality...

ree_i:
The beauty of Twitter is, it is what you make of it. There is no right answer.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
I agree with @AnalyticalDiva. Make Twitter your own. Be yourself but only go so far with self promotion. Listen to your followers. RT other people - A LOT.

@JulieDiCaro:
People don't follow your posts on Twitter, they follow YOU. Talk about yourself. No one wants to read a series of link dumps for your blog. I talk about my life all day long. Narcissistic? Of course--I just try to make it interesting.

Christina (Kiki416):
I agree with Julie!

expostsfacto:
I agree with @JulieDiCaro. It has to be a mix of self personal and professional.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
YES @JulieDiCaro.

Ted Gruber:
Exactly Julie if I tweeted about hockey and UFC all day people would think I'm a robot. Be yourself.

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
If all a Twitter account does is self-promote, I unfollow it.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
Ditto, @JulieDiCaro!

ChiMomWriter:
I'm with Lucy.

Christina (Kiki416):
I agree with @Lucy. Don't be afraid to Unfollow

expostsfacto:
That's what I call "finding your voice" on Twiter.

ChiMomWriter:
And along the lines of unfollowing, just because someone follows you does NOT mean you have to automatically follow them. It'll just clutter up your feed.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
YES @ChiMomWriter!

Ted Gruber:
Exactly don't feel the need to follow somebody because they follow you.

NEW QUESTION: What are the positives and negatives of having your account private on Twitter? Do you ever follow anyone whose tweets are protected?

expostsfacto:
If you are going to protect your accounts and blog, there is no purpose for being on Twitter.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
Having your account private on Twitter is absolutely useless in my mind. I see no point to it.

Ted Gruber:
Agreed with Beth. Making your account Private is only talking to your followers. It's like the Truman show on Twitter.

ChiMomWriter:
I see private accounts on Twitter being more for people who want to read but not necessarily engage. I'd follow someone with a private feed, but it'd be a lot harder for a person to build a following that way.

@JulieDiCaro:
I agree. Private accounts are pointless. I don't want to follow anyone badly enough to feel the need to be "approved."

NEW QUESTION FROM EDYE: I want to know how to "up" my followers

JenChicago:
Be interesting :)

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
I keep my Facebook extremely private. Twitter is for the masses. That's the whole POINT of Twitter.

expostsfacto:
You can't even Retweet a private person!!!! #lame

ChiMomWriter:
Edye - Put in the time. Talk to people.

@JulieDiCaro:
The best way to get more followers is to be interesting and not to worry about your followers. I don't. It's just a number, not praise on how you live your life.

expostsfacto:
There's a use of a hashtag by the way...#sarcasm

JenChicago:
Talk to lots of people. And when they see you care- they will care. As fast as you can spread the love...

Ted Gruber:
Up your followers? Well stay interactive Tweet as much as you can and if you get a reply from a person and not a spam bot Tweet them back.

Christina (Kiki416):
Quality over quantity. Make sure your followers are engaged.

ree_i:
Content is king. Be interesting and they will come.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
In order to up your followers you need to put in the time and energy in gaining people's TRUST. People will start to share your valuable tweets and write about you and spread the word for you! This has happened to me several times!

expostsfacto:
The best way to build your followers is to be active. If I see that someone only post once every 3 days or a week or even a month, I don't follow them.

Ted Gruber:
The sad part is some people spend money on their Twitter followers. Yes you can buy your followers but there is no point in that at all. Like Julie said who cares how many followers you have.

Ted Gruber:
If you write something great and you Tweet it out there it can be RT'd so many times no matter if those people are following you or not.

ChiMomWriter:
Seek out regular twitter parties that interest you. There's a chicago based on on Wednesday nights called #BBBRadio - that one focuses on social media, etc. Or there's #wineparty on Fri nights. When you show up at the same events continually, it's a good way to keep connecting with people and gain followers.

NEW QUESTION FROM CHICAGOADVNTRE: My question is: How do I send my blog posts to my Twitter followers without being cheesy, annoying, or too much like Im selling something, ad like?

