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The Tao of Twitter

By Mike Mindel | September 22, 2007

This content is summarized from The Tao of Twitter, presented by Ed Dale for the Thirty Day Challenge (with a little sprinkling of Mindel). You can also download the slides.

This is the long awaited explanation of why I (Ed) believe Twitter is good for internet marketers.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a web 2.0 tool that keeps you in touch with other people. This is what it looks like

A lot of people wonder what’s the point? Why would anyone be interested in snapshots of people’s lives? At first glance it doesn’t seem to make sense.

Oh but it does.

The Alchemy of Economics

To understand what makes Twitter so successful I have to go back to an amazing book by Paul Zane Pilzer called Unlimited Wealth.

When Paul was writing this book he had one rule: ‘a new technology will be accepted and used once it is better and easier to use than the preceding technology’.

Look at Twitter. It fulfills that rule beautifully. What does Twitter replace? Letting people know what you’re doing and letting them follow what you’re doing.

What used to fulfill that role? Group phone msgs, group email, bulletin boards, forums, and gossip…

Gossip isn’t strictly a technology, more like a human mechanism for sharing facts and views. Wikipedia describes gossip like this

Gossip consists of casual or idle talk between friends. While officially value neutral, the term often specifically refers to talk of scandal, slander, or schadenfreude relating to known associates of the participants, and discussed in an underhand or clandestine manner.

I think Twitter is like gossip but is more value neutral. Twitter, for one thing, is self regulating. Your gossip is public for all to see and others can attribute the things you say back to you. Which makes you more careful. Perhaps Twitter is self-aware, self-regulating gossip or gossip 2.0? (Enough of the 2.0 already!)

Many Ways to Access Twitter

Here’s a screen shot which shows you four different ways to access Twitter just from my screen and one from my mobile.

Each red circle shows you how I have set up my browser to access Twitter.

More Contact = More Sales

The most important reason I think Twitter is so important is the golden rule of sales, more contact with your potential customers = more sales. The person who makes the most contact will make the most sales. Every internet marketer I know is in that position and follows this rule.

See here is my (Ed) particular Twitter timeline

I use this to keep in touch. It’s like micro-blogging.

One Link for Many

If I type a post in Twitterific (a fun little application for the Mac that lets you read and publish twitters) that post can appear in many places.

Due to the way my twitter feeds are distributed this will go out to 16 or 17 places online. E.g. look at the Twitter updates on my website

Google Loves Twitter

Twitter and Google have a great relationship. Google loves Twitter.

It’s not a magic bullet but Twitter is indexed by Google which makes Twitter very useful for low competition keywords.

Most Powerful Lesson of All

Every time we’re communicating with a sales letter or we send out an email we’re face to face communicating.

Our customer (who may not consciously be thinking this) has got their sales defenses up. They’re thinking ‘I’m getting an email or a video from Ed Dale, he must be trying to sell me something’.

Here’s the cool thing about Twitter. It’s side by side communication. Here’s a picture of Dan & I (Ed). Say Dan twitters ‘hey, I’ve found this amazing site, go check it out.’ Do I question it? Do I have defenses up? No. I go straight there. You feel like a fly on the wall.

Where Do I Twitter?

Here’s a specific sense of that ‘fly on the wall’ feeling. Take Twittervision. You can see I’m (Ed) currently in London.

Biggest Mistakes

It’s Not for Instant Messaging

If you use Twitter as an instant message client then you’re dead in the water. There’s nothing more annoying for people following on Twitter to see conversations they’re not a part of. It’s rude! If you want to instant message then use one of these internet messaging clients.

Don’t Sell

If you use Twitter for selling then people will think Twitter is another face to face selling mechanism. You’re going head to head with your customer again and they’re no longer a fly on the wall. Bad idea.

What Are You Doing Right Now?

When Twitter first started they had a brilliant question which has been the entire reason for their growth. That question is ‘what are you doing?’ This question which will never fail you. If you’re stuck for something to write then put in what you’re doing now. e.g going to watch a movie, going out for dinner.

How to Join Twitter

Head on over to http://www.twitter.com.

Click ‘Join Twitter’

Fill in your details

Answer the question

Click ‘Update’ and view your timeline

Follow People

When I find someone who has been really good at something and had a lot of success, I just follow what they’re doing. So go to these addresses to see how Dan & I (Ed). Follow us and take a look.

So let’s head on over to Ed’s timeline

Click follow to follow Ed’s twittering

You can see that I (Ed) follow 19 people and have 1501 followers

Back to your profile

You’re following 1 – Ed Dale. Now over to Dan Raine’s timeline

Do the same. Click on ‘follow’

Now head over to Mike Mindel’s timeline (you want to be the first to know when I post dontcha?)

Follow Mike Mindel

Now you can click on the ‘With Others’ tab

You can now see the whole conversation (this is from Mike Mindel’s own timeline)

Stick Twitter in Your Browser

Want to see your friend’s twitter timeline without going to Twitter all the time? No problem. Just head on over to Twitbin, a firefox plugin.

Click on ‘Download Now’ and Twitbin installs as a Firefox plugin

See Twitbin on the left hand side of your Firefox browser

Here it is a little closer

Twitter from the Twitbin yourself

Stick Twitter on Your Facebook

Head on over to http://twitter.com/badges and stick Twitter on your Facebook

Log in

Add the application

See how Twitter has been added to my Facebook profile

Viral Twitting

Head over to http://www.twitthis.com.

