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Twit, Tweet, Twitter....Diary of a Twitterholic Wannabe

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
This post is one in a series of three about the phenomenon we call Twitter. Many people in The Mom Entrepreneur Support Group I run, and clients, have been asking about this form of micro-blogging. What is it? Why should I care? How do I use it? My goal is to answer these questions and more.

For me, Twitter started as an experiment in April of 2008. As with any new social activity one engages in that is unfamiliar, I played around to see what this tool was all about. I started an account, created a profile, uploaded my picture and started twittering (sending Twitter messages).

My first tweet (an individual message (or “update”) posted from Twitter) was:

"New to Twitter - not quite sure how this works but I am sure I can figure it out. Love this social networking stuff."
I could have very easily written...

"I am here, now what?"
That is the way I felt. I had already established profiles on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Fast Pitch!, started three blogs, built a blogsite and was experimenting with Squidoo. So what did Twitter have to offer me?

Well, what ensued was countless hours of research and many late nights of playing, experimenting, connecting and fiddling. There is still so much more to learn, but I finally have a handle on this crazy and unique world of social networking.

Social marketing professionals will advise you to have a plan before engaging in different online activities and I agree. However, it is amazing what you can learn by just doing. This is how I approached Twitter.

Twitter has so many tricks, tips, resources and other information for helping you to understand how to use it. Probably the most useful resource at the writing of this post is the recently published Twitter Handbook. This 181 page PDF is chock full with information. It will seem overwhelming at first, especially if you have never used Twitter. So put it aside for now and keep reading.

Start by posting some practice tweets, which are limited to 140 characters. My second tweet was:

"Working on my blogging clinic, which will be offered for four sessions in April in Barrington, NH."
When the blogging clinic write up was ready on my website, I tweeted again about it and included a link to the page on my site. Now remember, you are limited to 140 characters. This can easily be used up with one URL; especially a blog URL. Visit and turn your long URL into a short URL. You can even customize your URL so it is easy to remember.

After my third tweet, I began receiving messages in my email inbox that people were following me (subscribing to my tweets). Cool! So I clicked the links to learn more about these followers. They included other publicists, a few mom entrepreneurs, some colleagues and Barack Obama (he is probably following everyone - since he is the top twitterholic). Now I had followers. Did that make me a leader? Possibly.

I kept tweeting about different things, encouraging followers to click on my links and watching to see if anyone else followed me. I noticed that some of the posts from the people I followed included an "@" symbol and someone's user name. I had no idea what this was or how it worked. I learned that it was a way to have a conversation with other twitterers and respond to specific tweets. I was now gaining a better understanding of the interactive features of this social network. Not only could I tweet in response to a tweet posted by someone else, but by visiting Twitter Search, I could learn who was "talking" to me and about me.

At this site, I entered "@tracibisson" in the search box so I could see who on Twitter was responding to my tweets. Geez, there was a lot of people "talking" about me. So I "talked" back. Then I searched for "mom entrepreneurs". I discovered that several people were talking about this topic. Interesting. I had an idea.

Watch for my next post, which will continue to inform you about the basics of using Twitter. In the meantime, let us know how you use Twitter.

Oh...and if you are already on Twitter...look me up at