Learn and Lead

About continual learning and leadership

10 Reasons Why You Should be on Twitter

10 reasons why should you be on Twitter:
  1. You don’t really have the time/patience/inclination/skill to write a blog.
  2. You don’t really follow any specific websites/blogs regularly. You mostly read links recommended by others, usually in an email.
  3. You want to stay up to date with thought leaders of the industry.
  4. You want to quickly get answers to your questions, suggestions on what to do, where to go.
  5. You always miss out someone while updating them about things happening to you.
  6. You want to get quick updates on the latest news.
  7. Your ITS has blocked Facebook and Orkut but not Twitter ;-)
  8. Your friends/clients/vendors/colleagues/boss/subordinates are on Twitter.
  9. You want to show your friends/clients/vendors/colleagues/boss/subordinates that you are up to speed with social media by being on Twitter.
  10. You are not sure who you to share the link to the cool/important/interesting site/news/post/video/picture/game that you just stumbled upon.

Feel free to add your reason to the list.

Note to self: Okay, got to stop writing these Twitter posts. I am not a social media expert!!!

10 Tips to Get Started with Twitter

I have been getting a lot of Twitter newbie followers, some folks who I am inducting to Twitter and others who read my blog, or have worked me at some point of time. I try to get them started by giving them tips and introducing them to people they can follow. So what’s my advice to get started on Twitter? Well Twitter is different things depending on how you use it and you need to experiment to figure out what works for you.

Here are 10 tips to get you started with Twitter.

  1. Be human and introduce yourself to the world: When you set up a Twitter account, the first thing you should do is to write a short catchy bio about yourself and your interests. The second is to upload your photo or an avatar. I personally prefer a photo. These two things make your Twitter account more ‘human’. Remember, there is nothing more irritating than to be followed by a bot, or a profile that doesn’t appear to be human. Tip update: Provide a link to your LinkedIn page in your profile.

  2. Don't start with a blank slate: Start off with some tweets before you actually start following people. Going to a Twitter page with no updates is a great turn off, and you aren’t really going to get any connections with an empty page (other than auto-follows). (I personally don’t like the term ‘followers’, I prefer connections. I am okay with the term ‘following’ though.).

  3. Start with simple tweets: Wondering what to start tweeting about? If you are going to use Twitter to build a professional identify, DON’T start tweeting about what you had for breakfast or dinner etc. You could tweet about an interesting link (that is relevant professionally or newsworthy). Note, I say ‘tweet about’. That means you should write your two-cents worth about the link to tell the world why you are sharing the link. You could also start by re-tweeting (RT) something you found interesting on other people’s tweets. You could even start by responding to other people’s tweets (@ replies).

  4. Stay within 140 character limit: Use URL shortener to reduce the length of the link you are sharing. Twiter web page, which I am assuming you will start with when new to Twitter, doesn’t have any URL shortener. Once you graduate on to a desktop Twitter application, this shouldn’t be a problem since most apps come with some (or many) URL shortening options.

  5. Start following the right people: Who are the right people and how do you know who to follow? Well, I am assuming that you’ve been introduced to Twitter by someone who is already on Twitter. So follow that person. Next look at who this person is following or who are following this person. Look for the bio and tweets to see whose tweets might be of interest to you. I would recommend following people who are more active, both in terms of frequency and number of tweets, and who have a healthy mix of conversation in their tweets.  You could also use Mr. Tweet to get additional recommendations after you have started following a few people.

  6. Chose who to follow based on your threshold: Initially you may want to avoid following people who tweet a lot (like more than a few tweets a day). Use followcost to check tweet frequency of who you want to follow. This is really helpful since of the things you’ll need to learn is how to deal with info overload. I mentioned in a previous post, if you have trouble with dealing with your email (“Oh gosh, I have so many emails to respond to…”, which BTW is a function of your ability to deal with transactions, not a function of number of email messages you get), Twitter is NOT for you.

  7. Follow back selectively: Don’t get too worried you don’t get many connections (followers) initially. Not everyone who you follow will follow you back. And you don’t HAVE to follow back everyone who follows you. Follow back only if you think the tweets will be of interest to you. This is contrary to the general ‘twitiquette’ that you may read elsewhere. I feel you should follow those whose tweets you find valuable, and people who find your tweets valuable will follow you.

