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David Lee King

Twitter Best Practices So Far



I’ve just spent some time subscribing to a bunch of Twitter social media and community manager types (via twitterpacks.pbwiki.com) My goal in doing this is to learn more about digital community management, and how that relates to the library version of digital communities.

But while doing that, I started noticing some similarities in twitter account pages, and thought I’d share those with you.

Twitter Best Practices:

1. Have a bio. When people see an interesting tweet, they might click through and want to read a bit about you – the first place they’ll look is your Twitter bio. Most bios provide a brief outline of who you are. For example, mine currently says I write about, talk about, and work in libraries!” (yes, that’s a very boring bio – I should change it).I write about, talk about, and work around libraries, social media, and digital communities. Also check out my videoblog: http://davidleeking.com/etc” (just changed it :-)

Even better – include an invitation in your bio. Here are two examples:

  • I’m a 35 year -old marketing professional who is learning about new media. Help me learn Twitter please! Follow me and I’ll follow you!
  • New followers: please @ me to start or join a conversation.

2. Extra links in your bio. You can add links to pertinent sites and services in your bio. If the URL is long, make sure to shorten it with one of those tinyURL services. Otherwise, the link text will run into the background of the page… and make you look like you look bad.

3. Spell check your bio text. Misspellings look bad. Nuf said.

4. Use a good headshot for your picture/icon: Best practices for the little pic that accompanies your tweets – a headshot of you, smiling. Or maybe you being silly. If possible, show your personality.

Don’t frown – if you don’t look friendly (or you look scary), others might think twice about friending you. And on the web, thinking twice means you’ve lost them.

5. Add a background image. Any image. Silly. Professional. Ugly. The point here is that using the default Twitter background on your account makes you look like a newbie. And that’s bad, especially when it’s so easy to add an image.

Brownie points for using the image like these two tweeters. See what they’ve done? They smartly positioned an image version of a link list that appears in the far left portion of their twitter page. Nice way to share links and promote themselves!

6. Say “Hi” to new followers. When someone follows you, reply back. That’s nice! Here’s one example: “you might be the first librarian I’ve met.  HI!”

Even better – one person direct messaged me with this message: “Welcome New Follower!! How goes it?  Have you tweeted anything that I should know about that I may have missed?” Wow – he’s asking you to introduce yourself in a very direct and helpful (to him) way. Nice.

7. Silly observations:

  • Social media and community manager types tend to play guitar in a band and mention it in their profiles…
  • they all subscribe to Chris Brogan’s twitter account.

8. Finally, don’t do this: I saw one twitter account (that I didn’t follow) with these characteristics:

  • Bio said the person is a “key executive in digital media”
  • No picture/icon was included
  • No background image was used
  • He’s not following anyone
  • He has 7 followers
  • He’s only written 5 updates

Notice the irony here? This person’s bio and his actual Twitter activity don’t match up. He doesn’t sound like a key executive in “digital media” He needs to take 5 minutes to add a pic, add a background, follow a few usual suspects in his field, and add a couple more tweets. This will make his account look “normal” – and he’ll look more knowledgeable to boot.

Update: after writing a whiz-bang twitter article, I completely fogot to add a link to my own twitter account (twitter.com/davidleeking)! Duh…

[ad#dlks-sneaky-ad-unit]

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://acplitslibrarian.wordpress.com/ Melissa Kiser

    May I add one thing: if you feel creeped out by a follower, it’s probably because they’re creepy! I got that vibe from one follower (who sent me his phone number), I blocked him, and I’ve never regretted it!

  • http://acplitslibrarian.wordpress.com Melissa Kiser

    May I add one thing: if you feel creeped out by a follower, it’s probably because they’re creepy! I got that vibe from one follower (who sent me his phone number), I blocked him, and I’ve never regretted it!

  • http://www.library.gg Ed

    Thanks David, that’s pretty handy.

    I’m experimenting with Twitter for our Library & you’ve given me a few thoughts to ruminate on.

    I’m off to find some appropriate background images…

  • davidleeking

    Melissa – agreed! I’d add to that list a bit – I don’t follow people who only write in another language (I can’t read it, so it clutters up my space), who seem spammy or creepy, or if I find a bunch of personally offensive tweets on their first page. I figure they’ll probably offend me frequently, so why bother?

  • davidleeking

    Melissa – agreed! I’d add to that list a bit – I don’t follow people who only write in another language (I can’t read it, so it clutters up my space), who seem spammy or creepy, or if I find a bunch of personally offensive tweets on their first page. I figure they’ll probably offend me frequently, so why bother?

