Once I realized there were lots of things about Twitter not readily obvious to me, I decided to do what I always do when I'm stumbling and bumbling. I buy a book by a subject matter expert and try to suck up all the knowledge I can, as quickly as I can, before charging back in whatever fray my mind and/or body has wandered into.
Julio Ojeda-Zapata - Twitter Expert, Author, Pioneer
Julio Ojeda-Zapata is a Twitter expert and he has very recently written a book (first printing - November 14, 2008) on the subject titled 'Twitter Means Business'. As soon as I got wind of Julio's very recent book release I started following him on Twitter and proceeded to order my copy online from Amazon.com. It arrived licketedy split and I immediately locked myself away in a back HairBoutique office and read the book cover to cover.
The book is easy to read and a quick page turner. Once I started reading I couldn't put it down because I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything which sometimes happens when I try to read a book over a period of time.
Whew! Julio's book instantly opened my eyes to some of my most recent Twitter faux pas. After a few moments of retrospective blushing I vowed to do better now that I realized the error of my ways due to Julio's clear and precise explanations.
After I finished the book from cover to cover, the second time, I felt it was important to blog about 'Twitter Means Business' so that any other Twitter newbies might avoid the same embarrassment I'd experienced by rushing onto Twitter without first taking the time to understand it better.
Julio's book offers Twitter Newbie Insurance and helps prevent the uninformed from inadvertently becoming a boorish or condescending talking Twitter head or a stumbling bumbling goofball.
Chapter 6 - Twitter Tips Tricks, Tools
Never one to read a book from beginning to end, I always start with the chapters where I feel I need the instant information injection. Which is why I turned immediately to Chapter 6 - Twitter, Tips, Tricks and Tools and found some shiny new Twitter training wheels.
For some reason I had not previously found Twitternet, Twitter In Plain English of Twitter 101 which was clearly listed in Julio's book. Off I went to start over at Twitter ground zero.
After learning more about the workings of hashtags - those mysterious #s that popped up on a regular basis - I stopped what I was doing and visited twemes.com, twitdir.com and the other reference Twitter searching tools Julio clearly explains.
After studying Chapter 6 I felt even more appreciation for the inner workings of the microblogging world. I also realized how much I had been flying by the seat of my pants.
Microblogging - Can It Help Or Hurt?
If you're not sure before you buy the book, you will definitely have your eyes opened after you read 'Twitter Means Business'. I could relate to just about everything Julio was saying and even found myself shaking my head in response. Companies that don't take the time to at least consider the relevence and importance of Twitter are definitely going to be left behind in the dust.
Conversation - Distribution - Or Both?
Twitter is frequented by individuals, corporations, politicians, even cartoon characters. Some of these various Twitter groups use the tool for conversations via instant messaging or tweeting as IM'ing is called in Twitterville. Others use Twitter only as an impersonal means to distribute information about their personal or corporate brands. Finally, some use Twitter as a combination of conversation and distribution.
Is there a right or wrong way to use Twitter? Not really. But if you're confused, Julio provides lots of great real life examples of how companies from Comcast to Dell use Twitter to communicate, listen, promote or distribute their own brands of information.
Julio's book is not just a technical user guide of How Tos. Through a series of detailed and quick hit case studies he explores the business and sociological aspects of Twitter and how companies - from large to small - should consider the impact of this hot new information platform.
Some of his poignant examples certainly got me thinking about how and why I wanted to present HairBoutique.com on Twitter. The book is definitely thought provoking on a number of levels.
One of the first decisions I made as a result of Julio's book was to remove any blatant (one of my favorite words) HairBoutique.com advertising related to selling products or secret coupon codes.
Yes, we do sell thousands of hair, beauty and fashion related products. But our very essence for being in existence is tied back to my original goal of providing information and advise to hair consumers. That's who we are as a company and that's what I want to communicate on Twitter.
Which is why I also decided, as a result of Julio's examples, to keep the automated links to any new blog posting because the blog is my own personal way to share information with the HB visitors on a timely basis. I also allowed the weekly link to our newsletter to remain because it lets interested parties know what we are up to as business - without trying to sell, sell, sell.
Are my Twitter based decisions along those lines correct? I honestly can't say at this point because I have learned in the past 12 years of doing business on the Web that you must constantly try different things, reassess the results and then try again until you find the best possible formulas. Such is the case with being on Twitter.
Weighing All Of The Information Carefully
Besides the eye opening case studies and helpful Twitter tools, Julio's book triggered new thinking for me about my company, where we were going and how Twitter on a small scale and social networking on a large scale are changing the way a large percentage of people communicate and do business.
When I first jumped onto Twitter it felt like instant chaos. Now that I've taken the time to read and study Julio's book, which I was initially attracted to because of Julio's warm, engaging and likable style, I understand even better than before that Twitter is like a wild and crazy cocktail party with all your potential dream guests in attendance.
Would I recommend twitter means business as a great read? Yes. It's well- written in a very clear, concise and crisp manner. Julio makes it easy to relate to the Twitter principles he puts forth by sharing his own experiences and reactions to using Twitter.
If you follow Julio on Twitter as I do, you get the sense that he's an all around great guy who cherishes his family, friends, Twitter followers and a great burrito. I really got the feeling that Julio sincerely makes every effort to offer the best possible social networking/micro blogging information. His writing is trustworthy and isn't a attempt to grab instant fame, generate fluff and nonsense or extra cash just because Twitter is the hot topic of the moment.
Do I agree with everything Julio says or suggests? No, which is always a good thing for me. It means that his book has generated lots of new thought patterns for me to explore in the future.
So how do I feel about Twitter now? I'll have to get back with you on that. For me it's still a work in progress but I'll be blogging about my experiences as I travel along the Twitter path for the future.For more information about Julio's book visit the Twit In Biz website.