  8. Install a Twitter desktop application: I recommend TweetDeck. However this needs higher RAM. You could also use Twhirl.

  9. Be consistent: It takes a while to ‘get’ Twitter. Give yourself time and be consistent - consistent in logging on Twitter, consistent in following people, consistent in tweeting. Do this once a day preferably, or at least three-four times a week. 

  10. Join the conversation: If you feel you aren’t getting anything out of Twitter, remember you will get what you put in. If you aren’t contributing to Twitter conversations, you won’t get much out of them.

Bonus 11th tip: Be patient.

Update: You may also find Gina Minks' Twitter Cheat Sheet useful.

Image by: nico.cavallotto

My Top 10 Learning Tools, Apr 2009

It’s time to update my top 10 learning tools and techniques list. This time I’ll try to focus more on tools and services. You can view my previous lists of Aug 08 and Jan 08.

My top 10 learning tools in April 2009:

  1. Google Reader – I read blogs via RSS feeds. I have tried Google Reader, NetVibes, Bloglines and Feedly, and I have stuck to Google Reader. It also allows me to share interesting articles from my feeds. In case you are interested, you can view my shared items here. I still find many people who don’t really know or use feeds. I don’t lose any opportunity to educate them to the merits of feeds and using a feed reader.
  2. Twitter – I will complete one year of Twittering next month. It’s been a great learning tool. I read somewhere that Twitter lowers the barriers of communication. Completely agree with this. Have made more connections on Twitter than on any other network. Connect with me on Twitter @manishmo.
  3. TweetDeck - can’t just complete this list without talking about some of the Twitter tools I use. TweetDesk desktop app helps me organize twitter contacts in groups and helps me manage tweets easily.
  4. Google Chrome – IE feels extremely slow and archaic after I started using Google Chrome. I love the simplicity of the interface. And the best feature is ability to type anything in the address bar to search for it. No need to actually go to the search engine website.
  5. Google search engine – Googling is now a verb. This is my most used search engine.
  6. Compfight, a flickr search engine – Love this as it allows me to quickly search Creative Commons images that I can use on my blog.
  7. LinkedIn – Okay, perhaps it is not a tool but definitely a network that I have found invaluable. I have made some great connections through the eCube forum.
  8. Blogging – Blogging continues to help me reflect on my thoughts and crystallize my learning. I prefer self hosted Wordpress platform more. I still use Blogger for my personal blog and have moved to hosted Wordpress for my team blog.
  9. Bubbl.us – Love this collaborative mind mapping service. Simple interface and great collaborative features. I have been using this to collaborate with my connections.
  10. Mr. Tweet – this Twitter service has helped me identify new folks to follow based on my network’s network. I have found it quite useful in identifying new folks to connect with.

Image: Imagination by tjtrewin

Top 5 Posts for Q1 2009 on Learn and Lead

Here are the top 5 post on this blog in the first three months of 2009.
  1. Getting Started with Instructional Design
  2. What’s your Web 2.0 Quotient?
  3. Results of Unofficial Salary Survey 2008
  4. Instructional Designer Competencies
  5. Top 10 Blogs by Learning Professionals in India

Damp Water Creature - Just for Fun

Just for fun... From The Hero Factory

Quitting on a Job or a Boss?

Had an interesting chat with Mark Oehlert on Twitter.

moehlert Dr Mike Echols "people quit their bosses, not their jobs".

manishmo @moehlert Not always true (ppl quitting on boss and not job). Have had ppl profess their faith in me as a boss but still quit.

moehlert @manishmo I hear ya, I think Echols was referring to a generational difference - that X'ers r less likely than Boomers to put up w/ bad boss

manishmo @moehlert Intrstng. I read it as Gen Xers are more likely to stick w a boss they like, even if they don't like the job. (1/2)

manishmo @moehlert (2/2) Gen Y-ers are more likely to switch jobs frequently inspite of the boss. Based a little on my own experiences.

moehlert @manishmo I think that's right too

The notion that people quit their bosses and not their jobs is probably different for Gen X and Gen Y. Gen X is more likely to stick to a good boss even if they don’t like the job. Gen Y is likely to quit the job even if they like the boss. I read in an India employment report (that I am trying to get my hands on to) that Gen Y-ers’ average stint in a company is about 2 years. Based on my experiences, this is quite true.



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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by my employers and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of my employers.

Creative Commons License This work by Manish Mohan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 India License.