Good Day Class!

Today I have the honor of introducing Hunter, of Hunter, as your substitute (guest writer) teacher.

Please take your seats.

It’s great having you here, Hunter.

Without further ado, I’ll turn my outstanding, well behaved class over to you.

I’ll check in on you later and see how it’s going.

Hello, class.

Let’s all take a seat and open our books to page 115.

Hey, who put this whoopee cushion on my chair?

Cath Lawson, I’m looking in your direction!

Enough of that! Let’s get on with the lesson

A new blogger quickly discovers that blogging involves far more than just writing posts. There seems to be an endless number of things demanding our attention, and it’s no wonder that bloggers often feel overwhelmed.

With so many things to do, how do we decide what’s worth spending time on?

Recently, I’ve come to see Twitter as one of the most valuable blogging activities.

Today’s Lesson

Twitter is a social media platform that lets people write short messages called tweets, limited to 140 characters. You can follow other Twitter users, meaning that you’ll see all the tweets they write.

The alleged use of Twitter is to answer their question “What are you doing?” But Barbara posed the question, “Twitter – Do You REALLY Care What I’m Doing?” That’s a good question, and one that’s been on the minds of many people considering Twitter.

You can see an example of a tweet in the picture at the top of this post, where a Twitter user (I call them twits) has announced that he’s sitting on the toilet. Does that make you want to rush off and join Twitter immediately?

Probably not, but I’ve learned that Twitter is immensely more valuable than I first thought. Let me share some tips.

1. You need to use a Twitter application, rather than the web interface.

After you sign up for an account on, you’ll probably start sending tweets through the web interface. But once I switched to using TweetDeck as my Twitter application, it suddenly came alive because of the real time aspect. It’s hard to explain why, you just have to try it.

2. You don’t need to answer the question “What are you doing?”

Some people say the first rule of Twitter is to never answer the question “What are you doing?” If you’re only posting mundane tweets about everyday life, people will probably stop following you. Instead, you can share jokes, quotations, useful links, epiphanies, etc. However, I also like to know what people are doing.

3. Twitter doesn’t have to be a big time commitment.

It’s not like email where you have to read everything. You’ll miss most tweets, and that’s OK. I only sign in when I’m doing tasks that don’t require much concentration. Sometimes I won’t be on Twitter for a few days in a row, and I don’t feel guilty at all. There’s absolutely no time pressure.

4. Twitter is great for blog traffic.

I see it as similar to commenting on other blogs. The difference is that tweeting is easier and more visible. Twitter is currently the 7th biggest traffic source to my blog.

Today’s Assignment

Have you been hesitant to give Twitter a try?

What concerns do you have?

If you’re using Twitter, so you see it as a benefit or a burden?

Feel free to ask any questions you may have about Twitter, and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Did I see a hand go up in the back of the classroom?

Yes. Go ahead with your question

Hunter_in_Japan.jpg Want to find Hunter on Twitter? His address is Hnuttall on Twitter. Or if you prefer, on his blog you will have access to a variety of fabulous ebooks he has authored, as well as dozens of articles that share his insight.

Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg

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Look Who's Talking
  1. Yes teacher, I have a question. Wait a minute–how did I get down here with the rest of the class?

    Anyway Barbara, I just wanted to say thanks for letting me sub today. It’s a pleasure to give a lesson to this (usually) well behaved class.

    Now, let me return to the front of the classroom. I think I saw someone raise their hand…

    Hunter NuttallĀ“s last blog post..How To Give And Receive Advice (With Minimal Casualties)

  2. I have been really hesitant to try twitter until a couple of months ago. The following is my view on it…

    1) Twitter can get you help pretty quickly though via shortened URLs
    2) Can do quick polls and the results can be filler posts on a boring day when you are struggling to find a topic
    3) Can sell your affiliate links easily.
    4) Can send new post alerts etc.

    1 & 3 combined can be pretty bad at times. When I ask a simple question of which is the best professional WP theme for my blog (and I want genuine answers to make my investment) I will immediately get 5 replies stating ‘this one is amazing’ and they add their affiliate link there. Since it’s a shortened URL nobody can figure out until you reach the actual link and sometiems never.

    Despite, it’s a great social networking platform for anything other than social networking and microblogging. I feel, it can be a great ‘social marketing’ tool šŸ™‚

    But your points 1 to 4 are great to give a twitterphobiac to get started well with it… Nice post.


  3. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Teach! You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure having your here.

    I’ve been hesitant about joining Twitter. Here’s why. When I do something, I like to learn it thoroughly and do it the best I can. I look at my present situation and don’t feel I have the whole blogging thing down – mainly that which happens behind the scenes, like coding and SEO (search engine optimization), etc.

    Add to that my memberships with StumbleUpon, Digg, Blog Catalog, plus a few others whose names escape me. I have yet to learn any of those thoroughly.

    Then I look at joining Twitter and I think, “Is it a good idea to add another activity to my blogging plate when I haven’t finished learning any of the other activities I’ve started?

    Yikes, I could be failing this assignment. šŸ™

  4. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    How important is it to have a rhythm for twitter?

    I’d rather be bursty than consistent. Will that work or is it more of a daily rhythm thing?

    Scenario – let’s say you’re awesome on Twitter for a week, then hang dry for a few, does it matter?

    I haven’s started since I got some other high pris and I didn’t know if Twitter was something you could dabble in or once you hop on the ride, you can’t get off (or if you do, you plummet to a place where you can’t climb back up.)

    J.D. MeierĀ“s last blog post..My Favorite Personal Development Books

  5. Hi Hunterl

    I’m pretty new to all of this social media arena(and to a lot of technology stuff), so, just starting on stumble has been a biggy.

    Somehow the fact that twitter is “beyond the internet” too, scares me. I guess I will get to it someday…


    LifeMadeGreat | JulietĀ“s last blog post..What To Do When Someone Is Unpleasant Towards You

  6. Hi J.D. – I might be able to let you know! šŸ™‚ I’ve been on Twitter for a couple of months and off now for a few days. My use has been inconsistent because of holiday workflow at my business. I just can’t seem to keep all the plates spinning!

