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It has been speculated by the new (fabulous) blog Lalawag that Qwitter has possibly gone under.   Article.  Could it be?  (Wahoo!)

For those unfamiliar, Qwitter is/was a Web application that e-mails Twitter users (who sign up) every day notifying them of fellow Tweeps who stop following their micro-feed.   While interesting in theory, what followed was an onslaught of Tweeps complaining about being “Qwit,” threatening to un-follow anyone who un-followed them and really, general high school patheticness on a massive level.

I never signed up for Qwitter, and this is why:

1) Not every person I find valuable is ALSO going to find my tweets valuable.  Should this offend me?  No.  We all have different offerings/services to provide to the greater community.  This is what makes Twitter great.

2) If I Tweet 140 characters, and someone doesn’t like what I have to say and therefore un-follows me, I am not going to change the way I tweet and “who I am online” to please one person.

3) When Twitter started, there might have been an unwritten code that if I follow a person, he/she should follow back. Given the size of Twitter now, those codes are off.  I follow over 500 people, and honestly, my favorite Tweeps are getting lost in the information shuffle.  At some point it’s IMPORTANT to be more selective to serve your business needs.

4) Finally- why?  What did I stand to gain to find out who was quitting my feed and when?  I would rather focus on the positive and learn about my new followers.

Services like Qwitter reinforce the feeling that social media can be just like high school.  If we put the focus on how many people are our friends or who quit today, we lose focus on what we stand to learn today.

I would never wish for a company to go under.  But in hard economic times, I would prefer that social media, and social media tools help us as a community stay in touch with positive forms of networking  and helpful dissemination of relevant information.

What do you think?  As always, I welcome your feedback.

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One of the fundamental problems I’ve had with Twitter is that it’s hard to keep track of the influx of posts. People have a lot to say, don’t they? I find some of the information infinitely helpful to my own business objectives. Some of the tweets amuse me. And frankly, some of the information I receive is deletable.

Like many social media folk, I would rather have too much information at my fingertips than not enough- but I found myself asking: How am I going to track all these tweets to find what’s important to ME?

Tracking Tools:
The first tool I found to help me sort my tweets out was TweetDeck. I’ve noticed Twitterers use a plethora of tools, but this one works best for me as I can sort my friends into groups, and see my @replies and direct messages in separate columns. Being able to see all of my @replies means that I can keep up with everyone who tweets a message to me, even those that I don’t follow!

Even with TweetDeck, though, I found that I was not able to discover everyone who was talking about me, or the companies I was interested in. What if someone discussed me on Twitter, but typed it wrong? If that happened, I would not receive the @reply notification on TweetDeck. (For example: JenMitch posted about Tracking Twitter Buzz today.) I would stumble on these kinds of Tweets now and then, and wondered how many more I was missing.

Last week I discovered Tweetbeep. Tweetbeep is to Twitter what Google Alerts is to the Internet. Tweetbeep helps you keep track of conversations that mention you, your products, your company, your competitors, your prospective clients, ANYTHING! Tweetbeep even enables you to keep tabs on mentions of your blog/Website regardless of the usage of shortened URLs. It’s Twitter-stalking in the best, coolest, most productive form ever!

Managing Your Twitputation (Yeah, I made that up)
Twitter is a great forum to share with the world what you think about… anything! As a result, many don’t understand what a powerful networking took Twitter can be if utilized appropriately. In my 5 months on Twitter I have:

  • Discovered niche networking events
  • Tweeted the ongoings from my (old employers) own niche industry event
  • Found the coolest VIP parties
  • Talked to people I have never met about my resume
  • Referred business from one friend to another
  • Partnered with people I have never met before on business deals
  • Learned that the San Diego Twitter folks, despite our proximity to Mexico, have a serious Sushi addiction
  • And more…

I never expected that Twitter would be more than a way to say- hey! Check out this press release! Or, hey! Where can I get the best sushi in town? (Sushi Ota.)

