Thursday, November 17, 2011

Find People on Twitter

Twitter is designed to facilitate conversation, but until you start to follow people, you just have a blank page. But once you find people to follow and talk to, it can become very useful. You can then share posts about your thoughts, asking questions, get updates about news, music, brands, and businesses, and even discover helpful links and information. The trick is finding good people to follow, especially for new users.

There are actually a number of different ways you can find people on Twitter. I'm going to give you a few sites that you can take a look at to find people to follow.

  1. You can, of course, start with searching for people directly from Twitter. Twitter searches for the real names that people enter into their bio fields, but there is no requirement to use your real name, so that can make it difficult to find whoever it is you're looking for. It also makes it hard to verify that the people you actually find are who they say the are, but it's a good place to start.
  2. Tweepz is a good source to go to to find followers, as well. It's hard to improve on Twitter much because of the lack of information required to be on the website, but they do a pretty good job. They let you limit searches to specific parts of Twitter's information, filter those results by follower/following numbers, location, and other extracted terms, and greatly improves on the layout of the search results.
  3. TweepSearch lets you search by Twitter name or location, or search a specific username to get a list of all friends and followers. 
  4. TwitDir is a good one but searches about 3 million fewer users than Tweepz. It has some helpful top lists though if you're concerned with who the most popular or prolific people on Twitter are. 
  5. Twellow is your best bet for finding like-minded Twitter users might be to use a directory, and is one of the most complete. Nearly 6 million Twitter profiles are indexed in Twellow and placed into a huge number of categories. 
  6. There are others like WeFollow, Just Tweet It, Twubble, Twitterel, Who Should I Follow, and Mr. Tweet.
Those are just a few websites that you can check out to see who you should follow on Twitter. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Twitter User Search

Using the Twitter user search on the web site can actually be pretty complicated, depending on what you're looking for. There are different types of searches, like keyword, person, location, date, or even emotional color and semantic structure. What I will do is go down the list and let you know the best ways to search under each of these categories.

If you're doing a word search, it's helpful to know what exactly it is you're searching for. You can do a search for an exact match: "search marketing" or search for any of these words: search OR marketing. You can even exclude words: search marketing -seo. You can search for related discussions that involve a specific word: #seo. You can even restrict your search results to any specific language, which adds "&lang=" to the inquiry string.

To search for people there are fewer options for you. You can find threads by a specified Twitter user: seo from: seosmarty. You can find threads addressed to a specified Twitter user: WordPress to: jdevalk. And you can even find Tweets referencing the specified username: search @mashable.

There is also an option to search locations. You can find Tweets sent near the specified location: seo near: seattle. Or you can find Tweets sent within a certain number of miles of a specified location: near: NYC within:15 mi.

You can do a search by date to find posts sent since or until that specified date: seo since: 2009-03-27. You can also do a search for emotional color and semantic structure to find Tweets with positive or negative attitude: mccain :) or mccain :( or you can search for questions: elections ? and search for useful resources like links to related pages: seo filter: links.

Now to search for specific users on Twitter you can use the easier method. Just type in a name in the search bar at the top and a list of people will come up for you to look at. If you see the person you're looking for, simply follow them. If you can't find them you may have to make your search more narrow or more broad to target who it is you're looking for.

Hopefully some of these tips and tricks will help you find whoever, or whatever, it is you're looking for on Twitter. Even if it doesn't, at least you practiced using some of these tools and they will help you in the long run to find what you're searching for.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Best Twitter App for iPhone

The best Twitter app for iPhone is, of course, Twitter's official app itself. However, if you're unable to download it or just want to try something out, there are other options for you.

Twitterific is the very first Twitter app to ever hit the app store. It's full-featured and award-winning and has a beautiful and intuitive UI (user interface). It even supports link shortening and tweet translation, as well as having the ability to filter your timeline for specific tweet types and trends. It is a universal app for iPhone and iPad.

Twittelator is another good app for download. It has an overload of features that include you being able to not only post to Twitter, but also to your Facebook wall. It gives you the ability to create and share themes. You can download the pro edition of this app which gives more customization, geocoding, and the ability to upload to WordPress and Posterous.

Echofon is a full-featured app with a clean UI. It has a mute option to squelch users, clients, and hashtags, which is one of the unique features of this app. It also previews media directly in your stream so you can decide if it's something you're interested in. If you are, just tap the thumbnail and the photo or video will open. It is also universal for both iPhone and iPad.

Tweetings is a wonderful, clutter-free Twitter app. It lets you search who's nearby and find out what's trending at the moment or see who is around you with Augmented Reality. This app also allows selective automatic updates to Facebook, as well as support for TwitLonger, Twtmore, and URL shortening.

The last one I"ll talk about is Tweetlist. This app offers an excellent way to view lists and quickly switch between them. The tab on this app is quick to access and you just swipe left and right to view the different lists. It is very snappy and has excellent voice-over accessibility support. It even offers support for Twitlonger, Instapaper, and Read it Later. Another great feature is that conversations open automatically - if a tweet is part of a conversation, the entire conversation will be displayed just by tapping on the tweet.

Those are what I think are the top 5 Twitter apps for the iPhone/iPad. So check them out and see which one you like the most and what works best for your Twitter needs.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Twitter OAuth

What exactly is OAuth? It's an open standard for authorization. It's basically an authentication protocol that allows Twitter users to share their private information stored on their site with another site without having to hand out their credentials, like username and password.

You can create new applications on the Twitter developer site and then run it. Most accounts used to have basic auth, but this was turned off in August of 2010. You can continue to use basic auth but it is recommended to upgrade to OAuth because of increased rate limits that are more than double the current basic auth rate limit.