    Hi Barbara – I’m going to be evaluating how to manage my social media tools. Like you fear, I know I’m not giving some of them my best shot. I planned on prioritizing and coming up with a better plan between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

    Hi Hunter – Your best piece of advice is to use a different client for Twitter so the tweets arrive in real time. I wish I’d known to do that right away.

    Thanks, everyone.

    Betsy and PeteĀ“s last blog post..SOME CHILDREN SEE HIM . . .

  7. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    hey hunter. i started using twitter a few months ago and it’s super fun. before i was like you gotta be kidding me. tweet what i’m doing, who cares!!! its more than just that. i like reading what other people are doing, i like reading what they are’s background noise that i can read whenever i want to catch up to someone’s thoughts. people also tweet their blog posts, which is cool, but if that’s all you do, then i can read your blog for that. it’s like a behind the scene look into a blogger you might not get to see on their blog.

    i also use twhirl , thanks to marelisa for pointing me in the right direction and vered helped in sending out a tweet to her followers, so that gave me a good starting point.

    @barbara, you can relax on twitter. there is nothing to do well. or wait, maybe there is and i’m just not doing it. i guess those who use it to make money, perhaps. i have visited a few blogs on a regular because of twitter and i have seen some of my followers on my blog as well. trust me, i’m not good at it at all. i’m just thinking out loud.

  8. I started using Twitter a month or so ago, and I’ve had nothing but positive experiences. I think the key is to have a goal or two in mind. As a writer and PR professional, I use Twitter to connect with others in the same field. I’ve met some amazing people, both in my city and all over the country, who have shared resources that have helped me in my career. For example, I had to miss a local networking meeting this week due to traffic issues, but a contact on Twitter attended and emailed me her meeting notes after I mentioned I missed the meeting. I was able to gain some valuable information just by putting up a quick “tweet.”

    It’s also a great way to promote your blog and gain readers. I’ve also found some great blogs and writers through Twitter.

    Deborah JohnsonĀ“s last blog post..The Best Christmas Ever

  9. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Hunter and Barbara – I’ve been using it a little bit lately, and I think it’s good because you can say, and read, things that we don’t talk about on our blogs – have some behind the scenes communication with each other (in a less formal way than email). Like Natural said – you just start doing it and that’s all there is to it. I know I’ll enjoy it more when I get twirl or twitterrific.

    RobinĀ“s last blog post..What If? The Movie – Clip 3

  10. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi … I have been using Twitter for quite a few months and it is all positive. You get to meet a lot of folks along with blogs that you did not know were out there. I’ve learned a lot using twitter and the end result is just to give it a try!

  11. TumblemooseNo Gravatar says:


    Don’t think for one moment I’ve forgotten about the spitball incident when you were in MY class, Mr. Man…

    (raises hand)

    Mr. Nuttall? I get a lot of notifications for people who are following me. Is it a good idea to follow all of them back? I mean, the idea is to get as many followers as possible, right?

    Oh, and what time is recess?

    šŸ™‚ George

    TumblemooseĀ“s last blog post..Thursday wrap up – Kontera

  12. I feel like I shouldn’t comment because I will just start saying how much I love twitter like I always do šŸ™‚ It’s fun, educational, and is a great way to find freelance work. I get quite a bit of traffic from Twitter.

    Kim WoodbridgeĀ“s last blog post..5 Unpopular (Anti) Social Articles

  13. After the whoopee cushion John reaches back to Cath Lawson sitting behind him for a quick high five.

    Hello Mr. Hunter, you should try to stay away from those huevos rancheros so early in the morning!

    Ok – about today’s assignment, if I tend to disagree with the logic that twitter is useful would I get an “F”?

    Have I been hesitant to try – yes.
    What concerns do I have:

    The Business End Of Twitter:
    Well, here’s the thing. I tend to think Twitter is a huge waste of time if you’re thinking of using it in your business model. I don’t see it as a great “social marketing tool” but rather simply just a “social” tool.

    Can you make a decent contact or two? Of course, however, I have realized that out of every 1 person who might use Twitter consistently in a valuable manner in business, there are a 1000 people who talk about nothing which would help me achieve my goals.

    Also, like Barbara and a couple other mentioned, they either don’t feel they could or currently are not putting in the amount of time they feel is necessary to do Twitter really well.

    This backs up my notion that most new and used entrepreneurs are on information overload. There is only so much you can do and do it really well. If your goal is to create a great blog and make money from it, focus on creating a great blog and solving people’s problems.

    Anything that takes you away from that goal should be avoided (unless you also crave something else, like socializing beyond your business aspects). If you spread yourself too thin with Digg, SU, blogging, learning SEO, building ways to make money, socializing on Twitter, etc., you won’t be laser focused.

    So if we’re talking about using Twitter and will it make you richer and more successful in your business endeavors, I tend to say no. Not compared to good old fashioned business and marketing ideas.

    The Social Side Of Twitter:
    Now if you’re the type of person that wants to get to know someone better, Twitter might be useful to you.

    Ok, so there’s why I’ve been hesitant to join. I realize that typically it’s not good to comment on something like this if you’ve never tried it, however, I think I’ve read and heard enough about how Twitter works and visited enough tweets to see what goes on.

    In regards to getting traffic from Twitter, from what I’ve noticed much of that traffic isn’t targeted. There are other avenues to explore in which will bring highly targeted customers ready to buy and I think business-wise your time is spent better “getting better at that”.

    Ok, how about that recess George mentioned šŸ˜‰

    John Hoff – eVentureBizĀ“s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  14. One of the “best” things about Twitter (IMHO) is that it provides GREAT blog post material. If you’re EVER in need of “blog post fodder” – sign up for Twitter and start following interesting people.

    Kathy @ Virtual ImpaxĀ“s last blog post..Small Business Marketing- The Yellow Page Directoryā€™s Place in your Marketing Mix

  15. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    LMAO Hunter – I would have done that if I’d known you were guest posting.

    I haven’t used Twitter much this week. Like you – I only tend to switch it on when I’m not having to concentrate on something too deeply. Otherwise it’s too distracting.