I believe that managing your reputation, and gaining the most possible out of Twitter is comprised of a few key things:

  • Reply. It’s good PR to respond to @replies. Not all @replies deserve response, but if you think you could build a connection or generate interesting conversation it’s a MUST. (@replies that are mean-spirited do not require response.)
  • Send a direct message (DM) now and then. You know, to the people you would like to meet in real life, you admire and would like to thank for following you, etc.
  • Know what’s being said about you. Keep tabs on what people are saying about you, your company, your products, etc. via tools like TweetBeep and TweetDeck. If someone gives you or your company a Twitter shout-out, be sure to thank them on the public timeline.
  • Be nice. My dad told me when I was a kid that, “it’s nice to be nice.” Seriously, no one wants to see you play out some kind of high school drama on Twitter. If you have drama, keep it on the DM. (Haha, groan.) Otherwise, play nice in the online sandbox.
  • Most importantly, remember, no one HAS to follow you. Bearing in mind that your friends can come and go, stay relevant, lend a hand, share, and be interesting. Hey! That’s just like real life, isn’t it?

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Before I kick off this post, let me preface this by saying that I am not the Chris Brogan of Twitter. I have right around 160 followers. But learning how to obtain this group of followers, most of whom are strategic, has been a fun project for me. I’d like to share how I have increased my followers from 60-160 in just about 3 weeks.

Sad Tweeting:
When I first started Tweeting, I really wasn’t sure what it was all about. I, like many Twitter newbies, tweeted things like (and including):

  • IKEA is the devil. But damn my room is looking good; and
  • My parents used to turn back the clocks and then lie to us about why it was still light outside and send us to bed. I get that now.

And then I wondered, why didn’t I have 200 followers? Why didn’t anyone care about every single detail of MY amusing life?

I quickly learned that when others shared every minute detail of their day, no matter how funny they were (with the exception of Heather Armstrong of Dooce), I didn’t really care either.

Happy Tweeting:
About a month ago, I completely changed the way I was Tweeting. Anyone who is a Twitter pundit already knows these tricks, but for those who are new, maybe you will find these tips helpful.

  • Listen. Spend some time just watching what people say and how they say it. Who do you admire in the Twittesphere? What kinds of posts do you appreciate? What kinds do you wish would go away? Listen and learn.
  • Decide what your Twitter persona will be. What kinds of messages do you want to deliver? Will you be political? A mommy twitterer? A social media pundit? Have direction and meaning and stick with it.
  • Follow, follow, follow. Don’t follow just anyone. Only follow those who inspire you, are like-minded and in a relevant industry or have relevant interests. But ALWAYS follow. Individuals who don’t follow others look like spammers. And no one likes a spammer.
  • Don’t be offended if those you are following don’t follow you back. Keep following more people. Over time, as you become more relevant yourself, many of those people will follow you in return. And many won’t. Who cares?
  • Start Tweeting! Tweet interesting articles that you think your readers would appreciate. “Re-Tweet” interesting things your followers have talked about that day. Be relevant to your message and try to say something people could learn from.
  • Don’t forget- you are a person, and sometimes your Tweets SHOULD be whimsical. It’s finding the mix of informative and entertaining that will help you hold onto an audience.

Finding People to Follow:
I found it overwhelming at first finding people to follow. The search function under “finding people” gave me a slew of “PR” professionals, but who was really an influencer? There are a few basic tricks I have learned about following, most of which are intuitive, and some of which require a bit of research.

  • Follow http://www.twitter.com/grader. I promise you won’t start with a great score. But @grader has a suggestion tool for people they believe you should follow as well as the “Top Twitter Users” list. These are the real pundits of Twitter. Follow the folks on this list that are most relevant to your industry.
  • Borrow followers from your most influential friends. Seriously. Always read a page before following them, though.
  • If you’re a member of Linkedin, join the Tweeple or Twitter group. You can find many relevant contacts via this avenue, but it does take a bit of research.
  • Join groups that are relevant to you. Last week a great new site launched called TwitterMoms. Yes, I am a PR practitioner, but I am also a mother. I took the opportunity to sign up for this new Twitter Group and look forward to the new connections I will make with this professional bunch of moms. I mention groups because I think we will start seeing an influx of Twitter groups for all kinds of interests in the future. Jump on when you see them! Connections are on their way!
  • Finally, if you live somewhere wherein there is a local Tweetup group, attend. Twitter is fun, but it’s amazing how much impact these Twitter connections have when you can place screen names to faces.

I’d love to hear from YOU. What do you think about when creating a Tweet? How do you find followers?

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