Is Twitter just noise? Have you given up on this personal communication tool? Are you tweeted out? That’s the way I feel sometimes when I look at my Twitter stream. There are Friend Fridays, massive re-tweets of popular quotations, and endless tweets about Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and on and on and on. Is there anything useful taking place here?
Under the surface, I think there is. People are actually communicating, but it takes some tools to sift through the rubble to pull out the gems. Here are three quick tips to make life easier on this high speed data stream.
1. Give Your Twitter Homepage a Facelift. If you are still using a stock Twitter background, you may find that your followers won’t give you the time of day. Here is a quick ten minute solution. Fire up Powerpoint and create a great new background for your Twitter page.You can add pictures, rounded boxes with text, colorful gradient backgrounds, and other cool elements right from Powerpoint.
In fact you can create multiple pages and change out your background on different days. You might create a business page for Mondays, a communication page for Wednesdays, and a fan friendly page for Fridays. With Powerpoint you can create backgrounds quick and easy, save them to your computer and upload them to Twitter on a whim. Here is the Powerpoint tutorial.
2. Use Hashtags: If you are new to Twitter the various symbols might be a mystery at first. You’ve got the @ symbol for addressing a tweet to someone, RT for retweets, and the ubiquitous # hashtag to tag an event, meme, or other keyword together.
The #hashtag can really help you get the most from Twitter search. This simple little symbol can help you cut the noise and find exactly what you are looking for. Just go to http://search.twitter.com and search with your favorite keyword preceded by a hashtag. Here is a tutorial and some popular tags.
3. Use Google Search with Twitter for Amazing Results: Twitter is a powerful tool to find out what is happening NOW. The instant nature of Twitter makes it very useful for timely events such as sporting events, politics, emergencies, or natural disasters.
Unfortunately the built in Twitter search is limited in its functionality. The good news is, Google is now compiling Twitter search results on the fly and has an amazing set of search tools to quickly give you results by time, location, or keyword. Here is a list of scripts that will knock your socks off!
If all this Twitter talk is just noise to your ears, check out Michael Hyatt’s Twitter Tutorial for Beginners. He’ll have you up to speed in no time!