    I didn’t like it at first, so I didn’t use it much. Back then – nobody seemed to know how to use it properly and they were all just tweeting what they were doing.

    But I’m finding it really useful now – as you say, it’s kind of like commenting on blogs, only easier. Because I’m banned from StumbleUpon, it also gives somewhere to share stuff I’ve read. Plus Twitter is a lot more interactive than SU and as you say, you can talk to folk in real time, so it’s better for networking.

  16. I just installed TweetDeck. I hope this helps me use Twitter more. Honestly, I’ve found Twitter hard to use compared to Facebook. FB is such a friendly place — I just joined it a few weeks ago and now I have not just my blogger friends but my local friends, old colleagues, their friends, etc. totaling over 140. Twitter — I feel I need more fundamental lessons Twitter 101, like how to friend people, how to reply personally, etc.

    Good article, thank you,

    Akemi – “Spiritual Entrepreneur” @ Yes to MeĀ“s last blog post..Success Secrets And The Catch

  17. @ Ajith, personally, I haven’t seen a whole lot of affiliate links on Twitter yet. However, I’ve seen a few, plus people expressing concern that Twitter could be overrun by ads. Hopefully that won’t happen. Thanks for mentioning some of the other things Twitter is good for.

    @ Barbara, that’s exactly how I feel about a lot of things. “Do I really want to add something else to my blogging plate?” No, you’re not failing the assignment at all. Because when evaluating any new blogging tool, you need to see how it fits into your overall plan, and that will be different for everyone. I haven’t gotten around to Blog Catalog yet, and I haven’t fully checked out many other things. There’s no “right order” to do things in.

    @ J.D., I don’t know what the ‘official” Twitter etiquette is here, but from a practical standpoint, I don’t think you need to have a consistent rhythm. You might get better results from spreading out your activities (just like with many things), but I wouldn’t think that bursty is bad, within reason. Since I became active, there have been times I’ve gone for a few days without tweeting. I intend to do it daily, but sometimes I just don’t get around to it. Consistency is helpful, but I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

    @ Juliet, take your time getting used to everything. I know it’s quite overwhelming to learn about all these different things you could be doing. “Beyond the internet?” I hadn’t heard that before. Hmmm…now you’re getting me scared too!

    @ Betsy, I don’t think taking a few days off will hurt you (I do it myself now and then), but see what happens. If someone unfollows you because you’re been a little quiet, they’re not a true Twitter friend! Good plan about prioritizing the different tools. There certainly are a lot of them. Yes, the Twitter client makes all the difference in the world, doesn’t it?

    @ Natural, I’m glad to see you’ve discovered some of the unexpected benefits of Twitter. I thought I had no interest in what people were doing, but now I find that I do. Twhirl was the first application I used, and now I used TweetDeck. I find TweetDeck better, although it has a lot of features I don’t use.

    @ Deborah, I like how Twitter came to the rescue after your missed meeting! By having specific goals in mind with our Twitter use, we’re more likely to achieve them.

    @ Robin, I just started doing it, but didn’t really get the point for a few months. It really wasn’t until I switched to Twhirl that I saw the point, and yes, there’s a lot of behind the scenes communication that goes on.

    @ Linda, that’s right, you can discover people on Twitter that you didn’t even know were out there. I read posts I hear about through a tweet, even if I hadn’t heard of the blog before. I guess we never know until we try.

    @ George, I don’t think you need to follow everyone back. For now I’m following most people back, but some people are spammers. They follow thousands of people, get a small percentage of them to follow back, then they stop following everyone. And some people just tweet about topics that aren’t your thing. I was followed by someone who tweets in French. I know who he is because he emailed me in English, but sorry – I don’t speak French. So I would follow back anyone you like, but not feel obligated to follow someone just because they followed you. Oh, and recess will be soon, but for you it will be called DETENTION! How dare you blame me for that spitball incident – it was, um, let’s say…Betsy.

    @ Kim, we can forgive you for saying you love Twitter! I certainly agree with fun, educational, and trafficy. If you’ve found freelance work on Twitter, then that’s another benefit most people haven’t thought about.

    @ John, do you want detention too? I advice you to stay about from Cath – I’m not sure she’s a great influence on you, especially on whoopee cushion day. No, you don’t get an F for disagreeing, not at all. I can see how Twitter might not be effective in finding the right contacts for your business. After all, those people might not be on Twitter, and most people on Twitter may not be good business contacts. And I agree that the traffic is not targeted if your followers are not targeted. Regarding the information overload, I totally agree. On the other hand, why not do Twitter and dump Digg, StumbleUpon, SEO, etc?

    @ Kathy, I actually haven’t used Twitter to get blog post ideas, though I can see how that could be helpful. So many ideas are shared on Twitter that we’re bound to find some that could work on our blog. And if people are talking about something, you know there’s an interest in that topic.

    @ Cath, first I thought you said “you can talk to fork in real time” and I thought wow, that’s an interesting benefit! I guess everyone is getting better at using Twitter with time. I don’t really see that many “what I had for dinner” type tweets anymore. We stuck with it, and now we’re seeing the benefits!

    @ Akemi, now that’s interesting. I’ve barely used Facebook, but I find it way harder to figure out than Twitter. Like how I couldn’t even find the invitation you had sent me. Actually, I could use a Facebook 101 post. I’m not even sure what it does, let alone how to use it. I used to get a bunch of vampire quizzes and such, but I think I turned those off!

    Hunter NuttallĀ“s last blog post..How To Give And Receive Advice (With Minimal Casualties)

  18. I’m using Twitter, but it hasn’t become a significant traffic source for me.

  19. Hi Hunter.

    I would tend to say keep sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, etc. over Twitter for the following two reasons:

    1. Sites like Digg and SU can influence your SEO. If a bunch of people vote for your site this will most likely generate a bunch of links. I had an article I wrote which went viral on and in a matter of a month that article’s Page Rank shot up to 6. Now it pops up in Google searches fairly easy.

    2. Although they aren’t highly targeted, I think those other social sites drive traffic which is a little more targeted than Twitter. It seems to me many people on Twitter aren’t necessarily looking for something in particular (like a freelance writer). They are looking to chit chat (mostly).