@JulieDiCaro:
Most people who are considered to be "influencers" on Twitter (whatever that means) tweet an average of 29 times a day. Don't tweet too much ( I probably do), don't tweet too little.

expostsfacto:
If you have been authentic tweeting, retweeting, and sharing yourself and your voice, people will WANT to see your blog. I probably tweet at least 30-50 times a day...

ree_i:
My personal approach is to be conversational about it. I try to make if fun and enticing to click on my link. Some people post their article's title which is cool too. Just depends on your personality I guess.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
Completely agree with expostsfacto. If your tweets are interesting and of value, they will love to click on your links and RT your info.

@JulieDiCaro:
Everyone on Twitter is selling something. There's a fair amount of self-promotion in using Twitter. If you don't feel like you're being obnoxious, you probably aren't selling yourself hard enough. I think people go into Twitter expecting people to pimp their blogs and services. Don't worry about it.

ChiMomWriter:
I just throw my links out there. I try to vary the phrasing during the day, but the people following me know they're going to see my new posts on there. I like getting links from the people I follow - I follow them because I like what they write. If you engage outside of your links, you're all good.

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
It's as simple as having an engaging lede and then adding on the link. Your followers will read it if it interests them. That's not cheesy at all. (And I know I tweet too much during Blackhawks games.)

ChiMomWriter:
A good rule is not to promote a post more than 3-4 times. Morning, afternoon, night.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
The best time for me to check is early in the am and lounging late at night.

Ted Gruber:
Like with my blog I tweet the link out twice a day when I post a new one. Just in case people miss it the first time I tweet it again.

expostsfacto:
As far as blog posts, using TweetDeck & HootSuite, I schedule my blog posts at times of the day people are most active on Twitter over the course of a couple of days and phase out a few days later.

JenChicago:
That's what we are all here for- promotion of ourselves. I am overcoming the fear of self-promotion myself (not so much for my posts as for my video services) but that's what all the blood, sweat and tweets are for... to have people that want you to succeed. You have put in "credit" with by giving them something valuable. If you have done your job- they are happy to support you and your post promotion tweets.

@JulieDiCaro:
You have to remember, not everyone will see your link the first time you tweet it out. I do it a couple of times per link.

expostsfacto:
Using Twitter to manually to send your blog posts can be cumbersome for a busy person. I sit down in HootSuite and schedule all of my blog posts to Twitter at once and am down with it in a few minutes.

NEW QUESTION: I have always had difficulty staying engaged with twitter (in part because I defer to Facebook when I have a random thought). Tweeting seems less authentic for some reason...like I have to pause and think, "oh that was witty...let me tweet it too!" How do I overcome this?

@JulieDiCaro:
Twitter is completely different than Facebook. If LinkedIn is work . . Facebook is a neighborhood BBQ and Twitter is Happy Hour.

ChiMomWriter:
Guest: It really comes down to where you're comfortable. It took me quite a while to get comfortable on Twitter. Because I engage with a lot of other bloggers, getting on to their sites and knowing more about them outside of Twitter helped make the conversation come easier.

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
I used to read witty tweets and think I wasn't funny enough for Twitter. You don't need to be funny; you need to be authentic. Be yourself.

ree_i:
Just trial and error. You will get used to it. I've grown to prefer Twitter over Facebook as there's less pressure. It;s whatever you want it to be. You don't HAVE to be witty all the time. You don't HAVE to be any certain way in fact...that's another great thing about it.

@JulieDiCaro:
But, I tend to think that random thoughts, like "Having a real job is hard." Are more appropriate to Twitter.

JenChicago:
Ha! My friends KNOW I will pause a conversation to tweet something. If you tag them in the tweet- they are usually ok with the interruption. Gotta run with the inspiration. But not on a date. We hate that.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
I see Twitter like a coffee clutch get-together with a whole bunch of friends. I always think, "What would we talk about face to face around a table?"

ChiMomWriter:
I read an blog post recently about the best way to get your tweets to be answered. It was something along the lines of "tweet about coffee, wine or bacon."

NEW QUESTION FROM TRACY STANCIEL: Is it possible to tweet someone specifically without it showing up on your tweets

ree_i:
No, unless you Direct Message them.

