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Learning Twitter - and the Golden Rules

Twitter is simple. Type anything to talk with people. (New Search)

Following and Followers

But wait. Are we missing some basics?

  1. Followers listen to your tweets. How do you get anyone to listen?
  2. To receive tweets, you need to follow others. Who should you follow?
Let's simplify. Here's a list of 100 twitters talking NOW about President Obama.
  1. Hover over a photo to see their tweet. Anyone interesting?
  2. Click-thru on the photo; and then click the follow button beneath their photo.

50% return the follow. 100% should**. The more people you follow (i.e. like thousands), the more interesting the flow.

Click the Like button above to join the chat. Try it.

BTW, after tweeting, click the Twitter-tab above to see your photo on this page.

What's Next

Use our search guides to find thousands of interesting subjects; and millions of people to talk with.

Click-thru, find a topic, and follow to befriend people.

There's so much to discuss.

**Why Should Everyone Share the Follow?

Twitter has the 2,000 and 10%-of-followers limits. If you allow those you follow to NOT return the favor, you're boxed under 2,000 friends.

Celebrities like John McCain, Britney Spears, and Ashton Kushner (@aplusk) unknowingly box their fans. If 200 real or wanna-be celebrities don't return your follows, YOU ARE STUCK under 2,000 friends.

Thus, remember these golden rules:

  • Return the follow of fans.
  • To jump past 2,000 followers, unfollow those who don't follow you - including Britney. Celebrities like BarackObama, DowningStreet, schwarzenegger, WholeFoods, and zappos do re-follow hundreds of thousands of fans.
  • If wanna-be celebrities follow you to entice you to follow, then drops you to make themselves look popular at your expense - block them. It's a stupid pet trick.

If you don't, you're stopped by the 2,000 rule.

*Update: Twitter imposed a new, undocumented rule with 1,000 follows per day. We call this the Invite Limit i.e. follow someone to invite them to return the follow. This impacts whales. They can't return every follow. Sorry ;-) **6/24 The invite limit has been lowered to 500 per day. 7/13 The invite limit has reverted to 1,000 per day. 7/25 Invite limit changed - 1,000 for new accounts; 500 for whales.

We agree with the new rule, but Twitter should not count re-follows as part of the 1,000 limit. Social etiquette says we should return the follow without penalties.

Since whales can no longer follow everyone to see their tweets, you need a new means to reach whales. Type a reply or message like @whalename message. The new Twitter inbox allows whales to see the message.

Don't use DM, which is widely ignored by whales.

Celebrities don't always respond. Social whales frequently do. Note that whales don't provide tech support as a service. Ask favors nicely.

#hashtag for news

A hashtag preceded by the # sign is used to announce news by topic. Each hashtag should be a Twitter search, with a link to simplify access.
  • tv.tearn.com and s.tearn.com uses the #tv and #sports hashtag to retrieve news.
  • If you have news, add hashtags by typing a #hashtag like #tv anywhere in your tweet.
  • Each site retrieves the latest 100 tweets. Refresh the page for the latest news.
  • Use the swipe action to accelerate the marquee.
  • Use #tearn to communicate with us.
A news source should use hashtags. Ordinary users should not, except in retweets. Hashing too much is equivalent to spam - hurting the value of the Twitter medium.
ticker tape using the #tv hashtag

Reply, Retweet (RT), and Direct Mail (DM)

  • A normal tweet goes to all followers.
  • A reply has @person in the message, allowing that person to more easily find your tweet. The message is still public - visible to anyone on Twitter.
  • Each @person automatically becomes a link - like an intro for your followers to meet those you list.
  • #FollowFriday followed by a list of names is a popular tradition on Fridays to recommend follows to your followers. It's a list of your favorite follows. Click on names, review the profile, and follow.
  • Please DON'T use @reply for spam or follow ack. Reserve for true communications.
  • A retweet repeats a message - including the attached link. This sharing passes the message from your friend to your followers. With the current Twitter interface, RT requires copy and paste ;-)
  • The Direct Mail is rarely used by twitters. It functions like email, but contains more spam than substance. About 20% of twitters insist on using Twitter for spam. With 10,000 messages and no search to filter the DM, it's not functional. Don't bother using DM. Legacy email does a better job.

