Twitter Tips For Freelance Writers

Popular trends online in 2009 are social networking and anything else related to Web 2.0, a label used to describe advanced internet technologies such as blogging, RSS (really simple syndication) feeds, and member communities that users join to connect with other people who may have similar interests. In fact, according to a report from Nielsen Online, social networking and blogging are more popular than sending email. More than two-thirds (67%) of the global online community now goes online to visit social networks and blogs.At this moment, Twitter is the social networking darling, with hundreds of people joining daily. Recent data show that in one month, the number of Twitter users grew by 33%. If you’ve heard of Twitter, but discarded it as irrelevant for freelance writers, think again.

As a microblogging platform, Twitter’s free service enables users to send out short snippets of no more than 140 characters (including spaces). These updates, called Tweets, go to your followers and also appear in the Twitter timeline. Twitter began as a vehicle through which friends, family, and coworkers could communicate and stay connected by exchanging quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? Twitter has evolved as Twitter users learned that every Tweet counts (and nobody wants to hear about what you’re eating for lunch). Today, you’ll find more valuable content and less useless information about what someone’s doing at one particular moment in time.

What can you get out of Twitter?

Traffic: Use your Tweets to drive prospective clients to your website, where they can read your bio and see samples of your work. You do have a website, don’t you?
Connections: Use Twitter as a tool to connect with others in your industry or related industries while increasing awareness of your personal brand. You never know who might be reading your Tweets. As with other social networking sites for professionals like LinkedIn or Biznik, social networking contacts often lead to other connections that can generate new freelance clients or employment opportunities. To get Twitter followers and make connections, you need to follow people. Use the “advanced search” function to find Twitter users in your area of interest, follow them, and comment on their posts using the @replies or direct message functions.
Resources: Twitter offers you a steady stream of ideas, links, resources, and tips. Follow people in your areas of interest and they’ll lead you to interesting resources you might not find yourself. I found the earlier link to the Nielsen Online report through a Tweet.
Skills: The challenge of Twitter is to write a Tweet using no more than 140 characters. In the Twitter world, you need to write tight or forget it, which gives you an opportunity to hone your writing skills.

 

What should you Tweet about? The best way to optimize Twitter is to become a filter, teaching your followers mini-lessons and updating them on topics of interest in your area of expertise. The key is to provide followers with information of value. Don’t bombard them with constant self-promotion.

Keep in mind that Twitter is a very “noisy” place. By that I mean the volume of Tweets is enormous. As more people follow you, the volume increases substantially. Since you can Tweet from your computer or your mobile phone, some users send dozens of Tweets each day, which only adds to the noise. The noise level does have an up-side: you can repeat your Tweets, since your followers will probably miss some of your updates, given the number of Tweets they need to filter through.

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