Ted Gruber:
Not that I know of Tracy. The only way you can talk to that person is if you DM them

ChiMomWriter:
Tracy: Direct message - but you have to both be following each other.

expostsfacto:
Tracy, you can tweet someone specifically by DM'ing them, or Direct Messaging them. They have to follow you to do so. It doesn't have to be the other way around though. For example I have tweeted something interesting to a public figure that they did not want to share with the public and they have DM'd me a response.

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
Only by DM. However, if you use the username to start a tweet that tweet will only be seen by your followers who also follow that user. That's why you'll sometimes see a period in front of a tweet. As in .@jcgreenx

NEW QUESTION: Should you set up different twitter handles if you write for two blogs with two TOTALLY different audiences?

JenChicago:
yep

@JulieDiCaro:
Disagree.

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
OK, let's hear the pros and cons.

Ted Gruber:
I do. I have one for my hockey account and one for my mma and everyday use account.

Christina (Kiki416):
It depends. I have one for EVERYTHING under the sun and the other for specific diabetes talk.

ree_i:
You could. It's not completely necessary though.

@JulieDiCaro:
I think it goes back to following YOU, not your posts. I used to have separate accounts for personal/blogging. I eventually combined them because people complained.

Christina (Kiki416):
But people know that @kiki416 also mentions diabetes.

Ted Gruber:
I got a lot of feedback I tweeted too much on MMA and random stuff instead of just hockey chat.

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
I have a TribLocal audience and I've gotten some of them over to ChicagoNow. I think you are a total package and can integrate all your blogs into one feed.

expostsfacto:
I think personal branding needs to be consistent. One handle under your real name or psuedonym. The best brand you have is you.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
I think it comes down to your voice on each account. If your voice is different, then I would have more than one account.

ChiMomWriter:
Depends on how much time you have. I have two accounts but I basically never use my one blog specific one. I have ChiMomWriter because I can engage regarding all 3 of the places I write and also just chat as myself. I had a hard time trying to be two different accounts. Build_character is a link graveyard.

@JulieDiCaro:
AGREE with expostsfacto

Ted Gruber:
I think it's more personal preference than anything.

JenChicago:
i have a few handles because i am so passionate about so many things- i don't think it's fair to assume they share ALL my interests. just because you love chicago doesn't mean you wanna to hear about my dog ALL the time. so he has an account. i want a travel show, so i CONSTANTLY talk about travel and i think my chicago audience would be like "enough w the travel- go already!"

expostsfacto:
I remind my followers all of the time I am a PERSON, so I have multiple interests, and I will tweet what they are to remind them I speak in different voices.

ree_i:
I personally only use one Twitter handle for everything. Hockey Blog, Music corresponding, my real life, and misc. I think it's good to mix it up.

expostsfacto:
My law firm has a different twitter handle because it is a business and has its own voice.

NEW QUESTION From MaryTyler Mom: I am just starting and with my facebook audience already established, could start big, but want to hang out a bit first and learn. Sound good?

ChiMomWriter:
MaryTylerMom - You're never going to lose by taking your time to see how it works best for you.
11:35

Christina (Kiki416):
Yes. First step of getting on Twitter is reading and "listening."

ree_i:
Yes it does sound good to hang out and observe first. Learn your audience, play with Twitter a bit and figure out what works for you.
11:36

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
MTM-ask questions and let people know you are new to Twitter.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
@MaryTyler Mom: I think you have to do what works for you. But, it's important to note that just doing it will work wonders in how quickly you learn the platform.

NEW QUESTION FROM JOE GRACE: What's the best way to correct a grammar mistake on Twitter. Delete the post and write it again or write a quick follow-up correction and leave the original post?

Ted Gruber:
I usually delete the post and fix it if I catch it right away.

ChiMomWriter:
MTM - You could set up an application like Tweetdeck and have your FB posts go directly to twitter as well. You do a lot of great banter throughout the day, and there's no reason why you'd need to duplicate effort.

Christina (Kiki416):
DELETE and resend.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
I delete and repost.

ChiMomWriter:
Delete and resend.

expostsfacto:
I say just delete the post and correct the mistake...but only if it is right away...if it has been there for a while it's in Twitterspace...unless the mistake conveys the wrong message.

