BitDepth 686 - June 30

A Tweetup in Trinidad and Tobago and notes on how to use Twitter effectively...
How to use Twitter

The first Twitterbean Tweetup over doubles at the Brooklyn Bar. From left, @SanMan_ish and his baby girl @TamaraTT, @basantam, @trinigirlblue, @keifel, @wendymediumxl and @macmark. Photo by @dwears.

Fight Club is a little like Twitter. Build followers, Never leave your house, have two identities, revolt. (via @KrisColvin & @brandon_wirtz)

Twitter is, first and foremost, a social network. All the buzz about celebrities and breaking news on the service tends to hide the fact that Twitter only really works well when it's used intimately.
There are now a number of ways to make use of Twitter without really interacting with it. There is no shortage of users who will offer ways to increase your followers using techniques that are part of the service but which have been gamed to increase attention for a personality, service or product.

Most of those services have tended to focus on the notion that getting more followers equals a better experience. That's a notion fuelled by the buzz following two of the highest profile Twitter users, Oprah, who joined on April 17 and introduced Twitter to a vast mainstream audience and Ashton Kucher, who challenged CNN to a race to gather one million followers and won.
But successfully using Twitter means heading off in almost exactly the opposite direction.

In the Twitterhood
Think of Twitter as a series of concentric circles, like the rings that intersect if you drop stones in a pond or the Olympic logo, if you've never tried to hit a wabeen.
Your followers and follows are your circle, the people whose tweets you see and who will see your tweets. The magic number seems to be somewhere between 200 and 2,000 follows and followers. Beyond that and attempts at conversation become somewhat abstract.
I'm at the point where I double check the Twitter page of every new person who follows my tweets. I'm unlikely to follow folks who tweet to vigorously (surges in tweets are acceptable around newsy subject matter) or who have large imbalances between follows and followers.

Most celebrities follow only a few people and have vast numbers of followers, replicating the broadcast experience that they are familiar with.
The most effective celebrities manage to scale both together. Guy Kawasaki followed me before I decided to add him as a follower because of my nervousness about exactly this sort of imbalance, but Kawaski follows almost as many people as there are following him. Not an easy thing to manage if you don't use software with automatic filtering and it's testimony to his effort to build a real communication forum using Twitter.

Twitter, step by step
• Join the Twitter network on the Internet at
• Build your follows by connecting with a few users you know.
• Tweet regularly and sensibly, taking the time to get a feel for the flow of the conversation.
• Retweet (think forwarding in e-mail) tweets you like or find useful.
• Visit the Twitter pages of users you like following and find new follows from among their circle. Maco celebrity tweets (PR people write many of these).
• Use a Twitter client, software that filters and organises your Tweets. My tweeps like TweetDeck (Mac & PC, iPhone) and UberTwitter (Blackberry).

Cool things you may not realise you can do with Twitter
Share links to interesting web pages.
Share photos via links to third party websites like, which are designed to work with Twitter client software or traditional image sites like Flickr.
Send direct messages to another user (you must be following each other).
Get spammed (Twitter is fairly aggressive about controlling spam and porn, but it slips through).
Make friends, like @tacarigua, @traceyctt, @georgiap, @blahblohblog, @izatrini, @keith_in_tnt, @lauraferreira, @sweettrini, and @boboleechron to name a few you might want to start following as you begin your journey on the service.

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