Add the twit this code to your blog so it appears next to each post like this

Anytime a visitor sees a post they like, they hit the ‘twit this’ button and twitter your website – so all their friends can see!

Here it is on my Twitter feed

Twitter Each Blog Post Automatically

Head on over to http://www.twitterfeed.com

Sign up to Twitterfeed and add your blog RSS feed

Anytime Twitterfeed spots a new blog post from you, it will post it to your Twitter feed automatically.

I just love this app.

Add a Twitter Badge to Your Blog

Head on over to http://twitter.com/badges/which_badge and choose a badge for your website

You can customize the Flash badge

You can customize the Javascript badge (which I’m going to use)

Here it is on my blog

Look down the sidebar of this post and you’ll see it.

The Power of Twitter

Whilst out for a stroll you wistfully twitter from your mobile phone…

…and it ends up on a friend’s t-shirt as they walk and talk in Second Life

Economist, author and trend forecaster, Paul Zane Pilzer says: “The greatest fortunes to be made in the years ahead, will not be made in what people were doing 5, 10 or 15 years ago. They will be made in industries that most people today don’t even realize exist, or don’t yet think of as “industries.”’

Think about it…

Next Lesson: Check Moves – How to Sell Without Selling

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Topics: Key Concepts | 15 Comments »

15 Responses to “The Tao of Twitter”

  1. Stany Vanden Eycken Says:
    September 22nd, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    Great overview of the different aspects and uses of Twitter.


  2. Olakunle Solomon Fatoye Says:
    September 22nd, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    1. Absolutely brilliant.
    2. The way twitter is going, it will change all means of communication soon. Hope it will not eradicate email. :-)
    3. Thank you for this piece.
    4. Remain blessed and a blessing.
    5. Regards, –OSF.
    6. You can see that I am learning the ways of twittering my comments too… :-)

  3. Tech Hit Says:
    September 26th, 2007 at 5:42 am

    Great article! My company just created yet another way to use twitter – via Outlook. Check out OutTwit – http://www.TechHit.com/OutTwit/

  4. Mike Mindel Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Tech Hit -

    Nice app. I can now watch my friend’s twitters go straight to my inbox.


  5. Mike Mindel Says:
    September 30th, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    This is amazing. Track what people are saying about you. See http://twitter.com/blog/2007/09/tracking-twitter.html.

    I just send Twitter ‘track mindel’ and anytime someone says something with the word ‘mindel’ in it I get msg’d on my phone. I send the command ‘untrack mindel’ to stop the tracking.


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    October 17th, 2007 at 6:06 am

    [...] The Tao of Twitter [...]

  7. Twitter and new technology. « Kage’s Pages Says:
    October 17th, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    [...] There is of course more reading, I spent some time understanding what this meant before I went and tested it. I can’t say I’m hooked on to this thing and personally I think facebook is gay. That’s probably because I live in India to whom Orkut is home. However give this a try. I have put in the links below.– Chris Bogan’s guide to Twitter – An Ode to Twitter – Guy on why Twitter helps – Tao of Twitter [...]

  8. Twitter: take the 140 character challenge » Website Design Brisbane Australia by Flip Interactive Says:
    October 17th, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    [...] This was my attitude also, until recently, when I came across a post titled The Tao of Twitter by Mike Mindel. [...]

  9. Pfuy » How Twitter Made My Website Better Says:
    October 21st, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    [...] A few weeks ago Chris Brogan published a list of the 100 blog topics that he wished people would cover. One of them was, “How Twitter Improved My Blog,” and I accepted the challenge to write something along these lines. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with Twitter, you can read “The Tao of Twitter,” “Newbies Guide to Twitter,” or “Ode to Twitter.”) Here is my answer to Chris’s request. [...]

  10. Microblogs for Business Development - Do’s and Don’ts « Eric Gonzalez Says:
    December 12th, 2007 at 5:12 am

    [...] It’s always nice to pick up an unexpected call from a friend or colleague you haven’t spoken to for a while. It’s even more exciting when you get no less than four in one day asking you about “this Twitter thing you keep talking about”. Since I’m a sworn enemy of reinventing the wheel, I looked for a microblogging guide for business development people. There’s a number of out there from Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki, Peter Kim, and Mike Mindel, but they mostly attempt to address the “why”. I’d like to address the “how”. [...]

  11. Luisana Santana Says:
    May 7th, 2008 at 5:13 am

    Very but very nice information! Thank-you! Someone explained Twitter to me!

  12. Driven Systems now on Twitter! | Driven Systems Says:
    July 2nd, 2008 at 11:17 am

    [...] If you are not sure about it why not check out  The Tao of Twitter and/or the Newbies Guide to Twitter?  We hope they will convince you to sign up and follow us! [...]

  13. Humans - Blog Archive - From Ego to Ergo: Using Influence in Design - Trampoline Systems Says:
    July 11th, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    [...] webventurer.com/blog/thirty-day-challenge-3/key-concepts/the-tao-of-twitter [...]

  14. Jed Rose Says:
    June 6th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Really simple and logical and easy to follow. I’ve just started to use twitpics and having a lot of fun with that and enticing a few followers as well.

  15. Bora 30 DC Tips Says:
    August 21st, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Mike,

    are you participating in this years 30 DC as well?

    Setup a lens on 30 DC Tips and Tricks and hoped you could add some personal tips as well:

    Would be an honor.