    When someone goes to Digg or SU and surfs, they are surfing in a particular category. They are looking for something more specific.

    About SEO – if you’re in business to make money and your website is your primary source, SEO should be on your list. True you can have others help with the primary part of your website, but if you author a blog, I’m sure you’re not going to hire out help with every post. And SEO doesn’t mean you can’t write naturally or for humans, of course you can. To me, SEO with your website is equated to the marketing aspect of doing business (the two go together).

    On a side note, I don’t even know Catherine, Mr. Hunter – I swear. šŸ˜‰

    John Hoff – eVentureBizĀ“s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  20. What the! I ALWAYS get blamed! šŸ˜€

    Betsy and PeteĀ“s last blog post..SOME CHILDREN SEE HIM . . .

  21. Anyone who knows me knows that Twitter is my favorite plaything in the world. And I use it for every opportunity and benefit it provides me.

    One note for John, as I open today’s Pandora’s box of worms…

    I have a hard time accepting your opinion simply because you have never tried and are biased with skepticism and negativity. (Love you, bro!)

    Mind you, I’ve never tried sushi, so we’re even. However, I can’t say I dislike sushi or that it wouldn’t be good for me or become my favorite meal – because I just. don’t. know.

    So. Go. Embrace. Try. One month. Every day, one hour. And give it your best shot, dude.

    Then come back and tell me.

    James Chartrand – Men with PensĀ“s last blog post..Losing Your Sense of Self Because of Your Business

  22. Crap. The related posts plugin is above the subscribe to comments option. Fix that. That should not be.

    This comment is to subscribe.

  23. JannieNo Gravatar says:

    Okay I think I’m getting sold a little more on this Twitter thing.

    I’ll have a look at it again.

    Now, what was my username and passcode…..

    JannieĀ“s last blog post..Yeah, Cindy Lou Who?

  24. I use twitter but it doesn’t give me a lot of traffic. Maybe I’m not using it right. I think I simply don’t get it. Lots of people I do not know are following me…what do they want to know? And am I meeting their expectations? Or do they just want me to follow them back? It’s still all a mystery.

    Stacey / Create a BalanceĀ“s last blog post..Celebrate Your Life Friday! 12.19.2008

  25. @ James (you know I love you too bro) – Ah I knew that would be one thing that people would say in response to my comment, however I don’t believe everything in this world is mandatory for you to experience before you can see the pros and cons of it.

    In Twitter’s case and thinking business-wise, I see more cons than pros.

    I believe experience in life, business, perception, current feedback, business basics, and education all play a roll. I might not have used Twitter, but I’ve been online many years and have a general idea how social networks work.

    We rely on these things to make great decisions and as guides – otherwise, we would have to waste a considerable amount of time constantly testing every product and service before we know.

    Although I’ve never created a Twitter account, I have researched it. I know what you can do with it and I see the kinds of conversations that go on there. I believe I can make a reasonable assumption of what can be done with it as an entrepreneur and also how much noise is there.

    I suppose to sum up what I’m saying in reply is with a little bit of logic, sound decisions, and foresight, I think I can make a reasonable discussion when talking about Twitter.

    One thing I did notice was you didn’t reply to my comment but rather just disregarded it. So my question to you then is, do you see any truths in what I’m saying above or am I way off base in your experience?


    Now where’s my sushi?

    John Hoff – eVentureBizĀ“s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  26. @ John – No, I didn’t disregard. I skimmed and scanned and whipped off an answer to get into the conversation and then YAH, DUDE, you CALLED me on it!

    Oh well. Someone had to šŸ™‚

    More thoughts later after the day’s rush. With LESS skimming and more thought. Fair? šŸ˜‰

    James Chartrand – Men with PensĀ“s last blog post..Losing Your Sense of Self Because of Your Business

  27. LOL – you’re a dork!

    Teacher teacher . . . James gets detention, right! šŸ˜‰

    John Hoff – eVentureBizĀ“s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  28. @ Vered, that’s surprising, seeing as how you have 600 followers. It’s also disheartening, because I want Twitter to work for everyone. Do you have any idea why you’re not getting much traffic from it? Do you tweet all of your posts, or just a few of them? Could it be that most of your followers are already subscribed to your blog, so they don’t feel the need to click through since they can check their feeds later? I’m not sure why it wouldn’t be working for you.

    @ John, I agree that sites like Digg and SU can help with traffic and links, but doesn’t that happen without your involvement? I had one post that got 29,000 visitors from StumbleUpon, but that just happened because people chose to stumble it. I’m not sure what additional benefit I would get from spending lots of time on StumbleUpon (clicking the Stumble button, thumbing up sites, adding friends, etc). So that’s what I’m comparing here – the ROI for the time spent actively using Twitter vs. the ROI for the time spent actively using Digg, SU, etc.

    If someone is looking for very targeted traffic, say people looking to hire a freelance writer, I agree that Twitter traffic will probably not be nearly targeted enough for that purpose. You may find some people that way, but it would be more of a surprise benefit than your main purpose in using it.

    About SEO, I’d sure like to get more search traffic, but I’m not sure how to. Whenever I read something about SEO, I always come away thinking, “Well, that’s nice, but what am I actually supposed to be doing that I’m not doing already?” I hear SEO types talking about building backlinks, but I’ve never heard anyone explain how you do that.

    @ Betsy, sorry, I just needed a scapegoat. It’s not like people would believe Stacey did it!

    @ James, I don’t know if your goal is to eat and like sushi, but if you do, there’s a way to cheat. What we usually think of as sushi, raw fish, is actually called sashimi. Sushi is technically vinegared rice, usually topped with some other ingredient. While that ingredient is usually sashimi, it’s sometimes some other meat or vegetables. And there’s no rule saying it can’t be chocolate. Though to me, that sounds much worse than raw fish.

    @ Jannie, if I’ve gotten you a little more sold, I’ve done my job. I can’t help much with your username and passcode though. If you have Gmail, check your archived mail. If you don’t, then think about getting Gmail!

    @ Stacey, I think the reason you’re not getting traffic from it is simply because you don’t have enough followers yet. Things will get better when you have a few hundred followers. Don’t worry about meeting peoples’ expectations, just have fun!

