Understanding Social Media Part I – Twitter, Tweeple, and the Twitterverse

Twitter, social media, social media marketing, and Internet marketing seem to be inextricably linked! This is the first in a series on Twitter applications, tools, and their usage, both in a purely social sense and in a marketing context. It is my hope that by the end of this series you will have at your disposal a hole new set of tools and applications, and a clearer understanding of the true nature of Twitter and how it fits into the Internet marketing landscape.

The world is a flutter over Twitter, it has emerged as the darling of social media and all of the Internet. There are a myriad of Twitter tools and applications available for novice and expert, alike. Or should I say “newbie” and “guru,” alike? Interestingly, the jargon of social media, in fact the lexicon of all Internet marketing seems to have accepted this rather broad [mis]use of the term “guru.” Be that as it may, Twitter is an undeniable hit and a social media platform that in this author’s opinion has yet to reach its full potential. The number of applications, tools, websites, articles, blogs, marketing strategies, and advertising opportunities centered around and focused on this latest phenomenon are absolutely mind-boggling. In this article, the first in a series, and future articles we will discuss a few of the more popular Twitter usage platforms. While this article will focus on the most used, and most accepted of the Twitter usage platforms, single and/or multiple, Twitter itself, subsequent articles will reveal several remarkably innovative tools just now beginning to emerge, taking their place in what some refer to as the Twitterverse!

Twitter as a Stand Alone Platform

The first application or platform we will discuss is of course the most obvious, Twitter itself. Remarkably, for all of the alternative tools and applications available, Twitter offers an impressive array of features without ever leaving the nest. By now we are all aware of the 140 character limit, and while there is an application available which makes it possible to double the limit, most of us have become quite comfortable using 140 characters by way of abbreviations, contractions, and other Twitter-esque codes, enabling us to get our messages or “tweets” to one another.

Trending Topics

“Trending Topics” is just one tool made available without ever leaving the front page. The “Trending Topics” tool allows one to view, at a glance, the most popular topics of the moment. Interestingly, most topics have very little to do with Internet marketing, at least directly. The search feature, usually found on the sidepanel, at least on the more basic, traditional page, allows Twitterers or Tweeple depending on who you listen to, to type in any keyword and, regardless of whether you are following the individual or not, you immediately get up to date tweets, relevant to that keyword. There are a number of applications using various approaches to the search, various Twitter search engines, but the very simple search application is more than adequate for most Tweeple!

The Profile Page

The profile page allows an individual, any individual, to check out at a glance what any other Twitterer has been tweeting about, as well as refreshing their mind about their own tweets. Not only that, it also provides, in most cases the name, location, web address, and a short biography about the individual. The profile page also includes the number of followers and those people who are being followed by the person. Finally, the profile page also provides the number of updates for any given individual, indicating how active, in a very broad sense, the individual is or has been, and their last tweet. With the information on this page, you can tell what a person is focusing on, how often and at what times of the day or night they are most likely to be on Twitter and tweeting, and how many and whom they are following; and, vice versa. Actually, this is a great deal of information and can be very useful when deciding whether or not to follow or follow back.

Find People

The next tool Twitter offers its users is the “Find People” feature. Interestingly, this tool has a number of uses, beyond simply locating a specific individual. Like the search application, the “Find People” tool may be used to find everyone who has mentioned a given keyword, when they have talked about it, and to whom. Beyond that, Tweeple can then see who those individuals are tweeting with and if those Twitterers are also tweeting about the same topic to others, going deep into another’s list of followers and across lists. The keywords can be anything from back pain to the Iran elections, the results are the same, identifying possible followers, Tweeple with like interests. With this information you can decide whether or not to follow someone, simply offer a suggestion to help them or the maybe answer a question, perhaps make a comment about an observation they made, thus enhancing your authority, “your brand” in the Twitterverse!

Setting and Connections

Finally, one of the newest features or at least the one the social media phenomenon has enhanced greatly of late is the “Connections” feature, within the “Settings.” Twitter has added several tools and applications that not only enhance your search abilities but also allow you to follow others easily and to unfollow faster, as well. Many of the applications and tools in “Connections” are designed to enhance your ability to connect with other Tweeple with like interests, track current trends, and also advertise yourself and your services across the Twitterverse. I would definitely recommend FlockToMe, Twibes, and Tweeple pages. In fact, any of the tools listed on this page with help you build a nice following, and free!

Does Twitter Pay?

Twitter has taken the Internet by storm. Social media is the darling of the Internet and social media marketing the new brass ring everyone is reaching for. Social media marketing may in fact be an oxymoron, as stated previously. Interestingly, social media, for all its recent press and attention, is still something of a conundrum, a paradox even. While many believe there is wealth in social media and particularly in Twitter, I believe the jury is still out. Ploked just announced that Dell’s announcement of 3 million dollars in sales, attributed to Twitter, is validation that the social media giant is now a legitimate marketing vehicle. I am not so sure. In this series of articles, we will discuss the various applications and tools, particularly the really cool ones; and there are some awesome ones!

The $3,000,000 Question!

We will also spend some time analyzing the state of social media and attempt to get a handle on such assertions as those made by Ploked, Mashable, and others. Because that is actually the 3 million dollar question, isn’t it, “Does social media pay?” And beyond that: “Does Twitter pay?” In this author’s opinion, the data while suggestive is by no means conclusive, and may be misleading. We will see in subsequent articles, and videos, in this series on social media.

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