Thursday, April 22, 2010

9 Ways to Learn at Twitter University

A recent post by Jeff Bullas called Twitter Reveals 11 New Facts on its Traffic and Usage reminded me what it is that I love about Twitter: It’s one heck of a place to learn.

There are some great stats there. I think they reinforce what I believe is the greatest value of Twitter – it's just hands down the best ready source of information you didn't know you needed to know.

I call it the University of Twitter and my only regret is that I don' have three or four hours a day to devote to learning from it!

And I’m often surprised that more people don’t take advantage of this great resource for learning and sharing.

So how can you learn from this free “university”? Let me count the ways:

1. Follow people like you: Easy right? Not so fast Slick! You’re have more than a one dimension so be sure to follow people who tweet about ALL the things that interest you. You never know when the person you follow because they also like Siamese cats will tweet out a link to an interesting site on football great “Mean Joe” Greene.

2. Follow people who are nothing like you: Likewise find a few followers of people you follow who seem to be 180 degrees from anything you know or care about. Follow them for a while and you may be surprised what you learn. And remember, it’s Twitter, so if you change your mind you can always unfollow them.

3. Follow smart people: Some tweets just make you see things differently … they make you think. This is reason enough for me to check out the sender’s Tweetstream and if I like what I see I follow them.

4. Follow funny people: And for Pete’s sake have some fun. It’s as true on Twitter as it is anywhere: All work and no play can make you pretty dull. For example: You’ve likely heard of
@shitmydadsays and @badbanana , but do you know @funnyoneliners and @CinderellaJoey?

5. Organize the people you track/follow: Use the Lists feature to keep track of a few different types of Twitterers without committing to following them. If you like what you learn then you can follow them.

6. Use search: Go to and type in any word related to something you want to know about and voila you get tweets galore (many with useful links). This kind of search always yields material you likely would not have found any other way.

7. Track trends: The scrolling trending topics bar on the Twitter home page can sometimes also lead to interesting tweets. Although the continuing fascination with
Justin Bieber escapes me.

8. Follow hashtags: Keep an eye out for interesting
hashtags (the “#” before a word, for the uninitiated). Click on one and see what a bunch of folks are tweeting about. You may be surprised where following hashtags can take you but you’ll often find interesting tweets.

9. Try randomness: Sometimes you should follow links “just because.” The caution here: Beware of spammers and those who might be trying to spread computer viruses via tweets or Direct Messages. How can you be safe? Never click on DM links and before following a link in a regular tweet check out the sender’s tweetstream. A lot of duplicate or similar tweets indicates a spammer (at best) and a virus spreader (at worst).

Did I forget anything? Are there other ways to learn at the University of Twitter?

Possibly related post:

No comments:

Post a Comment