Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Four Step Twitter Quick-Start Guide for Business

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This isn't a real post. More like a blog "Post-It" note to my friends ... known and unknown.


Because I'm lazy. Bore easy. Hate repeating myself. Unless ... I'm being exceptionally witty or funny. That happens a lot. Like cosmic clockwork actually. The last known occurrence coincided with ...

Halley's Comet Arrival

I'm only writing this post because a lot of friends and business associates have asked me about Twitter.

Not that I'm a high tech know-it-all. Even when I'm quick, I'm slow.

They don't ask me questions because I'm a Twitter "Expert."

I'm not.

They ask me questions because I actually use Twitter and find it valuable. It baffles them to no end.

But to answer their questions I usually end up emailing the same hodge-podge of answers and information to try to help explain what Twitter is and how to get started using it.

Over and over. The same questions.


From now on I'll just send this link.

Below is a brief description of the Twitter environment and how to get started.

A Quick-Twit Guide

That's all. Four simple steps to get you started. It covers some basic FAQ's and a couple of arcane ones like, "What's a Scoble? Who is this Guy named Guy? At the end of this article are some excellent in-depth resources from others that will help you further down the path. Check them out.

What's A-Twitter?

Twitter is just a microblogging service. Similar to texting and instant messaging. Simple.

BUT ... for purveyors of corporate gobbledygook, it's a tool straight from hell.

Seed of Satan. Demon of the darned. Fathered to challenge sesquipedalian pontifications that mean nothing to no one. Death to long copy. Death to words drained of meaning. Pure wordsmithereen evil-ese at it's basest, non-productive non-valuable essence.

National Security Threat

Twitter threatens National Security, job security, long-standing retro-strategic de-innovation and professional obfuscation.


Because everything posted has to be 140 characters or less.

For you Non-Twits, that's about 15-22 words.

It forces you to be concise, clear and short. The Twitter concept is built around one question 'What are you doing?" You just post your thoughts and answers to that basic question as Twitter updates (which are called Tweets).

How Do I Use It?

I use Twitter to help me follow the latest in high-tech news and applications. Forget Web 2.0. I'm tracking down Web 4.0. It's keeps me up-to-date, educated and informed with the latest business research and reports. Things I would have never seen or known about except for Twitter.

There are also some really helpful and interesting writers and business analysts on Twitter. Amazing ones actually. Same with the people ... people that I would have probably never met or even heard of. Suddenly a whole new business universe appears. It opens lots of opportunities for both networking and real business deals.


Gartner has called people using Twitter "cognoscenti."

Cognoscenti means early adopters with superior knowledge in their fields.

There's some truth to that.

But I use it.

And so do some of my friends.

So there's also not some truth to it.


How does it work? How do I get started?

1. Go to - Sign Up

Setup your user name and profile. Pretty basic stuff. Most people include links to their home web page or blog. I would think most business professional would use their real names, just for credibility, transparency, trust, findability and that kind of stuff.. But not all do. Up to you. I use my name - Http://

2. Personalize Your Account

You don't have to ... but you'll look sorta dorky if you don't at least have a picture of some sort.

I use a cartoon.


Mainly because I look good in it. Professional. A real power-kilt dresser. It establishes my credibility. Like it or not, people judge you like that.

Plus -cartoons age well. They're colorful.

And ... do you really want people looking at your profile mugshot? Seriously? Have you checked some of them out? Those small pictures distort, obscure and can be less-than-less-than flattering. Seth Godin nailed it the other day on one of his blog posts.

"Would it hurt your feelings if I told you that your picture made you look dumpy? Or that it was boring?"
Seth asked it, not me. But I'm just saying ... go look for yourself. At yourself.

How To Do It?

Simply click on the tab marked "Settings."

It pulls up tabs where you can edit your profile picture. (HINT - for my friend John, that would be the tab marked PICTURE). If you want to personalize your background it's easy too. It's the tab marked "DESIGN." You can select one of their preset designs, which are pretty basic and boring or you'll need a picture. Images must be smaller than 800k. GIF, JPG, PNG.

3. Start Tweeting

You're ready to start Tweeting. What do you Tweet? I don't care. What are you doing? What are you working on?

Just type it in the box (HINT - John, type it in under the question 'What are you doing?)and press update.

That's it. You've done your premier tweet.

Ideas. Information. Insights.

From what I've observed, the most successful Twitters freely share their ideas, information and insights. They link to interesting information sources, their own blog or website posts - and they have fun doing it.