    @ John, James doesn’t get detention per se, but he has to stay after class to read, not skim, the assignment!

    Hunter NuttallĀ“s last blog post..How To Give And Receive Advice (With Minimal Casualties)

  29. JodithNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve been using Twitter for about 2 months. I don’t get a huge amount of traffic from it, but I get a fair bit.

    More than that, though, is I get exposure. People start to learn my name. And that’s important for a blogger.

    However, I must disagree with the need for a twitter app. I’ve tried a couple, and didn’t really like them. I do all of my twittering on the website.

    I do recommend, though, checking out and to find people to follow and to find new followers.

    JodithĀ“s last blog post..8 Tips for using Outlookā€™s Out of Office Assistant

  30. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I am still working on the Stumbleupon Tutorial, I am about 2 lessons behind the incoming….I have so much company at home, and my IT person is leaving for Denmark the 26th of Dec.

    I just keep failing at Twitter so I am ignoring right now as SU in bringing in some traffic to my blog, I guess I feel a bit like Barbara that I need to learn one thing well and to the usable state before I try and learn something else.

    I have hired Blogger Dad to assist me while my IT person is in Denmark because I am so technically illiterate…

    I am working on starting another blog for my honey for Christmas because he is brilliant designer architect – green and sustainable, stuck in small town USA and folks don’t find him ….or know of him…I want to get the word out…so I believe the SUs and Twitters would be great tools, so I am working hard to get some mastery..

    I am a good writer, but I just can’t seem to do the other parts with any ease. And then there are the other problems, like my Quicken Program just corrupted and destroyed my DVD-RW – I am getting a drive by fix up as soon as they can navigate in all this snow!
    Your post makes me more interested.
    Just for a laugh for everyone….I have been on SU for 3 months now and Vered is my only friend I can muster …Other’s tell me they are trying…but I am still not successful šŸ™‚ Maybe there is just not hope for me -????

    PatriciaĀ“s last blog post..Line Dancing at Waltz Tempo

  31. […] post is called Twitter – Social Media’s Hidden Gem. There’s no shortage of social media platforms out there: Digg, StumbleUpon, Mixx, Reddit, […]

  32. @ Hunter – Re: Digg and SU, agreed. I don’t spend much time with those. In fact, I really only invest in Stumble Upon and that’s it.

    For Stumble Upon, there is a low cost PPC feature they have which I’ve used and has generated some targeted traffic. Go to For $5 you can send 100 targeted people to your site. The downside is those people are usually looking for information rather than products. But if they rate you, you could start receiving a decent amount of traffic to your landing page / article.

    To be honest though, social sites are good but nothing works quite as well as developing a great landing page and utilizing a PPC campaign. That’s where my primary focus is as it’s quick, fast, and works.

    John Hoff – eVentureBizĀ“s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  33. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara and Hunter, man, what an unruly class this has been. I turn my back for a second and all hell breaks loose šŸ™‚

    I signed up with Twitter a couple of weeks ago and enlisted to follow a number of contacts that I recognized. And a number of my loyal readers signed up to follow me. But then I didn’t return for a while for lack of time…. and, when I go there I get stage fright… um, who do I talk to?

    Are you supposed to just tweet a follower and wait for their reply? I don’t get it. Is it ok to tweet your own posts? Cause my last one is pretty funny and I’d like to share, but I don’t want to put folk off.

    DavinaĀ“s last blog post..A Positively Dysfunctional Christmas

  34. @ Jodith, yes, Twitter can give you exposure. Just like writing posts and commenting, it’s another way to get your name out there. When I did my tweeting on the website, I found that I wasn’t very involved in the conversation, because I only tweeted once every few days, and I only refreshed the page once a day. But I guess some people will like the website better than a Twitter app.

    @ Patricia, there is always hope for everyone. But we’ll all proceed at our own rate and do things a little differently. Vered is a good SU friend to start with! And Twitter will always be ready for you when you’re ready for it.

    @ John, I’m actually working on a PPC campaign right now. We’ll see how it goes…

    @ Davina, I guess without you in the room, some of the students forgot their manners! You don’t need to tweet a particular person, you can just do a general tweet. Maybe you can tweet “Hey everyone, I’m back on Twitter after my hiatus. What’s going on?” Then if one of your followers is signed in at the time, they might tweet back “Hi Davina, we missed you! What did you do on your hiatus?” Then you can reply with whatever you think could possibly be more important than Twitter. šŸ™‚ Tweeting your own posts is perfectly fine, as long as you’re writing lots of non-promotional tweets as well.

    Hunter NuttallĀ“s last blog post..Twitter – Social Mediaā€™s Hidden Gem

  35. I’m back after doing penitence with Mrs. Robinson. I had to write, “I will not skim” 50 times. By hand.

    @ John – I think I see where you’re coming from. I think that you’re missing something in the equation.

    Stumble and Digg can provide nice traffic injections, I agree. Typically, these social medias are known for a hit of traffic, a spike… and then it tapers back down. These people do not stay readers because they come, they look, they leave.

    They do not know you.

    On Twitter, you do begin by talking in the air, literally seizing the mic and doing something with it. You have no choice. Hunter is a prime example. I remember when he started out, followed me and had a grand total of five other people to follow. A couple of tweets… gone.

    Today, he was talking with me – and we had a brief, but good conversation. He got over his stage fright. Very cool.

    And the more we talk, the more I’ll know him, converse, build loyalty, become an active reader and participant… and THAT, my friend is the sticky-good traffic Twitter provides.

    Can it do the injection too? Yes. I’ve seen huge spikes on our site when we’ve tweeted good posts. It comes, it goes, like SU and Digg.

    But the readers that know us and stay? They STAY.

    Also, there’s the advantage of using Twitter as a marketing and branding tool. People get to know me, know what I stand for, know what I’m like and what I might be like to work with.

    Do they hire us? Sure. They know before they hire us what we’re like, what to expect from us and what kind of people we are.

    That makes a difference. Spiked traffic? Nope. Not for me, thanks. Quality traffic? People who know me? Loyal readers? Every day. That’s what we’re about.