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
Joe, I usually let it stand if it is a simple error and write a corrective tweet. If the tweet is completely incomprehensible, I delete it and repost.

ree_i:
I do a quick delete/correct most of the time, but sometimes just a quick follow-up "oops" tweet works

@JulieDiCaro:
Most people on Twitter are used to typos. It's not ideal, but I don't see the need to constantly delete and report. Everyone screws up their tweets.

NEW QUESTION FROM EDYE: I have three Twitter sites and afraid to do a forth. How do I merge them?

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
Edye, you can't merge followers that I know of.

Christina (Kiki416):
TweetDeck! I have 6.

@JulieDiCaro:
PIck one and tell all your followers on the other account to go over there.

ree_i:
There is unfortunately no quick solution to "merge". You will have to rebuild.

Ted Gruber:
You can't. Best you can do is tell your followers to follow one account.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
Agree with @JulieDicaro

expostsfacto:
Agree with Julie.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
And Ted.

ChiMomWriter:
You can change your profile on the one you wan to "kill off" telling them to follow your other account.

NEW QUESTION FROM Christine Wolf: Since Twitter's a river of info, does it make sense to post the same message multiple times (in a variety of ways) to make sure people see my message, or is that poor form?

@JulieDiCaro:
Not poor form if you're reasonable about it. Just don't over do it.

Ted Gruber:
I think it's overkill if you do that. 2 or 3 times is fine but anything over will be too much.

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
I'm with Julie and Ted. Be reasonable.

Christina (Kiki416):
Right. There's nothing like seeing the same tweet 6 times in an hour.

expostsfacto:
If it is for your blog post, yes, but it is just a random tweet, I really don't see the purpose....it sounds phony.

ChiMomWriter:
Christine: It's definitely acceptable to post multiple times to catch different crowds. 3-4xs is generally the max.

@JulieDiCaro:
Agree with Ted.

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
And as long as you're also sharing other information, RTing others and being a good friend to others. Don't make it just about you.

ree_i:
Ya don't flood people. I cannot tell you the amount of users I've unfollowed because they keep sending out the same thing in a short span of time. It gets a little irritating in large doses.

expostsfacto:
Agree with Jimmy.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
I think it's fine to repost, but mix the post up a little. I DO NOT think that it is wise to have the same posts on Twitter AND Facebook!!!!

@JulieDiCaro:
Eh . . I do that all the time, Elizabeth.

expostsfacto:
The exception would be promoting something you are doing that is getting ready to happen...i.e. hosting a #twitterchat

NEW QUESTION FROM Carole: Is it good to stick to the same time frames to tweet everyday or is it ok to tweet whenever?

Ted Gruber:
Tweet whenever you want to Tweet. Again it's your account.

ChiMomWriter:
Elizabeth - I think it depends on your audience. My FB following is much different than my Twitter following. Overlap, yes, but they choose where they engage.

ree_i:
You can tweet whenever, but there are programs you can use that analyze your audience and advise you when the peak times to tweet are, and which tweets are making the most impressions, etc.

Christina (Kiki416):
Tweet, tweet, tweet. Any time you want!

expostsfacto:
Carole, if you are sharing information of your blog, and you are pretty regular about posting at certain times that's fine, but tweeting whatever is the protocol....get your tweet on homay!

ChiMomWriter:
What ree_i said.

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
Tweets are fleeting, so if you want it to be seen don't tweet it at 4 a.m. Also, tweet during big news events when Twitter is on fire.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
Why would I follow you on FB and Twitter then? I know there is overlap, but to just assign the same links and comments?

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
Also, you can schedule tweets via Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and perhaps your smartphone apps but I've never done that.

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
There are supposed to be "ideal" times to tweet, but I find that sometime mid-morning and mid-afternoon are good times if I'm posting a link to one of my own stories and am looking for traffic. Otherwise, I tweet whenever.

@JulieDiCaro:
I've never had an issue with it, Elizabeth. I have different people following me on FB and on Twitter. Some follow me on both.

expostsfacto:
Totally agree with Jimmy. I tweeted about a Dwayne Bowe of the Kansas City Chiefs short arming a catch that cost his team the game last NFL season and the tweet was retweed 150 times across Twitterverse and gained me proabably 75 followers immediately after.

NEW QUESTION FROM Allison: How do you balance between using your Twitter professionally and personally?