Profiles/Timelines, Search by Name, Favorites

What's the differences among timelines, search by name, and favorites?

  • A timeline (i.e. mini-feed on Facebook) is one-way, your tweets to followers.
  • See your timeline by clicking profile or updates.
  • Access timelines by clicking any @username on the main page.
  • Searching a name creates a two-way stream, i.e. the person's tweets and responses from others. Like a party, if you see a person and an interesting group, listen in and join the conversation.
  • NEW: Instead of clicking on user profiles, try searching on names to see the two-way conversation.
  • A search can be saved - to keep track of favorite personalities and subjects.
  • Favorites can become a filtered, two-way stream - skipping spam and off topic replies.
  • Click the star to the right of messages to add to your favorites.
  • Visit a person's timeline and click favorites to see their filtered stream.
These are personal guides for Twitter use. Your use may vary.

Notes for Whales - Becoming a DJ

A whale is the twitter nickname for someone with more than 10,000 followers. Here are some usage notes for whales.

  • The Twitter API limits services to third-party tools to 150 API calls per hour. This stops automation tools designed to service whales. Sorry ;-)
  • On a daily basis, follower/following counts drop by dozens. Don't be alarmed. Twitter deletes spam accounts that lower counts for followers and followings.
  • Persistent Twitter bugs and policies impact a whale's ability to follow loyal fans. Please be patient as the company attempts to resolve the problem.
  • Update - Twitter's new '1,000 follow rule per day' limits your ability to return follows.
  • Track what your followers say about you. Search for your name. Use the favorite tag to filter the flow for followers. See above notes about 'timeline, search, and favorite'.
  • Consider being the host or DJ for a #webshow or Twitter party. Use the search guides to find and research a topic. Your show can be about music, TV, sports, news, business, stupid pet tricks, or any topic. Use #webshow to announce your schedule and topic. Tweet as the host, an actor voice, or a parody of a live TV show.
  • Users click the supplied link to follow your show tweets, RTs, and invite more followers. It's fun to get the party started.
  • Beware, as the DJ, you will lose followers, but gain more net per show. Radio DJs lose listeners who switch channels. They don't know the loss. Twitter DJs see drops in follows in realtime. Twitter DJs need to be hardened to the 0.01% rejection rates - a new frontier with it's new challenges.
  • 25% of Twitter users have the new Twitter search, allowing them to follow your DJ chat with your audience. Unfortunately, 75% don't and hear half the conversation on your timeline. That should change, soon. Update: 100% have search.

Can you handle the pressure and drama of realtime listeners, unfollows, retweets, and immediate results? No other medium offers these features. It's fun.

If you need topic, hashtag, or scheduling support, contact us by tweeting to #tearn - not DM.

Simple API for Developers, Blogs, Websites

Here's a simple API to create a link to your search results. Below is HTML for Barack Obama.
<a href="http://search.tearn.com/?ph=BarackObama">BarackObama</a>
  • Replace 'BarackObama' with your search term.
  • Encode the query like %20 for space and %23 for hash.
  • Use multiple words for compound search, the OR keyword for optional search.
That's it.

Thanks to the Twitter Community

In less than two months, you have made us the most followed Twitter application - passing both TweetDeck and Twitpic. We're also top 30 among non-celebrity twitter users. In return, we have introduced many hundreds of thousands to Twitter. We did this in less than two months, the fastest growth among 20 million, non-celebrity accounts at Twitter.

Thank you.

Who are we? We are the Tearn Media Network. Our technology is photokit. We're having fun.

RT to your friends.

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