    Is it for everyone? Nope. But there are less cons than one might believe.

    James Chartrand – – Men with PensĀ“s last blog post..TweetDeck: Stacking Your Deck with New Tools

  36. @ Hunter – Also, thank you for permission to get off on the sushi on a technicality šŸ™‚

    James Chartrand – – Men with PensĀ“s last blog post..TweetDeck: Stacking Your Deck with New Tools

  37. @ Hunter – cool. My favorite has been Yahoo Sponsored Search. Their prices are more reasonable than Google and you still get a decent amount of traffic.

    John Hoff – eVentureBizĀ“s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  38. @ James, it wasn’t stage fright so much as thinking that I had to answer the question “What are you doing?” I wasn’t doing anything that I thought was interesting enough to share. Plus I was using the web interface and only refreshing it once a day, so I was missing everything. I didn’t even notice the replies tab, so I was accidentally ignoring the people who were trying to talk to me (one of them was Harry, saying he read Memoirs of a Geisha too).

    @ John, yes, in my case I’ve gotten much better results with Yahoo than with Google or Microsoft. But I also wonder what kind of person searches on Yahoo instead of Google.

    Hunter NuttallĀ“s last blog post..Twitter – Social Mediaā€™s Hidden Gem

  39. @ James – on a side note, I’m with you on the sushi, can’t stand it. On another side note, I’m not a big proponent of Digg and SU being the all great marketing avenues (not that you said I said that).

    What you say makes sense and I agree there is some value in Twitter and I know some people have made great connections there (and profits).

    But like I said, for every 1 person that makes it useful there seem to be 1000 that don’t and end up wasting a lot of your time if you’re using Twitter as a tool to generate leads and profits.

    As entrepreneurs, one of the first rules to follow is go where your customers are and solve their problems. Twitter seems more like a “here I am and this is what I do by the way” while marketing efforts should be more like “I found you, this is me and here’s what I can do to solve your big problem.”

    Remember too I mentioned I think Twitter is a decent social tool. I know you like knowing what people put in their coffee this morning and what song got them to dance last night – that’s what makes it great for you, but business-wise that doesn’t have much value other than developing a slow building relationship.

    I like building relationships quick to start (sales) and then build from there (when it comes to business sales). Of course, I’ll take it slower as well.

    I understand the time it takes to build that friendship and loyalty you talk about. But while you’re working on that, the entrepreneur who skips all the noise (good and bad) and spends their efforts and time marketing to people looking for their service now/today – will be making profits and building from there.

    And if your product, services, and customer service is what it really is, then you can build that loyalty and trust with customers you just met today who came to your site and bought something (post sales).

    I can see we definitely will have to agree to disagree on this one my friend, but thank you for the interesting discussion. You know I always respect your opinion šŸ˜‰

    And thank you, Mr. Hunter šŸ™‚

    John Hoff – eVentureBizĀ“s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  40. I use twitter.

    I think looking at it like blog comments is realistic. Because, if I tweet that I just published a blog article, few are going to see it if they are following hundreds of people. Instead, my tweet will just blend in with all the zillions of other tweets.

  41. @ Hunter – *Me*.

    I use Yahoo. To be honest, I can’t stand Google and the way its search algorithm works.

    Yahoo consistently returns highly relevant sites to my queries because it looks more closely at a website’s content while Google values link building more.

    I’ll do a search for local landscape companies and Yahoo will give me companies and Google often times will return sites similar to the Yellow Pages (Super Pages) because they have more links. I hate that. That’s not what I was looking for.

    Plus remember, Yahoo is the biggest social media site out there. There’s Yahoo stores, music, videos, blogs, forums, and on and on. Many of those people use Yahoo.

    Like my wife just said to me while I’m typing this, “The people on Yahoo are the ones who want to find what they are looking for” – because she never finds what she wants with Google.

    I guess then a lot of the people who use Yahoo are the ones frustrated with Google. I’m definitely a techie and I prefer Yahoo.

  42. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Hunter. Thanks for your answer. I’m off to Twit.

    DavinaĀ“s last blog post..A Positively Dysfunctional Christmas

  43. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    @ James – “doing penitence with Mrs. Robinson”? Is that the Mrs Robinson from “The Graduate”?

    It sounds like you a big proponent of Twitter, and use it effectively. On an average day, how much time would you say you spend? And, how long did it take you to learn it?

    BTW: I tried fixing the “subscribe to comments” location and am still scratching my head. I’m not finding it in my comments php templates file, nor my main index. Or, if it is, I’ve missed it.

  44. @ Barbara – On an average day, I spend maybe a full hour to two on Twitter, at the most. Since I come on very early morning, the chatter is slow, so I can’t say that the three hours it’s turned on are intense, involved or require my attention. More like… well, it’s on. I get real banter when other people wake up.

    I’ll pop in a few times a day for a 15 minute break, like showing up at the water cooler, and again for a bit in the evening. That’s about it.

    I use it heavily while I’m there, though, and maximize my time.

    How long to learn? A day? Not even? It’s really not hard – I mean, it’s a conversation. I speak, someone speaks back. If they don’t, I goof around until they do. Fun. The applications? They’re small and easy to use. If I get stuck, I ask. “How do I do XYZ on TweetDeck?” Incredibly, people answer. šŸ™‚

    I couldn’t help you with which file has the comments code. That’s a Harry/Charlie thing. I suggest checking PostPage.php, though (or the similar page).

    James Chartrand – Men with PensĀ“s last blog post..How to Deal with Cranks, Flamers and Trolls

  45. I find it to be a true benefit. Twitter is my number 7 referrer right now. The bounce rate is low and they stay on my site for a few minutes. That’s not the best part.

    My favorite part is the interactivity. I met Robert Scoble because he tweeted that he was going to be in Austin. He picked a place to gather and bam. 30 of us met at a BBQ place and just hung out. You can’t really do that with other social media.