@JulieDiCaro:
Don't tweet anything you wouldn't want your boss to see.

Ted Gruber:
+1 Julie

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
Allison, I try to remember that Twitter- and the internet- is forever. That helps cut down on inappropriate tweeting.

ree_i:
Well, for starters, don't use a company account to chronicle your personal life. With a personal acct, it's at your discretion.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
Julie, I guess I just find it boring to see the same info on FB and Twitter. I like to mix I up a little. Personal preference, I guess! ;)

JenChicago:
yes @bethrago personal preference- i think i change my mind daily

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
Last night an African-American hockey player scored a game-winning goal. Some people with 100 or fewer followers started tweeting using the "N" word. Nobody saw it right? Wrong. Others shed light on it and those people were forced to respond.

expostsfacto:
If you wouldn't want something dumb you said in the newspaper, on TV, or on the radio...don't tweet it...simple as that.

Christina (Kiki416):
Julie and Elizabeth: I do my company's twitter account and try to leverage FB and Twitter, putting up different things at different times.

@JulieDiCaro:
It's not the ONLY content I post on either. It's not like that's all there is to see.

expostsfacto:
Great point Jimmy!!!

ChiMomWriter:
Allison: If you wouldn't want your grandma to hear it, think twice before posting it.

NEW QUESTION FROM JOHN RUANE: Reading this, it sounds like a strong recommendation for conversing with others on Twitter. But I am constantly amazed at non-celebrities who have tons of followers. How does that happen?

Ted Gruber:
Sometimes Celebrities RT somebody and that's how they gain their followers.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
I try not to follow too many celebs. Not enough interesting and important info to add to my feed.

Ted Gruber:
Sometimes but others try to act like somebody on Twitter such as parody accounts and people enjoy them.

Christina (Kiki416):
John: They focus on a select demographic and are trusted among the community. One of my good friends has over 9000 followers another has over 21000. This happens because they build relationships, know what they're talkin about and are trusted among Latino circles.

@JulieDiCaro:
There are a lot of funny and interesting people in the world. On the other hand, some people buy their followers. LOL

expostsfacto:
John, many non celebrities on twitter were there in the beginning and knew the value of twitter and gained the following as Twitter grew.

ree_i:
Some people were early adopters and gained a lot of followers from the get-go. Some people are just really interesting, while others just tweet a lot. There is no one answer for follower #'s.

ChiMomWriter:
If someone is tweeting or writing about something of interest to a lot of people, it's easy to build a following. You'll see that a lot with social media / marketing people, "blogging experts," etc.

JenChicago:
and if they are following just as many- that usually says it's a quantity issue more than quality. there are exceptions.

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
But how does it happen? Because they get RT'd a lot. A LOT.

expostsfacto:
Others are trusted experts at topics, speak at conferences, write books, and may be celebrities in a different world other than just entertainment, sports, or the media.

@JulieDiCaro:
Good point. Jen.

Christina (Kiki416):
If you have a core and stick to it along with relationship building, you're going to gain a ton of followers. Check out @julito77 and @ergeekgoddess

@JulieDiCaro:
There are also a lot of people who follow EVERYONE just to get a follow back, and then unfollow. It's not good form, but it's how a lot of people get lots of followers.

expostsfacto:
Every time I'm retweeted, I get a new follower(s)

NEW QUESTION FROM PATTY: I have a personal twitter account, but should I set one up in my blog's name?

@JulieDiCaro:
I am strongly against separate accounts for blogs and people. People want to follow a person, not a blog.

ree_i:
You don't necessarily have to set up a new acct for your blog. It's your work so if you have a personal acct, you could just as easily post from there.

Ted Gruber:
Agreed put your blog url in your profile link.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
Completely agree with @JulieDiCaro.

ChiMomWriter:
Patty: Personal preference. I tweet mainly under chimomwriter because it covers all of the places I write, just listed in my profile. If you strictly want to build a blog identity, doing it by your blog name can help.

@JulieDiCaro:
+1 to Ted

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
Hi Patty -- My blog is the Relationship Diva but by Twitter is @AnalyticalDiva -- and that's because I comment about all sorts of things on Twitter.

expostsfacto:
If a celebrity or influential person with tons of followers follows me, I'll look through their followers to see who is following them who is influential and follow them. I call it "mining". I don't do it all of the time, but sometime. It helps to boost my Klout score.