  • http://babyboomerlibrarian.blogspot.com/ Bill Drew

    I retweeted your tweet about this post. I just changed my background image based on your advice. There is a lot of good advice here. Nice following you. Follow me at BillDrew4. Tweet Tweet!!

  • http://babyboomerlibrarian.blogspot.com Bill Drew

    I retweeted your tweet about this post. I just changed my background image based on your advice. There is a lot of good advice here. Nice following you. Follow me at BillDrew4. Tweet Tweet!!

  • http://9thnews.wordpress.com/ Paula

    You have inspired me to change my photo and background. Content may still be the same!

  • http://9thnews.wordpress.com Paula

    You have inspired me to change my photo and background. Content may still be the same!

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  • Joe Cascio

    A good advice, particularly having a good photo and informative bio. Include your location, too! And don’t be cute about it. “Anywhere the wind blows” might be poetic, but I don’t like that you’re being coy. It doesn’t have to be your street address or even your zip code, but it does have to give your reader a general idea of how close you are to them. Mine just says, “Southeast Connecticut”.

    A word on background images. I used to have a gorgeous >1meg image of some fall foliage as my background. But it took too long to load on my XO PC (aka OLPC). I should probably find another, smaller one that obeys your guideline for fitting around the Twitter content in a nice way.

  • Joe Cascio

    A good advice, particularly having a good photo and informative bio. Include your location, too! And don’t be cute about it. “Anywhere the wind blows” might be poetic, but I don’t like that you’re being coy. It doesn’t have to be your street address or even your zip code, but it does have to give your reader a general idea of how close you are to them. Mine just says, “Southeast Connecticut”.

    A word on background images. I used to have a gorgeous >1meg image of some fall foliage as my background. But it took too long to load on my XO PC (aka OLPC). I should probably find another, smaller one that obeys your guideline for fitting around the Twitter content in a nice way.

  • http://www.WordsToMouth.com/ Carrie

    Great post! Okay, okay, so I do need to take the time to figure out the tiny URL thing ~ Will do! And I do like the white sheet bio your two examples have on the left-hand side. I’m sure they’ll have a surge in followers today! I’m one! You, too…thanks for the help. So much to learn.

  • http://www.WordsToMouth.com Carrie

    Great post! Okay, okay, so I do need to take the time to figure out the tiny URL thing ~ Will do! And I do like the white sheet bio your two examples have on the left-hand side. I’m sure they’ll have a surge in followers today! I’m one! You, too…thanks for the help. So much to learn.

  • http://www.starshyneproductions.blogspot.com/ Jamie

    What a helpful and accessible list. Thank you!

    And I agree with Melissa too – trust your instincts!

  • http://www.starshyneproductions.blogspot.com Jamie

    What a helpful and accessible list. Thank you!

    And I agree with Melissa too – trust your instincts!

  • Annalie Killian

    Hi David…thanks, great insight. Think people join and use Twitter with different motives. For me, it started as a simple sign-up in April 07 and a “secret code” among those “in on the act”, but it grew with my curiosity to discover business application- I can intuitively sense it, trying to work out the practical implications….if you have 23000 followers, like one or two on twitter….how in heaven’s name do you make sense of it? I am trying to find some insight on how the Scobles etc deal with such a stream and derive value from it? Are you able to point me in the direction of some material? @maverickwoman

  • Annalie Killian

    Hi David…thanks, great insight. Think people join and use Twitter with different motives. For me, it started as a simple sign-up in April 07 and a “secret code” among those “in on the act”, but it grew with my curiosity to discover business application- I can intuitively sense it, trying to work out the practical implications….if you have 23000 followers, like one or two on twitter….how in heaven’s name do you make sense of it? I am trying to find some insight on how the Scobles etc deal with such a stream and derive value from it? Are you able to point me in the direction of some material? @maverickwoman

  • http://hungerrelief.tyson.com/ Ed Nicholson

    Good advice, David. Hadn’t really thought about the d to new followers, but now that you mention it, I’ve had some folks respond to me in that way, and it does provide another point of connection.

  • http://hungerrelief.tyson.com Ed Nicholson

    Good advice, David. Hadn’t really thought about the d to new followers, but now that you mention it, I’ve had some folks respond to me in that way, and it does provide another point of connection.

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  • http://www.businessontwitter.co.uk/twitter Nikki Pilkington

    Don’t forget – when you write about Twitter, make sure people like me that want to promote you can tell people how to follow you on Twitter ;)

    Great article.

  • http://www.businessontwitter.co.uk/twitter Nikki Pilkington

    Don’t forget – when you write about Twitter, make sure people like me that want to promote you can tell people how to follow you on Twitter ;)

    Great article.

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  • davidleeking

    Nikki – you’re right! I completely forgot to add a link to my twitter account! Sheesh. It’s added now – and thanks for mentioning it!

