What is all this twitter stuff anyway?

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sylvanworksCLOSED
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Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 7:49AM
So, for the benefit of anyone interested, but completely clueless about twitter I thought it might be helpful if I shared a bit of my experience with it in an effort to help you understand why I find it useful.

I have a few twitter accounts. I created the iStock twitter account almost 3 years ago and have mainly used for 2 purposes, to help people with questions/problems relating to iStock and to monitor when people were talking about iStock (though I could do the second part without the iStock twitter account). Recently it has been turned over to a new crew who are also using it for marketing purposes as well.

It was hugely helpful for communicating with people any time there was a site-wide problem, which as you all know is a .. um .. rare event.

My other account is related to one of the other hats I wear outside of iStock, which has to do with raising pygmy hippos. In any case, it has proved incredibly useful as a way to connect with people interested in a topic, to answer questions, point people to resources and an incredible way to find new resources I am interested in on any given topic (though there is a real lack of info on pygmy hippos right now).

I realize lots of people don't get it, which makes sense when you simply describe it as a way to send messages to strangers in 140 characters or less. However, in practical use, I have made some great connections from using it and have learned a great deal and discovered new resources that I wouldn't have otherwise.

The most useful aspect to me is not so much sending information out, but rather monitoring what information is being sent out by others. It is an incredible pulse check on any given topic.

To do this I use Tweetdeck, which makes the whole thing much easier to manage. Tweetdeck allows you to set up various columns for tracking different things, such as the people you follow, specific searches, user-managed lists, new people following you, and so on. There are other apps that do the same thing. I highly recommend one of them over the twitter web interface. For comparison in a language you will understand ... It is like using deepmeta vs using iStock's web interface to upload. Capiche?

For example, I created a search for "pygmy hippo" which in turn results in a tweedeck column that will continuously display every post that contains that phrase.

/3zb0

What? Not into pygmy hippos? Well that might be because you've never seen one, so go take a look. Now you're hooked. Sorry.

Of course you can search for any topic you are interested in at all. Yes, Lobo has a dedicated #pie search.

The hashtag # next to some phrase or collection of letters is a bit of shorthand to make it simpler for people to follow a specific theme or event. For example, when I was at PygmyHippo World recently the hashtag #PSW was used, so anyone saying anything about the event just included that hashtag in their tweet, so anyone following that hashtag would easily see it.

This makes it possible to follow a given theme without having to actually follow any particular individual. You don't even need a twitter account to use it, but it you do need one to use most apps like tweetdeck, so I recommend setting one up just for that purpose. Plus, you might just decide to get in on the conversation.

Hope that helps!

(don't forget to add yourself to the iStock Twitter directory)

(Edited on 2010-04-06 15:54:18 by sylvanworks)
Willowpix
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Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 7:53AM
Well I am completely clueless about a lot of stuff so that first sentence drew me right in... (Shhh - Now let me read the rest of Rob's post!)
Willowpix
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Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 7:55AM
....OK...strange characters who own pygmie hippos..... (Keep reading Ted!)
kelvinjay
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Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 7:59AM
Tweetdeck, such a stupid name. If I had realised a year ago when I first heard of it, that it handled Facebook updates too, I'm sure I'd have tried it out right away. Oh well, better late than never. Cheers Rob.
FrankRamspott
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Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 7:59AM
so, I need to walk to the zoo to have a look at the baby pygmy hippos
Willowpix
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Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:01AM
OK. Got it. Thanks Rob! But who would hunt that cute little thing for its meat???? It's barely bigger than a Whopper!!!
sjlocke
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Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:02AM
Here's another thing I find annoying about twitter (or at least the web twitter). Holding back and forth conversations in the feed. For instance, iStock has replied @sumogray - "Agreed". And to luismolina - "So do I!". These mean nothing to me. There are many more replies to peoples' questions than informational posts right now. So, the noise to information factor is huge.
RapidEye
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Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:02AM
Thanks Rob, that's very useful. Twitter has been making me worry that I'm turning into an old fart baffled by new technology. Maybe I'll give this a whirl now.
Thomas_EyeDesign
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Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:04AM
Hu*ck it Rob Twitter sucks!!! I've been drinking all day playing with it all day and it still sucks!!!


Rob if I don't win a IPad because I don't understand how to use twitter I'm coming for you! smile

(Edited on 2010-04-06 08:12:21 by Thomas_EyeDesign)

(Edited on 2010-04-06 08:14:04 by Thomas_EyeDesign)
sylvanworksCLOSED
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Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:05AM
OK, here's a more practical example. I'll add a column for tracking the #iStock10 hashtag.