JenChicago:
especially since a blog IS so personal- no need to separate.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
By tying my Twitter solely to my blog it makes me one dimensional

NEW QUESTION FROM MIKE: Is there anyone that can convince me that being on Twitter isn't just a time suck? I can't imagine it will make my blog that much greater without tons of effort that is better spent with my job, kids, wife, etc.

expostsfacto:
My twitter is @exavierpope....My name.

@JulieDiCaro:
My blog is heavily driven by the comments section. Probably 40% of the people posting on my site do so because they followed me on Twitter first.

expostsfacto:
@Mike: Time spent with job, kids, wife, etc. is supposed to be better than twitter!

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
YES, Mike. It has taken a year of investing time at making relationships with people, but I have been offered several jobs from people I have met on Twitter. The exposure to influential people is fantastic!

Ted Gruber:
Easiest way to Network.

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
Mike, it is a time suck but not JUST a time suck. You have to decide what fits with your life. It is enormously valuable for networking, sharing information. But it's not fast and easy.

ChiMomWriter:
Mike: Like anything else, it's what you make of it. If you enjoy it and want to spend time engaging, it's not a time suck. But everyone has to prioritize. I have backed off of Pinterest and Google+ because Twitter works better for me and I enjoy it more. You pick and choose.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
And you do not have to commit too much time. I started with 15 minutes a few times a day! (I sound like a commercial...)

expostsfacto:
Mike: I have met the most influential people in the world for business, social, and philanthropic concepts on Twitter. It's a gateway to people you normally could not reach.

@JulieDiCaro:
TV is time suck. So are movies. So is talking on the phone. It's all about balancing your priorities.

ChiMomWriter:
Elizabeth is right - You pick your time and schedule.

ree_i:
Twitter is not a time suck because, as "nerdy", or whatever as some may find it, it's becoming an integral part of life. You see tweets creating news headlines. Employers are now looking at Twitter and your following, and further, if you don't have Twitter, you are missing out on so many useful connections you could be building.

expostsfacto:
I am on the board of at least one important organization just because of a Twitter connection!

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
Mike, my boys will say, are you going to Tweet this? So there's a balance, of course, but I think there are many professional (and personal) opportunities to be found on Twitter. I've met some very cool people whom I wouldn't have otherwise, and that's enriched my life. Happy mom = better mom.

Elizabeth Rago @bethrago:
YES @JulieDiCaro. I cut out my TV time suck time and added those minutes to twitter...

expostsfacto:
I attained new clients, made $$, all of that through Twitter. I am a believer.

ree_i:
Like many have stated, you can connect with people you wouldn;t otherwise be able to contact. It's extremely utile.

ChiMomWriter:
Mike: I've made some great friends that have translated offline, and have gotten great info on it not only for blogging, but for running, philanthropy, current events and my other interests.

expostsfacto:
Yes, I am always on Twitter. I am a social media nut, because the most influential people are there. It's a great party I don't want to leave.

NEW QUESTION FROM @patrickocomedy: What can I do to get retweeted. My blog is a niche market, diabetes, sometimes I get RT'd but I mostly don't.

Christina (Kiki416):
You have to know how to get into the diabetes circles. I'm a diabetes blogger as well and it takes time.

Ted Gruber:
You can put RT at the end of your blog and see if that helps. But it's really about if people are interested in the blog posting.

Christina (Kiki416):
Typically, I find that using particular hashtags and getting information out to key people helps.

ree_i:
RT's shouldn't be your only objective. People will RT on their own once they realize your content is something worth being shared. I never ask for RT's, it's tacky.

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
Be funny, smart or interesting. That will get you RT'd.

ChiMomWriter:
Patrick: Keep engaging with other people in your niche. It'll happen over time. And as you build those relationships, if there's a post or tweet that you really want to get around, you can DM people to ask. People do that to me and I don't mind if it's someone I've gotten to know and it's good info.

Christina (Kiki416):
A lot of times, it's because people don't see it. Interest above all will help.