    Karl Staib – Work Happy NowĀ“s last blog post..Day 18 of 30 ā€“ Bonus ā€“ No Complaining

  46. Hey Hunter, thanks for the post! šŸ™‚ To be honest, I’m hesistant towards joining Twitter and I probably won’t, at least not for the next couple of months. My impression of twitter is that it’s only due to come in when your blog has a large following or traffic. Right now I just started my personal development blog (EmbraceLiving.Net) and I’m still trying to get used to the whole web 2.0 social networking mambo jumbo (Stumble Upon, Digg, Reddit, Delicious). What do you think?

    Celes | EmbraceLiving.NetĀ“s last blog post..Two Important Things that Led to My Discovery of My Real Purpose

  47. “Twitter doesnā€™t have to be a big time commitment.”

    Hey Hunter, I wish someone would have told me this truth months ago. I’ve been tweeting for a month now and find it just as you say. It’s a delightful little distraction that carries a big kick.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful WorkĀ“s last blog post..Do It Your Way

  48. Dennis EdellNo Gravatar says:

    I’m just getting into it and plan to bust out in the new year. Get in on the ground floor! LOL so to speak…

    Dennis EdellĀ“s last blog post..Free Permanent BackLinks: Are You A Subscriber Or Following Me On Twitter?

  49. Jim GaudetNo Gravatar says:

    “Itā€™s hard to explain why, you just have to try it.” — I guess this is where you stopped at 499!

    Anyway, for Twitter is SPEED. Most bloggers will tweet there newest post, before my RSS reader is updated. So, this allows me to be one of the first to read this information, and comment. Which is beneficial.

    Next, I have found a lot of people to follow, who continue to provide so much useful information. For me this is the fastest way to keep up with new information. Follow the right people and get some really interesting ideas just from listening to what they have to say.

    Jim GaudetĀ“s last blog post..This is Way too Personalā€¦

  50. @ Bamboo Forest, when I was using the web interface, I would check it in the morning and read all the tweets I had missed. As I started following more people, this became harder to do, and eventually, I stopped checking what I had missed. Now that I’m on TweetDeck, I only read the tweets that are sent while I’m signed in. But I see all the tweets, from all my followers.

    @ John, that’s very interesting! I guess I’ll have to check out Yahoo. How come people don’t know Yahoo is better?

    @ Davina, good luck. You can follow me if you want (the link is in my byline at the end of the post).

    @ Karl, I’ve heard some stories of people meeting up because of Twitter, where they never would have met without it. That’s definitely something you don’t see on a lot of other social media services.

    @ Celes, when you have a large following on your blog, it’s easier to get followers on Twitter. On the other hand, starting Twitter sooner will help you get followers on your blog. But it sounds like you’re up to your knees in “the whole web 2.0 social networking mumbo jumbo,” so you’ve got a lot to figure out! I guess just work through everything at your own pace. Get an idea for what will be most helpful to you, and work on the most important things first.

    @ Tom, yeah, that was my biggest concern about Twitter. I thought it was just another way of being reached, and another thing to have to keep up with. But it’s more like a big party, where you can come and go as you please. Glad you’re finding it “a delightful little distraction that carries a big kick.”

    @ Dennis, that’s a good New Year’s resolution to have! Hopefully we’ll see you still on Twitter in February, after most people start to abandon their resolutions. You said LOL, which is a popular acronym to use on Twitter!

    Hunter NuttallĀ“s last blog post..Twitter – Social Mediaā€™s Hidden Gem

  51. @ Barbara – here’s how you can move your subscribe to comments (and add the Subscribe Without Commenting form):

    Open up your comments.php file and scroll down to find the ending </form> tag near the end of your code.

    It should be near a block of code that looks similar to this:

    <?php do_action(‘comment_form’, $post->ID); ?>

    Directly below the </form> tag add the following two lines of code:

    <?php show_subscription_checkbox(); ?>
    <?php show_manual_subscription_form(); ?>

    That should do it. Just make sure it’s above your Related Posts code.

    Also, backup. Copy and paste your comments.php code into a text editor just in case. If anything goes wrong, you can always just cut out the new code or paste back in your backup.

    John Hoff – eVentureBizĀ“s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  52. @ Hunter – well, my wife and I think Yahoo is better. I suppose whether it is or not depends on your experience with it. For me though, it has consistently returned better results.

    For a moment, suppose Yahoo is better than Google – I suppose you could say Google has that buzz about it like the PC had over Apple way back when. Apple had the better product, but the PC was advertised better and is what everyone used.

  53. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi John – Thank you for the advice. I’ve looked at my comment php file and what I’m not seeing is the coding for related posts. I use a plugin which (I believe) automatically throws related posts where they are. Is there a way to change that?

    If I deactivate the related posts plugin that would take care of the problem, however, I like showing them “somewhere”. I looked at your blog and your related posts are under your content. Do you use a plugin for that, or are you manually adding them?

  54. John,
    I couldn’t agree more! I have started to realize the immense power of twitter to find the latest buzz on topics I am researching.

    Steve HeidemanĀ“s last blog post..Comment on How The New Good Faith Estimate Form Can Help You Save Money On Your Mortgage by Steve Heideman

  55. I still see your Related Posts down at the bottom, are you sure you deactivated the right plugin?

    In any case, it shouldn’t matter. If you place those two lines of code beneath the ending /form tag that should work just fine.

    For the related post on my site I use a plugin (actually 2):

    which also requires the Post Plugin Library plugin:

    The rmarsh site then shows how you can place your similar posts anywhere in your code.

    Basically what you do is install both plugins and then open up your Single Post file (the filename is probably single.php or something similar) and insert this code:

    <?php similar_posts(); ?>

    Insert it anywhere you want to insert your similar posts to be displayed. Here is what my file looks like and where I inserted the code (near the top):

    John Hoff – eVentureBizĀ“s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  56. Dennis EdellNo Gravatar says:

    If you want to switch out plugins, the STC plugin I use, has the Subscribe Without Commenting form already in it.

    Let me know if you want it.

    Dennis EdellĀ“s last blog post..UPDATE: Free Permanent BackLinks: Are You A Subscriber Or Following Me On Twitter?

  57. @ Dennis – Which one is that, actually? We’ve been wanting to implement ‘subscribe without commenting’ but haven’t been able to get one that works properly yet.

