"You, too, can make Twitter work for you!"
My first few months on twitter, I spent my time making fun of it..."who needs another tech nerd geek web thing I don't understand!?," I pontificated. The cool kids agreed with me.
But then I saw the light, and I was saved. One day, the 20-year-old American Apparel manager who was redoing my web site for me showed me the wonders of Tweetdeck--a free, downloadable interface that turns the periscope that is twitter.com into the windshield / dashboard that is Tweetdeck. Suddenly, I "got it"--and soon, I was a zealous twitevangelist, preaching the wonders of Twitter to strangers in cafes.
Now, just three active months on Twitter later, I've gained 4,900 followers--and, more importantly, Twitter is among my web site's top ten traffic sources. Even if you figure that only one or two percent of one's followers actually click on a link in any given tweet, I now have the ability to magnetize, say, 75 clicks, instantly, on any blog I find or cover.
Twitter is perhaps the internet's second greatest tool (after Google), the greatest leveler for grassroots media in going up against companies with things like, you know, staff and money. But it's not just useful for media. Whether you're a local coffee shop tweeting about a noon special (buy a cupcake, get a free cup of joe) or a grassroots media organization (you're working in home-office and haven't yet got around to showering or getting dressed properly), Twitter allows me--and you--to make like the American Revolutionaries and get guerilla, hiding in the woods and shooting free, instant, international tweets that can go toe-to-toe with the organized and well-armed red coats.
Your ability to communicate news-you-can-use in a fun, personal, interesting and succinct manner is all that counts in Twitterland.
How do you make Twitter work for you? Download Tweetdeck, free--and add a couple columns for Friends & Movers & Shakers. [There are other popular Tweetdeckish tools such as Tweetie, Seismic, Twhirl, others...if you prefer one of these, leave a shout-out and link in Comments below]. Now, follow a bunch of green and local (or whatever your interests are) tweeters and build your @followers. Don't be too stingy about who you follow--follow anyone who interests you, particularly when you're getting started.
How do you find good folks to follow? First, click on who's following friends and like-minded allies, and follow some of them. Then, every Friday there's a thing called #FollowFriday, where tweeters give shout-outs to like-minded Twitter pals. And now there's #ecomonday, as well. Whenever you see said shout-outs, click and add those folks. You can always unfollow anyone whose tweets you don't wind up liking (say, if all they do is offer web specials and giveaways to RTers).
RT? Retweet. That's where you pass along a tweet that you like to all your followers. It's a great, easy, feel-good way of spreading the good word, and bringing a favorite fellow tweeter to the attention of your followers. Do it at lease once a day, hey?
Soon enough you'll have a means of communicating with an active, instantly-present community of readers and personalities. But mark my words--get on Tweetdeck or something similar--until you do so you will, as I did only two months ago, look down upon Twitter as just another online craziness for e-nerds.
My "Ten" Favorite Tweeters for Green/LOHAS news you can use. Follow 'em!
1. DerekMarkham (probably my favorite, most-clicked upon), TwilightEarth (his partner in green arms), MattGup (one of my original green virtual allies), thecitizen (out of LA, helping us get past Green-this Green-that Hype to...Green Habit), MaxGladwell (put tech + green together, you got = Max Gladwell--founder of #Ecomonday, which is like #FollowFriday but green-focused and, well, it takes place every Monday).
2. ChelseaGreen (great green publisher, great green tweets [though lots of promos, which tire me out a little]), Current_Green (my kind of media)
6. Treehugger (the original digital green powerhouse), Grist (the other original digital green powerhouse), PlanetGreen (the first 24 hour all-green TV network, the reason I got my first TV since I was a kid, the network I hope to host a LOHAS/green talk show or Boulder-based reality show upon), WendMagazine (my kind of media, along with GOOD is the best mission-driven paper magazine left standing)
Seventh Inning Stretch: anyone sick of the sound of the word "Green"? Let's switch over to "Eco," shall we?
7. Ecorazzi (great tweets mixed with a ton of promotions), Ecofashionista (you want eco style? Follow her), Ecosaveology (a savvy eco networker), OppGreen (Opportunity Green, a great eco conference, had us at their Top Ten Eco Twitter list)
8. your friendly Local tweeters! What's more eco-responsible than supporting and being an active part of your local community? Search twitter for tweeters in your town. In Boulder, where I live, all I have to do is go to search.twitter.com and enter "Boulder." Then, follow all those folks talking about Boulder in an interesting manner. If so inspired, you can then blog your favorite local tweeters, give 'em a little support. I did one on Boulder Tweeters, here.
9. Greendig (one of few web sites on our blogroll), SheaGunther (he, along with Mr. Markham, above, might be my fave individual tweeter), MotherNatureNet (a multi-kajillion dollar start up that seeks to bring eco-responsibility mainstream)
10. elephantjournal (amazing, good looking, charming and most of all, humble. Our tweets focus on eco, LOHAS, political and local. We're an avid RTer, #followfriday-er. We tweet our own content and others' content about equally, and we never tweet tacky specials in an effort to get more followers).
Disclaimer: This list is written after one dry cappucino, one americano, one black coffee, a big veggie lunch and pre-exercise (climbing)...so frankly I'm a tad out of it. If I left you off, please include your twitter name and/or favorite tweeters in the Comments section, below.
elephant journal dot com has made Shea Gunther's of MNN's national list of Ten Great Green-minded Tweeters you Should Follow, Opportunity Green's Top 10 Eco Twitter to Follow list, the Top 10 Green Video Blog thanks to Karl Burkart of MNN, and the 60 Evolutionary Leaders (Whoot, whoot!) Shift List.
Want more green followers? Add your twitter id on Shea Gunther's brilliant new post for MNN.