Leveling the playing field: How to be ‘popular’ on Twitter

I realize that folks are concerned about another leaderboard as a gaming mechanism, and while it stroked my ego for a while, I’m equalizing the field by giving away what I’ve learned. After having dinner with Shel last night, I realize I need to give and stay humble, and focus on community, so this is the right thing to do.

I ran into tweeterboard yesterday, and found it valuable, when I first saw it, I was in 8th place, then moved to 1st. Now I’m going to relinquish control to the community, I’m going to give away my secrets in how I was able to attract a large following, in the spirit of sharing because it’s the right thing to do.

1) Figure out why you want to use this tool. Is there a reason, an objective? For me it was to have greater reach in listening and in talking to others, and to really, really know Micromedia and how to use it. Being popular really isn’t a great objective, but being meaningful to your specific network is much more important.

2) Integrate it throughout your online experience. You’ll notice that I ask people to add me from various posts, have it listed in my side role and on my facebook account. It’s available for anyone that’s looking.

3) Add people back. I follow everyone that follows me, I’m following more people than are following me, and that’s a sign that you want to listen to what others have to say. Sadly, it’s a lot to digest so I end up scanning conversations. Go back to number 1, and figure out what your objective is first.

4) Add value when you tweet. I’ve given up on my google reader link blog, instead, I leave links to what I think is interesting during the day. Since I consume a lot of content, I’m acting like a filter. Most who know me know that my focus is on social media + marketing. Last week’s twitter storm was a rare opportunity to connect folks, keep listening to find an opportunity to help the larger group.

5) Ask questions. I didn’t realize this was going to be one of the largest attributes on tweeterboard, so I got lucky. I find Twitter a useful tool to get information back from people, so I like to ask a lot of questions. I learn a lot this way, in many ways, this is an example of social search.

I’ll remind you again, focus on your objectives, what is it that you’re trying to accomplish, if you’re just trying to keep track of your friends or immediate contacts, this is not the strategy for you. This strategy only works if you are trying to gain a large following, it’s not recommended for everyone.

So there you have it, that’s what I learned over the past 9 months of using the tool, hope that helps.

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  • Amazing, the idea and the description! Blogged about it and translated it in German. Michael (http://blog.kmto.de/index.php?itemid=86)

  • Thanks for the translation, wow that was in under an hour.

  • Jeremiah,

    This post further supports the concept we spoke of yesterday http://tinyurl.com/2joszz that social media allows companies to think and act more like political organizations. Most of those organizations are first listening all the time (your point in # 2)

    Then they create a movement through growth and connections. hhmmm, civil rights, Vietnam war, bad memos reported by network anchors, regardless of the issue, political/grassroots organizations have been practicing “social media” for decades.

    Because of technology those who have ideas, want to stimulate discussion, and quite frankly enjoy seeing people engage and build upon it are in a wonderful position to make society better. Social media has proven you can identify, rally, and motivate people (your point in # 4)

    This concept struck me when I attended a panel at BlogWorld and Paul Dunay blogged about it http://tinyurl.com/292rfe

    Your concept of the community manager http://tinyurl.com/39bglh fits right in with this idea and I’m looking forward to see how it plays out in 2008.

    Next time I’m in San Fran we’ll have an Irish Coffee.

  • Jeremiah it’s is indeed human nature. I am no different in that matter. It is “fun” and sometimes feels great to be included into a list. I think you have describes the best use of the Tweeterboard. For personal use and to gain insight in why you are twittering with certain people and they with you. The “who is most influential” aspect is not so important to me, although I can see the spin doctors preparing to enter the community and start influencing the talk.
    But honestly, my best experiences with Twitter are the times that I get into a flow of thoughts/comments with one or more people. It is the interaction that is best about it. I will let others worry about communication patterns and simply engage in it because it brings me inspiration. Thanks for your response, I wanted to say I really like your writings! I think I will try to join into your Twitter conversations 😉

  • #4 really strikes a chord with me. Friends are great and fun. But expanding my network is another benefit of twitter. I definitely look for the folks that know how to add value in these micro-conversations.

  • Jeremiah, It was not our usual back-slapping, gossip-sharing, joke-filled night, but I’m glad some of my points may have come through. You are one of blogging’s shining stars and, hopefully, you you get to glitter a lot longer than I do.

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  • Good post. I agree u need to determine what u use twitter for. Having 1000 followers and adding them means you need a twitterscan, google reader or particls to mine value-which you need time for as well – not enough of it!

    What valuable thing does Twitter allow me to do that I cannot do anywhere else? Follow @jowyang, @gapingvoid or @briansolis. Human filters and adaptors that think like me, sort & render new social & communication prototypes, experiment w new communication proxies, all of this on the fly in an R&D environment like Twitter. Without these people knowing, they are co-creators & co-pavers in my business and that of my clients.

    I can see the impact @jowyang has on the social environment and how he becomes the sharp edge and represents an early marketing opportunity for the Forrester brand in Social Computing. This is interesting as you normally have to pay handsomely to even get access to a Forrester Analyst-is part of the revenue model. @jowyang on twitter is the first time a Forrester employed analyst shares ip and intelligence freely-at no cost.
    Now imagine ALL Forrester analyst getting on Twitter(and the less visible-famous Jaiku). Imagine them allowing subject matter expertise sampling and sharing, through bite-size gems of content;fantastic opportunity for Forrester to gain marketshare virally -especially outside USA where they are relatively unknown to corporates-and show leadership when it comes to social computing. They would have to use @jowyang as a twitter activity template(RFM – recency,frequency, message format), as @charleneli and @forrester are not prolific enough yet.

    When mobile networks started offering sms in late 90′, little did they now about the revenue opportunity that was about to rise to the occassion from nowhere . I think the Twitters and Jaiku’s (micro-blogging) could well become to blogging
    ,email,pocast and IM what sms became to mb talk-time.

    In absence of a laptop & stylus,patiently typed on a veteran O2Xda mini, sent via the Telstra 3,5G network
    from Sydney, Australia


  • Hans

    Wow, thank you for these tremendous comments, its really nice to be recognized for this, you’ve made my day!

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  • #4 really strikes a chord with me. Friends are great and fun. But expanding my network is another benefit of twitter. I definitely look for the folks that know how to add value in these micro-conversations.

  • Mario

    Follow me MarioA87 🙂 Thanks 🙂