  • davidleeking

    Nikki – you’re right! I completely forgot to add a link to my twitter account! Sheesh. It’s added now – and thanks for mentioning it!

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  • http://wellfedgardener.com/ Charles

    I spent a couple of hours exploring Twitter yesterday. I don’t see what people are so excited about. The tweets are for the most part a complete waste of time for both tweeter and reader. Am I missing something?

  • http://wellfedgardener.com Charles

    I spent a couple of hours exploring Twitter yesterday. I don’t see what people are so excited about. The tweets are for the most part a complete waste of time for both tweeter and reader. Am I missing something?

  • http://www.goblin-cartoons.com/ joshua m. neff

    Charles, you may be missing something, or Twitter may not be a useful toy for you. I thought Twitter would be a big waste of time, too–until I tried it out for a week or so, and found I was addicted to it. For me, what makes Twitter so useful and fun is the conversations. As I’ve used Twitter, I’ve continued to increase the number of people I follow and who follow me, and I’ve made friends, had good conversations, thrown jokes back and forth, shared good times and bad, and gotten some crucially essential emotional support. This has happened in a way that hasn’t happened for me through blogging or IM. But like I said, Twitter may just not be for you.

  • http://www.goblin-cartoons.com joshua m. neff

    Charles, you may be missing something, or Twitter may not be a useful toy for you. I thought Twitter would be a big waste of time, too–until I tried it out for a week or so, and found I was addicted to it. For me, what makes Twitter so useful and fun is the conversations. As I’ve used Twitter, I’ve continued to increase the number of people I follow and who follow me, and I’ve made friends, had good conversations, thrown jokes back and forth, shared good times and bad, and gotten some crucially essential emotional support. This has happened in a way that hasn’t happened for me through blogging or IM. But like I said, Twitter may just not be for you.

  • davidleeking

    Great answer, Josh – thanks!

  • davidleeking

    Great answer, Josh – thanks!

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  • http://librarychicken.blogspot.com/ webchicken

    Thanks for the prompt to add a background image. I also bit the bullet and made my tweets public. If it’s something I can’t say to the whole world, then maybe I shouldn’t be broadcasting it.

  • http://librarychicken.blogspot.com webchicken

    Thanks for the prompt to add a background image. I also bit the bullet and made my tweets public. If it’s something I can’t say to the whole world, then maybe I shouldn’t be broadcasting it.

  • Cindy Lou

    I just don’t get Twitter. What value does it actually have for . . . you know . . . someone with a life?

  • Cindy Lou

    I just don’t get Twitter. What value does it actually have for . . . you know . . . someone with a life?

  • http://www.davidleeking.com/ david lee king

    Cindy – Read Joshua’s comment above. It gives some good insight into twitter. But really, to see the full value of it, you need to sign up, follow about 30 other people, and start chatting with them.

    The value I see includes:
    - quickly staying up-to-date with friends and colleagues
    - keeping up-to-date on trends
    - getting quick responses on ideas and problems
    - using it as a back-channel conference tool

    Not useful for everyone – but highly useful for some.

  • http://www.davidleeking.com david lee king

    Cindy – Read Joshua’s comment above. It gives some good insight into twitter. But really, to see the full value of it, you need to sign up, follow about 30 other people, and start chatting with them.

    The value I see includes:
    - quickly staying up-to-date with friends and colleagues
    - keeping up-to-date on trends
    - getting quick responses on ideas and problems
    - using it as a back-channel conference tool

    Not useful for everyone – but highly useful for some.

  • http://www.goblin-cartoons.com/ joshua m. neff

    Cindy: I use it to socialize with other people. If that means I’m not “someone with a life,” then I don’t know what “having a life” means.

  • http://www.goblin-cartoons.com joshua m. neff

    Cindy: I use it to socialize with other people. If that means I’m not “someone with a life,” then I don’t know what “having a life” means.

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  • http://theshiftedlibrarian.com/ Jenny Levine

    It’s too bad there isn’t a way to display an RSS feed as part of the background image. Displaying contact info in the image itself, though, is a great idea for libraries. Thanks for highlighting that, David.

  • http://theshiftedlibrarian.com/ Jenny Levine

    It’s too bad there isn’t a way to display an RSS feed as part of the background image. Displaying contact info in the image itself, though, is a great idea for libraries. Thanks for highlighting that, David.

  • http://www.davidleeking.com/ david lee king

    Jenny – you CAN put extra links in the bio part of your twitter account, over on the right hand side of the page. Mine’s a good example – I link to my videoblog in addition to the website link provided above the bio.

    So you could dump RSS feeds, other URLs, etc there…