Kung Fu Twitter by Kevin Powe

Some Bonus Kung Fu: Tools

These recommendations are all general rules of thumb, rather than technical tips. I’ve deliberately tried to stay away from the low level stuff, but here’s a little more on some good rules to follow, and some tools you might find useful. First of all, which tools do I use?

My personal list is:

Tweetdeck: I use Tweetdeck as my desktop client. Why? Well, apart from the fact that it’s so good that Twitter bought it, it lets me keep up with Facebook and multiple Twitter accounts if I need to, and I can not only create columns for individual lists, but also manage the membership for those lists from within the client (arguably with a better interface than what you get on Twitter’s website)

Tweetdeck screenshot

Tweetdeck also has two very handy icons at the bottom of each column – the eye icon marks all current tweets as having been seen, and the scissor icon clears all seen updates. They’re a great way to cut down on visual clutter. I treat both my direct messages and mentions columns as a ‘to-do’ list, and once I’ve responded to items in there, I clear them from screen as quickly as I can.

Tweetymail: I mentioned Tweetymail and it’s improved email notifications a little earlier, and I’ve put an example below. The app comes in two versions – a free version, and a paid version at $2.99 per month. You can compare access plans at their website, but the basic difference is better notifications in the paid version, and more ability to interact. The free version is still a great way to keep an eye on what’s happening. Tweetymail apparently will let you schedule tweets as well, but I haven’t used it for that yet myself.

Tweetymail notification

Hootsuite: I’ve also started using Hootsuite recently after having it recommended. It provides you a fairly powerful interface for scheduling tweets, and similar list functionality to what you find in Tweetdeck, along with being able to span multiple social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, WordPress and a few besides) Hootsuite seems to be where you go when you want to get very scientific about your social media interactions – there’s a wealth of reporting and analytics information you can get, even in the free version.

Some Bonus Kung Fu: Tips

And a couple of quick tips to close things out.

Replying to tweets
When you’re responding to another person’s tweet on Twitter, make sure that you use whatever your Twitter client’s standard mechanism is to specifically reply to the tweet, rather than just mentioning the person in the reply. If you use Twitter’s website as your main client, it’s the ‘Reply’ link shown when you hover over a tweet. In the screenshot below, it’s marked with a red arrow.

Replying to a tweet

By creating a link between your reply and the original tweet, you’re creating a conversation that can be followed by others on Twitter. In Tweetdeck’s case, it shows a link for a tweet that is a reply, with the text ‘in reply to’ as part of the information for a tweet. You can click that ‘in reply to’ link to see the conversation between two people. It’s only only good form to do this, it’s in your best interests as it makes it much more likely that people will find what you’re saying, understand the context of it, and jump in to the conversation. The screenshot below shows two tweets with the ‘in reply to’ link, marked with a red arrow.

Reply link in Tweetdeck

Twitter’s ‘Similar to’ functionality

This is where I’ve found a lot of my recent people to follow. Make sure that you’re logged in to Twitter in your browser, then go to the page for either one of the people you’re following, or yourself. Twitter will give you a list of three similar people. If you’re not following them, a ‘Follow’ link will appear next to them. Twitter is uncannily good at picking similar people, to the point of finding other Twitter accounts held by the same person. Refresh the page, and you get a new set of three people. It’s a fantastic source of interesting people to follow. The screenshot below shows you where you can find it on a Twitter profile page:

Twitter's "Similar to"

And that brings us to a close. I hope you find the info in here helpful. Your feedback or questions are greatly appreciated, and always welcome. Thanks for reading!

1 Comment

  1. One thing I neglected to mention during the article – and this is just my personal preference – is that I’d suggest against using tools that send an automated direct message when someone follows you on Twitter.

    Unless the message contains information they wouldn’t otherwise know (like links to resources you’re only giving followers) it tends to be transparent that the message is being sent by software, and not a human being.

    Much better to either hand-process new followers, or if you’re in that enviable position of that being too much of a workload, then don’t send anything at all.

    Again, all of this is just my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt. It might not work for you.

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