Every year in August, from Alabama to Ohio, there is something called ‘The 500-Mile Yard Sale’. People down a particular highway that runs from Alabama to Ohio will set up sales in their yards. I’ve always wanted to go to this as it sounds fabulous.
If you’ve ever been to yard sales, you know it’s a very hit-or-miss proposition. You can spend all morning going to sales and never finding anything of interest, then suddenly come across a yard sale that has everything you’ve been looking for.
Twitter, in the last few years, has become very similar to a yard sale. There’s still some good stuff, but there’s also a lot of useless crap that you have to wade through to find it.
There’s three ways I find the good stuff on Twitter:
1 – Twitter lists
2 – Twitter chats
3 – Twitter searches
1 – Twitter lists are a great way to keep up with a group of people that are organized by some common trait. Maybe they all live in a particular town, maybe they are all reporters covering a particular industry, maybe they are all fans of a particular hobby you enjoy. There’s some common thread that binds them, and makes it valuable for you to see their tweets. Here’s a list of the Twitter Lists I have now:
As you can see my lists are private, and organized around cities, interests and business. I also like to keep a couple of lists of close friends so I can make sure I see what they are up to. All designed to filter content on Twitter so that I don’t miss the ‘good stuff’.
2 – Twitter Chats are a wonderful way to connect with people that share a common interest. I still to this day think that Twitter chats are the best way to cultivate and grow a valuable Twitter network. Twitter chats are completely versatile, and cover literally every topic under the sun. If you want to use Twitter chats as a professional growth tool, just join chats around topics related to your industry or space and interact with your peers. You will not only make professional contacts, you’ll learn a lot and stay up to date on what’s happening in that space or industry. You can also use Twitter chats as a way to connect with people that share a common hobby or interest. This is another way to meet and follow people that share similar interests to yours. The one downside to Twitter chats is that they are typically only held for one hour at a time, once a week. So if you miss that hour, you miss the chat. For instance, I miss a lot of great chats because they occur from 10am-Noon during the week, when I am typically my busiest.
3 – Twitter searches are a great way to keep up with what’s being said and shared around particular topics or phrases. I use these to keep up on the latest news and articles around topics I am interested in, but I also use it to find new people to follow.
Here’s some searches I have saved:
As you can see, these searches are mostly people sharing links to articles they have written. But I’m searching for marketing terms, if you changed the term to something else you might get more conversational tweets versus promotional. Still, of these three tactics listed, I use this one the least often.
So there’s three ways you can extract more value from Twitter; Lists, Chats and Searches! Try these today and see if you don’t find Twitter more useful as a result!