OAuth allows users to hand out tokens instead of credentials to their data hosted by a given service provider. Each token grants access to a specific site for specific resources and for a defined duration. This way, users can grant a third party site access to their information stored with another service provider, without sharing their access permissions of the full extent of their data.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Twitter Follow Button

If you have a website or a Facebook or any other web page on the internet and you want them to follow you on Twitter, it really doesn't get much easier than this. All you have to do is go to this website.

All they ask from you is your username, what color background will be used (light or dark), if you want it to show your follower count, and select your language. Once you do that, it will calculate that information into a section of HTML that you simply copy and paste onto your page, wherever you want it to be located, and the picture will pop up and look something like this:

Okay, your's will probably look not quite as pixel-y and it'll be on your website. This was just a random name I picked out to make up the image so you can have a hint as to what you can make your link look like. 

That would be my best suggestion for putting the Twitter follow button on any website that you have to gain followers on Twitter. There are more websites and resources out there that can help you do this, but with this tool, it is so simple and quick to do, so why not take advantage of it?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to Work Twitter

In the previous blog, I touched on this topic briefly. I'm going to go into the subject with a little more depth here. If you're a beginner or not even quite part of Twitter yet, then this is a good place to start. I'll give you some hints on how to get started and how to work with Twitter.

To start off, Twitter is a microblogging website that enables you to send short messages to your followers. It lest you specify which users you want to follow so you can read their updates all in one place. This network is designed to not only work on your computer, but your mobile phone, as well. You're limited to just 140 characters, so keep your Tweets short and to the point. Twitter is useful for quick communication in group-related activities. If you enter information on Twitter, they can be private, so only friends that you have authorized to see can do so, or you can make them public which means anybody who knows your username can read and subscribe. The best part? Twitter is free.

So now how do you get started? Well, it's pretty simple, actually. Go to twitter.com and join. All  they need from you is your full name, email, and password, and click join, and you're in! For the best results later on, use your real name when you sign up, otherwise people won't be able to find you easily. It's helpful to put a picture up as well, preferably one of you. If you select the option to "protect my updates," people won't be able to read your Tweets unless you authorize them to, but as long as you don't post something stupid like "I'm leaving on vacation for a week with my doors unlocked at 123 First Avenue," it's actually fun to leave that "protect my updates" box unchecked.

Once you have your account set up, tell your friends your username or send them a link to your page so they can "follow" you. Once that's all done, you should link your mobile phone to Twitter. On Twitter, connect your phone and instant messenger accounts by going to settings --> phone and IM. It's a pretty straight-forward process. You can have Twitter send you a message every time someone who you are following posts something new.

Now to post a Tweet is quite simple. Like I said at the beginning, it has to be a maximum of 140 characters, but you can post from any registered device - your computer, your mobile phone, even from an IM. Once you Tweet something, all of your followers can see your message.

Those are the basic things that you need to know to get started on Twitter. Once you've gotten everything set up, then you can read further articles and information online to figure out where to go from here. There are people that are recommended for you to follow, based on your interests, and there are advanced features. But you want to master the basics before digging in too deep.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to Tweet on Twitter

If you're at all new to Twitter, or don't even have Twitter but may be interested in it, the whole ordeal can be kind of mind-boggling. I'll go over a few basics with you here so you can be better prepared on how Twitter works and how best to get the results you're looking for.

First things first. You need to set up your profile. It's easy and effective to let people know that you're a Twitter user. Profiles that have no personal information make you look like a spammer so add a picture of yourself or something you like. Type up a little biography and list something interesting about yourself, or a favorite quote. Put a link to your blog or website because that can connect others to you which brings a positive result.

Don't be rude on Twitter. Don't Tweet useless or degrading things. Just go with the old adage of "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything."

To Tweet effectively, you need to learn the basics of Twitter communication. You only have a maximum of 140 characters to communicate your thoughts. You'll have to practice using abbreviations or substituting words with numbers (like 2 for to and 4 for for).

Once you start Tweeting, you'll see Tweets that you'd like to comment on. To do that on Twitter, you click on the reply arrow (on the right of that Tweet) which brings up an "@" symbol with the username in your Tweet box. You can then use this space to reply directly to what that person said. This will connect your response to their's and will let them know what you're responding to.

You should also learn how to work with the "#" symbol. Using that symbol with a keyword will help people find your tweets when they're using the search function. You can also conduct Twitter searches yourself by typing in the # symbol and keyword that you're looking for. When you do, a list of Tweets that match your terms will be provided.

If you want to locate a Tweet that you want to share with your followers, Retweet it. This is a way to share someone else's ideas and links with your followers. To do this, type "RT" and "@," Then copy the body of the person's Tweet and paste it after the "@" symbol.

You can even keep track of Twitter conversations by using the "@ Replies" folder on your navigation menu. If you don't have time to go through all of the pages for responses, just visit this folder and it is able to show any Tweets that have been left in response to your Tweets. Then you can respond and keep the conversations going from that folder.

When you find Tweets with links or information that you don't have to to visit right then but will want to later, you can add them to your Favorites and refer to them another time. To do this, click on the blank star above the reply arrow, which will make the start turn yellow. When you're ready to review it, visit your Favorites folder on your navigation menu, and everything you clicked on will be right there.

There are a number of other tips and tricks you can use on Twitter, but like I said, these are the basics. Things you need to start off doing before you get too involved. Once you figure out some of these basic things, you can look around and see what other tricks you can do, but learn these first.