13 Tips to Hacking Twitter

Hey, What are you doing right now?

This is what Twitter answers in a text message of 140 characters or less. This networking tool is something bloggers use to publicize writings, companies use to elicit brand promotion, and people use to network. Here are ten Twitter hacks to better understand and leverage this new social networking tool.

-1- Be reTweet Worthy.

The biggest compliment you can get on Twitter is a retweet (RT). I’ve posted 2000+ tweets and maybe have been retweeted less than 1% of the time.

-2- Gossip Boy.

‘OH’ is when you “overhear” something juicy and tweet it as OH. This is in contrast to citing and sourcing, “@larryChiang’s Drunk tttrs are funny”. Gossip girls and boys, relish in the guilty comfort and anonymity within the confines of an ‘OH’.

-3- Pick a Twitter Thesis.

Twitter generalists bore. Twitter granularists bore most when they ‘report’ on cereal consumption and choice. Solution: pick a thesis or at least a general focus. My focus is “What They Don’t Teach You At B-School”.

-4- Twitter Ambush.

Some elements of a good military ambush are positioning, preparation, monitoring and of course surprise. Position and preparation are functions of what you selected as your focus. Monitor via Summize. A twitter ambush is where people walk into your expertise and your material springs into action.

-5- Squat a Hashtag.

Conversations can be hash-tagged to get tweets organized. For example, “#SXSW08” is SXSW in Austin and if my math serves me right, #SXSW09 will be next year ;-). In March I’m hosting #VCsecrets as a panel. In the comments below add your hash-tags to various conversations.

-6- Reciprocaters Only.

Ratios on Twitter are very important. The Friend to Followers ratio should be 1:1. Friends are those you follow. The Follow-Unfollow-Follow maneuver is used on someone who isn’t following you. What this does is sends an email notifying you are now following them (even though you were following them all along).

-7- Follow Passion Topics on Summize.

Use twitter search engine called Summize to find tweets about your thesis/focus. You can also use alerts based on keywords.

-8- Oops, I Did Mean to Turn You On

Twitter mistakes are fun and can help communicate a message. Depending on your newbie status, you can ‘fail forward’. For example,
“Favorite @tylerWillis”
This mistake I made when Mr Tyler Willis reTweeted and re-posted a Business Week blog post of mine.

‘Unfollow @gregarious’ is when I didn’t really stop tracking Greg, but wanted to fire a shot across his bow after he talked smack at #BWE08.

-9- TinyURL to Promote.

There are website shorteners for when you’re tweeting a link. This helps you stay under 140 characters. You may have heard of RSS. Twitter is similar to RSS but made slightly more personal.

-10- Live tweet something.

Have access to something newsworthy, informational or breaking?! Live tweet it.
CNN loves the Twitter and your live tweets might make it onto cable TV for hundreds to see.

-11- Read your DMs and @ replies.

Twitter newbies don’t realize that there are DMs – direct messages and @ replies — public DMs. For example, @arielK might tweet “@larryChiang AfterParty at W.” I’d miss it if I didn’t hit my “@replies” from my twitter home page.

-12- Host a Twitter Contest

High brow intellectuals furl at the thought of doing a contest. Me, I have 700 followers because I’ll bribe, tip, comp and bribe people to read my twitter. I said bribe twice because nearly every contestant is a winner.

{CONTEST} Tweet ur fave TIP and WIN a gift card! http://tinyurl.com/twitter20 or http://tinyurl.com/6ak7r2 #larrychiang to play