    James Chartrand – Men with PensĀ“s last blog post..TweetDeck: Stacking Your Deck with New Tools

  58. @ James – the plugin you currently use will do it easily. Show Harry the post I did on it:

    You add one line of code to your comments.php file at the bottom.

    John Hoff – eVentureBizĀ“s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  59. @ Jim, an early heads up about new posts is nice, isn’t it? You’re right – you can often see the tweet before the RSS update, and be one of the first to comment. And yes, there are a lot of good people to follow who can provide interesting ideas.

    Hunter NuttallĀ“s last blog post..Twitter – Social Mediaā€™s Hidden Gem

  60. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi John – I got the related posts plugin deactivated, so now the subscribe to comments is where it should be. I’ll check out your post and the link Dennis provided so I can also add “subscribe without commenting”. Thank you also for the “marsh” site information on related posts.

    Mr Nuttall, I apologize for passing notes unrelated to your fabulous Twitter post. Does that mean I have detention, too? šŸ™‚

  61. Someone has to keep me company…

  62. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    @ James – I think the “teacher” did so good with this subject, everyone left the classroom and and went to Twitter.

  63. I think we should get a gold star for staying in our seats.

    James Chartrand – Men with PensĀ“s last blog post..TweetDeck: Stacking Your Deck with New Tools

  64. John’s in the back of the class folding a paper airplane.

    John Hoff – eVentureBizĀ“s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  65. VickiNo Gravatar says:

    John –

    If you have researched Twitter then you should have seen the myriad posts that say that the ONLY way to truly understand Twitter is to use it. It can’t be explained and it cannot be understood without using it.

    So, if you haven’t used it, I’m sorry to say that “research” isn’t enough for a well-formed opinion. Do as James suggests:

    Go. Embrace. Try. One month. Every day, one hour. And give it your best shot, dude.

    Then come back and tell me.

    VickiĀ“s last blog post..vlb: I think we could settle on one "Roadhouse" rule: "Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel." Shouldn’t that be sufficient?

  66. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    @ James – I agree. Gold stars for everyone who has stayed in their seats.

    Yay! We got a new student.

    Hi Vicki – Welcome to Blogging Without A Blog! After reading all of the comments, I agree with what you and James are saying. I’m sold, and after the rush of the holidays is over, I’m going to give it a try. The worse that can happen is it takes up too much of my time and I end up quitting. Oh, how I hate to be a quitter, though.

    Whizzzzzz! The airplane John threw goes careening through the air

  67. OK, this class is out of control! I don’t think detention is enough to solve the problem, so everyone is suspended, including Barbara! (Except for Vicki, because she’s new.)

    Think about what you did, then come back tomorrow and we’ll start out fresh. You may use Twitter in the meantime. But in spite of this unruly behavior, this class shows a lot of promise.

    Hunter NuttallĀ“s last blog post..Twitter – Social Mediaā€™s Hidden Gem

  68. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, James and Hunter – I am back and enjoying all the new information and comments…I have lost my Internet connection for two days of 18″ of snow – where it usually don’t snow!?

    I am still around and following what is going on…and a couple of folks are offering me help on my site…I still can’t get Ulla or Davina or Avani Mehti as friends…although I am getting emails that they are trying?

    I have been writing about frustration lately…waiting…but this snow and being snowed in with Children on the road is really trying my patience…

    I missed you guys too!

    PatriciaĀ“s last blog post..Oh Baby! You Light Up My Life

  69. Hi Vicki, nice to see you around these parts.

    Hmm…well I have to respectfully disagree. To say that something (especially as simple to understand as Twitter) is beyond my understanding unless I try and embrace it is a bit of an assumption.

    I attended college for 6 years full time (including summer school), have 2 degrees – 1 in Computer Science/programming and 1 in Mathematics, own two businesses, taken a number of business marketing courses, and have invested/flipped real estate.

    I’m not saying that Twitter is a complete waste of time, in fact, some people have the ability to make it useful for their business. I think it can work better for some business models vs. others (like Hunter said), however overall, I think Twitter is way over hyped and detour you from your primary business goals.

    As an analogy, would you not agree that understanding the office of the presidency is far more intricate than understanding Twitter – and yet, we all can still logically discuss what kinds of decisions and directions the president should consider.

    We’ve never experienced that office, so how can we ever talk about it then?

    Thanks for your comment and the discussion. šŸ˜‰

    @ Hunter – oh man, I’m in for it when and if I ever am a substitute teacher, aren’t I? LOL

    Now . . . where’d that whoopee cushion go?

    John Hoff – eVentureBizĀ“s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  70. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    @ John – HaHa! I think you’ll get worse than a whoopee cushion.

  71. Yeah, I’ll probably get the fart spray to go with it so I stink all day šŸ˜‰

    John Hoff – eVentureBizĀ“s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  72. […] been twitterpated by Twitter, posts like Kalena’s 16 Must Have Tools for Twitter Users andĀ  Twitter – Social Media’s Hidden Gem are now catching my eye.Ā  Because of Twitter, I’ve discovered Darren Rowse’s TwiTip […]

  73. Mrs. MicahNo Gravatar says:

    I think Twitter has done more for my relationships with other bloggers than any other social networking application or forum. If I chat with people, I’m more likely to link to their posts, comment on their blogs, etc. And I think others feel the same way.

    I know I’m coming late to this post but I think Hunter’s lesson is fantastic. I don’t stress out about what’s happened when I’m offline and I use twhirl so I see tweets pop up as I’m doing other stuff and periodically pay attention. What with twhirl’s color-coding, it’s easy to tell when someone’s actually talking to me.

  74. Mrs. Micah, Twitter has definitely let me connect with people better than any other social media platform. Nothing else has come close. Like I have StumbleUpon “friends,” but I’m not even sure what you want friends for. Twitter has let me connect with people I wouldn’t have found any other way.

    Hunter NuttallĀ“s last blog post..The Case Of The Stolen Diamond

  75. […] was Hunter’s guest post (Twitter – Social Media’s Hidden Gem) and the views he shared about Twitter that began to make my hesitations about Twitter vanish. […]