If it's business - best to keep it all business. You can still do that and come off personable simply by being ... personable. Real. Authentic. Honest. But...

I generally don't want to know that your smoking a doobie or downing a brew right when you link to your latest blog post on hypothetical supaluminal quantum particles.

Also, as a general rule of thumb, not too much self-huffing or self-promotion. People will tune you off.

Just try not to be a Bozo. What's next?

Good question.

To Be Found or Not To Be Found

You've Tweeted and your world has stayed the same. Nothing moved. Nothing popped. No bells rang. What to do?

Ask friends who are already on Twitter what their user name is. Follow them. Ask them for recommendations. If you're like me, no one I knew was doing it at the time. I just plucked around and slowly started finding people and outlets that I thought were interesting and exceptional and followed them.

4. Twitter Starter List

The 4th and final step to the Twitter Quick-Start Guide is easy. You need to get involved. Check out some people who do it well.

Here's a starter list of people to check out. Some exceptional and interesting people are on Twitter. But note - I follow tech, industry analysts and news organizations. So these might people might not be a good fit for you. At the end of the article there is a list of resources and articles to help you find additional people, companies and topics on Twitter.
  • Guy Kawasaki: AllTop: He's the Guy named Guy people talk about. Does a super job of communicating, keeps it light and funny, yet still promotes his latest project AllTop.
  • Jeremiah Owyang: Forrester Analyst: Exceptional. Shares great information, ideas, insights. Pleasant, courteous, consummate professional.
  • Louis Columbus: Author, Analyst, Friend. Prolific writer on social media and complex business processes.
  • Dion Hinchcliffe: Enterpise 2.0 Analyst - Interested in Enterprise 2.o apps, gaps, widgets and blidgets? He's your Analyst. Always interesting. Always informative.
  • David Meerman Scott: Author of the New Rules of Marketing & PR, Blogger, Speaker. One of the nicest guys around.Occasionally funny. But he needs to hire a real cartoon-torialist to help out. Real class act.
  • David Henderson: Author, Blogger, Emmy-Award Winning Former CBS Journalist. I've read his book "The Media Savvy Leader," it's excellent. He's a Twitter newbie but Tweeter Pro. A gazillion times better than me.
  • Meryl Evans: The Content Maven. Hardest working editor/writer I've ever met. Super Person. Stellar writer. Hangs with a bad crowd though ... bunch of other writers that drink too much and still like to break dance.
  • New Media Jim: Intersection of old and new media. Funny, good insights, good read.
  • Paulo Coelho: Author of "The Alchemist." Great writer - storyteller. One of the first novelists I've seen doing the Tweet-Tweet-Tweet.
  • Nettie Hartsock: Author, Blogger, PR Strategist, Friend.
  • Jennifer Leggio: Social Media & Tech Journalist for Zdnet. Prolific in a good way.
  • Shannon Whitley: Founder of PRX Builder. Super source of tech, PR and Marketing content. Disclaimer ... I'm a big fan of
  • Tim O'Reilly: Founder and CEO, O'Reilly Media.
  • Scobelizer: What's a Scoble? Check him out. Have duct tape handy for your head - to keep it from exploding. Not for the slow-tech faint of heart. WARNING: You will get dizzy.
  • Peter Kim: Covers social media. Some excellent articles on Twitter and Social Media.
  • Andrew McAfee: Harvard Business Blogger. Interesting observations. Actively solicits input and feedback. Involves his audience. Real-time Web 2.0 research for business.
  • David Risley: Founder of PCMech. Wrote "Twitter: The User Manual You Can't Find." You want to keep up with the latest on Twitter and Social Networking Apps? Follow David.
  • Wayne Hurlbert: Blog Business Success Radio host.
  • Todd Defren: PR 2.0 & social media thought leader. Always helpful. Shares valuable information freely and often. Doesn't get enough credit for all the good work he does. Blogs at Pr2Squared.
  • Colby Palmer: Web Developer. I like Colby's iTweet app.
Lynne McTaggert: Author of "The Field" and "The Intention Experiment."

One of my favorite authors and people.

We did an interview and article together that allowed me to go to the dark side of physics, intentions, spirituality ... and my Cal and Chichen cartoons.

  • George Bush- The White House: Okay, this one is a hoot. They only follow 9 people. What happened to this Big Brother crap? I couldn't get a rise out of them with 10 Tweets asking why they weren't following me. And ... who are these people they ARE following?
  • Donna Hedge Burns: Marketer, writer, Public Relations maven. If she was running PR for the White House ... they'd have a bigger, more qualified following. And more friends.