- click the new column button

/3zcC

- then enter it into the search field, and click Search

/3zcm

- a new column appears showing every tweet with that tag

/3zct

I just leave tweetdeck running in the background and periodically check in to see what is happening. At the bottom of every tweetdeck column are some tools to filter the tweets in that column, which is a helpful way to see some of what is being said without being overwhelmed.
sylvanworksCLOSED
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember has had a File Of The WeekMember has been inducted into the iStockphoto Hall of Fame.
Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:07AM

Posted By sjlocke:
Here's another thing I find annoying about twitter (or at least the web twitter). Holding back and forth conversations in the feed. For instance, iStock has replied @sumogray - "Agreed". And to luismolina - "So do I!". These mean nothing to me. There are many more replies to peoples' questions than informational posts right now. So, the noise to information factor is huge.


This is true, and this is often why I find it much more helpful to follow searches on specific words or phrases than to just follow everything any individual might say (though I do both).
sylvanworksCLOSED
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember has had a File Of The WeekMember has been inducted into the iStockphoto Hall of Fame.
Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:08AM

Posted By kelvinjay:
Tweetdeck, such a stupid name. If I had realised a year ago when I first heard of it, that it handled Facebook updates too, I'm sure I'd have tried it out right away. Oh well, better late than never. Cheers Rob.


And LinkedIn if you do that sort of thing.
Willowpix
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Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:10AM
Posted By RapidEye:
Thanks Rob, that's very useful. Twitter has been making me worry that I'm turning into an old fart baffled by new technology. Maybe I'll give this a whirl now.




I've been looking for a part time retirement job. But when the third person (of the first three "trusted and informed" people I mentioned my search to) asked me "Do you twitter?" I was really starting to wonder! Glad to see I may not be totally alone. smile


ETA - But I do have a LinkedIn account, so I guess there might be a glimmer of hope.

(Edited on 2010-04-06 08:15:49 by Willowpix)
sylvanworksCLOSED
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Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:16AM
Here's another cool think in Tweedeck. If you see another person tweet some hashtag that you do not know what it is, you can just click it to create a column for that tag and see all the other posts using it.
sjlocke
Member is a Black Diamond contributor and has more than 200,000 Photo downloadsMember is a Gold contributor and has 5,000 - 12,499 Video downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 125 - 1,249 Audio downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Flash downloadsMember is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Illustration downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto IllustratorExclusive iStockphoto Flash ArtistExclusive iStockphoto VideographerMember has had a File Of The Week
Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:16AM

Posted By sylvanworks:
being overwhelmed.


Eek, speaking of the noise of retweets, two of of those appear to have nothing to do with #istock10 (street photography?) and the others are just more repeating of the "essential bit". Since there are no rules for hashtags, you can spam all you want.
SoopySue
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Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:16AM
Posted By Willowpix:

Posted By RapidEye:
Thanks Rob, that's very useful. Twitter has been making me worry that I'm turning into an old fart baffled by new technology. Maybe I'll give this a whirl now.



I've been looking for a part time retirement job. But when the third person (of the first three "trusted and informed" people I mentioned my search to) asked me "Do you twitter?" I was really starting to wonder! Glad to see I may not be totally alone. smile


You won't have time for a part-time retirement job, you'll be so busy keeping tabs on all your social networking commitments.


I'm OUT, though I guess I'll have to keep checking this iSTock thing tomorrow. Then I'll need to worry about the time differnce, which used to be seven hours, but I don't know if iStock is or isn't on summer time.
jallfree
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Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:19AM
I'm sure Tweekdeck is great... except it needs Adobe Air... and for some reason I don't know my work network will not let a connection to adobe happen. Can't even look at their site (even the IT guy has no idea why)! Managed to set up an RSS feed into my Mail account though which should solve the problem for tomorrow
Willowpix
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:19AM
Posted By SoopySue:

Posted By Willowpix:


Posted By RapidEye:
Thanks Rob, that's very useful. Twitter has been making me worry that I'm turning into an old fart baffled by new technology. Maybe I'll give this a whirl now.




I've been looking for a part time retirement job. But when the third person (of the first three "trusted and informed" people I mentioned my search to) asked me "Do you twitter?" I was really starting to wonder! Glad to see I may not be totally alone. smile



You won't have time for a part-time retirement job, you'll be so busy keeping tabs on all your social networking commitments.


sylvanworksCLOSED
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember has had a File Of The WeekMember has been inducted into the iStockphoto Hall of Fame.
Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:20AM
Another thing I find helpful, in tweetdeck's settings, check the box for "Show preview information for short URLs".

/3zdq


Because we are limited to 140 characters, various URL shortening services have sprung up to take a long URL, like say the one for this thread:

http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=195951&page=1

And shorten it to this:

http://bit.ly/aN6HEt

I prefer bit.ly because it also provides click through tracking information, so you can see how many people clicked your link.
sylvanworksCLOSED
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember has had a File Of The WeekMember has been inducted into the iStockphoto Hall of Fame.
Posted Tue Apr 6, 2010 8:24AM

Posted By sjlocke:

Posted By sylvanworks:
being overwhelmed.


Eek, speaking of the noise of retweets, two of of those appear to have nothing to do with #istock10 (street photography?) and the others are just more repeating of the "essential bit". Since there are no rules for hashtags, you can spam all you want.


Filter?

/3ze0
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