Twitter logoSomewhere on Twitter today I noticed that someone asked why, for something as simple to use as Twitter, there were so many guides.

I don’t know how many guides to Twitter there are, but with a bit of googling around today I’ve found several. And my guess is that while the basic process of using Twitter is simple enough, making sense of why you might use it and to what purpose might well warrant a guide – or several.

As Rafe Needleman, a keen tweeter, wrote back in March last year in his Newbie’s Guide to Twitter,

Twitter is an interesting and practical real-time messaging system for groups and friends. It’s just not completely obvious how to get into the “club”. (Emphasis added)

Nor is it completely obvious how Twitter might have any relevance for the broader world of business.

So the answer to the question “who needs a guide to use Twitter?” would be something like “anyone who wants to use Twitter as more than a mere entertainment and sees some potential for Twitter to help them promote themselves and/or their business”.

One of the most interesting items I found in my online search for guides was Christina Laun’s The Twitter Toolset: 50+ Guides, Hacks, and Scripts. The toolset includes six guides, including Caroline Middlebrook’s Big Juicy Twitter Guide.

The Big Juicy Twitter Guide is written very much from the point of view of how it can help your business. It has seven sections, and – like Christina Laun’s guide – has links to a range of Twitter related tools. The sections are:

  • What is Twitter?
  • Socialising With Twitter
  • Using Twitter Properly
  • Twitter Tools | Platform-Specific
  • Twitter Tools | Web Applications
  • Hacking Twitter
  • Multiply Your Twitter Audience

And last but not least, as I was working on this post, my colleague Bill Vick sent me a link to another excellent post about using Twitter, on the Doshdosh site, 17 Ways You Can Use Twitter: A Guide for Beginners, Marketers and Business Owners. It’s quite detailed and thought-provoking. I’d like to study it more closely and comment on it at another time.

In the meantime, reading all these guides and tips makes me I feel I have only just scratched the surface of how Twitter can help my professional development and my business.

Basically, from having been a Twitter sceptic, I am now quite fascinated with its possibilities and keen to hear what use other people are making of it. If you are a twitterer (or tweeter, if you prefer) I hope you will share some of your experience and tips for the benefit of the rest of us.

One tip I have picked up and which is easy to implement straight away is to make my Twitter link – and the RSS link to my “tweets” – better known. I don’t guarantee to follow everyone who follows me, but generally I’m open to following people whose Twitter profile and the kind of things they tweet about suggest we have some common interests, etc etc (for an explanation of the “etc, etc” read some of the guides referenced in this post).

My Twitter link is http://www.twitter.com/deswalsh

My Twitter RSS Feed: Subscribe to Twitter / deswalsh

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).