  • Julie Devoll: Senior Publicist, New Media for Harvard Business Press. Why Julie? Well, truth be known, a couple years ago I wrote an interview/article with one of the Harvard's authors (Donald Sull) called "Good Companies Gone Bad ... The Donkey Goes to Harvard," (this was before Donkey O'Tee was world-famous like he is now) and Julie was great. Had a sense of humor. And really ... if you ever saw the "Honorary Harvard Donkey Scholar photo" you could see where they might object - if they were huffy-puffy-stuffy intellectual snobs. They didn't. Hmmm. But, now that I think of it, I haven't heard from Julie since.
  • Michael Pranikoff: Dir. Emerging Media at PR Newswire
  • David Wilson: Author, IT Manager. One of the reasons I like Twitter is because of folks like David. Never met him before. Probably never would have met him except for Twitter. But I had some questions on blogging platforms and David offered help and information within minutes of me posing the question. His answers were right on. Check him out.
  • Pam Gilchrist: Pammy is PR Chicken Soup for the Soul. Teacher. Author. Thinker. Friend.
  • John Mangan: Business Development, Analyst Relations expert, Most Excellent Friend (but never picks up a bar tab).
  • Me: Best cartoon-torials on the Twit based on my totally non-objective, spectacularly flawed and biased analysis.
Now What?
"Steve, I thought you said 4 steps?"

Yes. To get started.

I didn't say that's all there was to it. You're going to have start using it. You have a starter list. You've done some Tweets. Now what?

Simple. Just watch, listen, learn. Get active and participate. Twitter doesn't take a lot of time. But it could also take all of your time - be wary. Just start. Do it. Comment. Add to a conversation. Your comments might be "working on blog post." "Researching AI software codes" - whatever.

Find and follow people you find interesting. One good way to do that is to find an exceptional Twitter, one you really like, - see who they follow - check them out. Then follow them if you think they're interesting.

How To Message Directly?

Send people direct messages occasionally to introduce yourself or comment on a topic.

How do you do that? Like this: use the@sign and the username.

@stevekayser - then type your message.

Private Message

You can also send private direct messages. The messages above anyone can read. But if you want to keep it private click the "Direct Message" tab on the right side of the menu.

But No One Ever Tweets Me Back

Sure they do.

It's just not so easy or intuitive to find them. Couple ways to do that.

1. Go to:
2. Type in: @username (whoever you are messaging)


I would type in @stevekayser and the search results would look like this this.

Those are the messages Tweeted at you. I keep track of them by clicking on the ORANGE RSS Tab on the right. It adds them to my homepage and keeps me constantly updated without having to search each time.


Another good way is to use a new tool called iTweet. It's located at

You sign in with your Twitter username and password. It's an interface to Twitter but it has search and a handy how-to guide built-in. Clean look and feel. If you haven't started using Twitter yet, and don't care much about wanting a personalized design for your background, start here first. It's the way to go.

Just start. Explore. Read. Do.

Have fun.

Additional Resources:

14 Great Reads About Twitter for Business Use:
  1. Guide to Twitter for Business: By Shara Karasic,
  2. Top 8 Twitter Tips for Business: By Ellen Petry Leanse
  3. Question To Consider Before Using Twitter for Business: By Twitter Maven
  4. Why Twitter Matters: By Stephen Baker, Businessweek
  5. Tweeting for Companies 101: By Tara Hunt
  6. How To Listen for Opportunities on Twitter: By Chris Brogan
  7. The Evolution of Brands on Twitter: By Jeremiah Owyang
  8. Why Brands Are Unsuccessful on Twitter By Jeremiah Owyang (told you he was good)
  9. Is it Time for Corporations to Get a Twitter Presence?: By Valeria Maltoni
  10. Ultimate Guide to Twitter Tools and Resources for Journalists: By New Media Bytes
  11. Twitter for Business Reading List: By Pistachio Consulting
  12. The True Meaning of Twitter: Fortune Magazine, August 2008
  13. How Tweet It Is: Clay Shirky and Bob Garfield
  14. Huge Twitter Resource Page:




Nettie Hartsock said...

you are so wonderful and smart and you make my heart "a twitter."

Nettie H.

Jeremiah Owyang said...

Thanks for including me in this list, wonderful things to live up to!

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