If you’re into social networking, you may have noticed that Facebook has become as crowded as Cancun on Spring Break. Many social networking fans are migrating to Twitter, that bizarre little microblog which gives you 140 characters to make a statement. It’s odd, it’s strange, it defies common sense, but it’s there and it’s HOT.

Signing up for Twitter and joining in on conversations is like walking into a party where 100 conversations are going on all at once and you’re able to be a part of each one. It can be exhausting if you don’t know how to play along, so here is a Twitter primer with some basic information to get you up and going.

1. Twitter is a “microblog”.
You’re given 140 characters in each posting to get your point across. I like to think of it as cyber haiku in that it challenges you to cram all your info into a small space. You must constantly think how to get to the point.

2. Twitter is a fast moving conversation. REALLY fast…
Have you ever gone out for coffee with someone then realize that as the caffeine levels increase, your conversation gets faster and faster and faster? Twitter conversations are a lot like that. Because there is so much multi-messaging going on, it has a quick pace to it. Don’t let this frighten you- pay attention to a few people and just follow them. If you try to follow all the conversations you’ll land yourself in a straight jacket in no time.

3. Posts are called “Tweets” and you’re writing in the “Twitterverse.”
You, the person posting, are a “Tweeter”. Your Twitter world is called the “Twitterverse” just as bloggers reside in the “blogosphere”. These words are inconsequential, but it’s nice to know the local lingo so you don’t look like a tourist.

4. Twitter is one of the fastest growing social networking sites.
Whether you like it or not, people are there so you need to know about it! Your next big referral partner may be a tweet away.

5. Reply 10 times more than you announce
Twitter is not just a one-way bulletin board where you announce your latest flashes of insights, media spots, teleseminars, programs, or connections. It’s extremely important to acknowledge others. When someone posts something you want to respond to, simply type @ then the user name and it will be considered a reply. Trust me, this is how you build relationships. You can also privately direct message people, which you can learn about by using the site.

6. Don’t pitch!
I hate getting an acknowledgement that’s followed w/ a link to a sales page or an opt-in page. Because many hype-hungry internet marketers are getting onto Twitter, you’ll see this happening A LOT. Just because they’re doing it doesn’t mean it’s OK or welcome. You wouldn’t litter because you saw someone else doing it, right? Now behave yourself!

7. Post links that have substance
For many people, Twitter is a newswire they can depend upon for breaking information, articles, and blog posts. In a short amount of time, you can collect information on your target market, events, products… you name it! So when you come across something really important, just send out a quick Tweet with the link. Be cautious if you’re sending people to any type of sign up page unless it’s pertinent.

8. Use Twhirl
www.Twhirl.com is a f-r-e-e download that makes Twitter pop-up on your desktop. It’s nice because you don’t have to be logged into the actual Twitter website to use it, and it has handy organizing tools that help you sort the many ways you can communicate on Twitter.

9. Use RSS Feeds
Connect your Tweets to your MySpace, Facebook, and other social networking sites with easy RSS feed functions. This saves time and energy and does the multi-tasking for you!

10. Mix the personal and professional
As with all social networking, the focus needs to be on relationship building in order to get the most out of it. Relax and feel free to mix in appropriate social or personal tidbits- I’ve witnessed people bond simply because they both love carrot juice, so go figure!

Social networking is still in its land-grab phase and will be that way for some time. In order for it to work for you and increase your visibility, you need to understand how to use it. If you’re interested in Twitter, use these 10 tips to guide you so it’s a successful venture. As always, focus on relationship building and use that to feed into your PR, media, and visibility goals.

Author's Bio: 

Nancy Marmolejo shows entrepreneurs how to generate more money and attention by positioning themselves as credible, recognized experts. An award winning business owner, Nancy is frequently quoted in the media in the areas of business and creative thinking. Get Nancy's 7 part free audio course by visiting www.VivaVisibility.com...

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