@JulieDiCaro:
+1 to Jimmy and Ree

expostsfacto:
Patrick: for diabetes...you need to "jump into the conversation"...find a hashtag that you know has tweets going for diabetes and you'll find people interested in your blog.

JenChicago:
@Jimmy My thoughts too

ChiMomWriter:
@Ree_i - I don't ask for RTs, but I don't mind someone asking me directly if they have a solid piece they're trying to get the word out. It just goes back to the relationships being built first.

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
One other important way to get someone's attention is to "favorite" a tweet. They get an alert and they may follow your or at least notice you.

expostsfacto:
Like #diabeteschat...guarantee there's a conversation going on there.....or #diabetes....or other ones similar

Christina (Kiki416):
#diabetes #dsma #T1 #T2 those all work because then people will see it.

NEW QUESTION FROM CHICAGOTOUGH: Do you guys go into your 'followers' list and check up on their tweets to stay active with them?...Or is that creepy? (Hopefully nobody's asked this yet.)

ree_i:
It's not creepy. You are what you tweet so should be expected that people are going to look at your timeline.

expostsfacto:
Yes, I do. Bomani Jones and Bevy Smith are two people I love following. Just great conversations on their timelines, so I go see what they are talking about.

Christina (Kiki416):
No. I don't normally do that. I usually feed off the feed. If I'm interested in someone in particular, I'll look at their feed. But in addition, that's what lists and hashtag searches are for.

@JulieDiCaro:
I don't do that. It seems like it would take a lot of time. LOL

expostsfacto:
I don't tend to use lists. I kind of have a knack for who I like and who I don't as much.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
@ChicagoTough -- I do from time to time just to stay current. I have people I "look" to follow but there could be some that slip my mind so I check on them and respond or RT if it's interesting.

NEW QUESTION FROM Christine Wolf: Will long URLs get automatically shortened or do I have to physically do something to make that happen?

Christina (Kiki416):
If you use Tweet deck, it will shorten. If you like to track your links, you can start a bit.ly account and shorten them yourselves. You can also link the two so it syncs and it all happens automatically.

expostsfacto:
Twitter is weird! Sometimes it shortens a url, sometimes it doesn't. TweetDeck automatically shortens, and HootSuite will shorten if you put the link in a box and "shrink" it.

ree_i:
In Twitter, links get shortened on their own. If you're using Hootsuite or Tweetdeck you can use their link shorteners/

Jimmy (@jcgreenx):
Most apps will shorten. More importantly, you should always shorten because you need characters. I always think non-shortened URLs are an indication the user doesn't really know what they're doing yet.

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
That's a great question, because when I started I had no clue how people were able to shorten links!

@JulieDiCaro:
Tweetdeck shortens links

expostsfacto:
Agree with Jimmy.

Christina (Kiki416):
I also agree with Jimmy,

ree_i:
Sometimes though, people are skeptical of foreign looking links, so I like using the Twitter to let it display a bit of the link so they know it's nothing fishy/virus-y

expostsfacto:
When you are sharing links from certain sites directly from the sites to Twitter it may not shorten, so you might have to cut and paste to do it.

NEW QUESTION: What other rookie mistakes do you guys see?

expostsfacto:
Rookie mistake is saying "Follow Back" when you follow someone #lame. Another rookie mistake is trying to follow everyone indiscriminantly to gain followers. Tweeting not frequently enough is another mistake...once per week is bad.

Jenina, The RD (@AnalyticalDiva):
A rookie mistake is not responding to the people you follow. Why be on Twitter if you won't engage?

LucyLloyd_Inklings:
I'm not fond of "Please RT" tweets.

ree_i:
There are things you will learn but sometimes the "mistakes" get conversations started. Twitter is a learn by doing type of thing, and the more you use it, the better.

expostsfacto:
Cursing incessantly, saying rude things for no reason, or blabbing out things you are doing like "I'm eating jello"

@JulieDiCaro:
Posting vague statuses just to get people to ask you what's wrong. For example: "So sad right now." Blarg. Tell us what's wrong or go away.

ree_i:
Trolling is never cool. I have one acct that constantly tweets me and after looking at their timeline, I will never follow them back. Needless to say, they only have 2 followers because of it,

Filed under: Social Media help, Twitter

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