Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tweet, Tweet

Twitter is quite the animal. I recall seeing a prediction a while back that Twitter would prove to be a major component in a fundamental shift in how the internet will be used. I'm not 100% convinced of that, but it definitely is a movement that keeps growing. Not everyone understands it, but they'll still play with it. Those that do understand it do more than play with it.

I'm not going to bother defining Twitter ... if you're reading this blog, you've probably already have it in your head what Twitter is all about. I find some opinions about how to use Twitter to be very interesting. I've read several comments for very web-savvy folks that if someone uses Twitter only for promotion, they would tune out (stop following) that person. They want to see some of the personal behind the person. But I'm not too sure about that ... most of us are living in the moment (even though we are aware of our past and planning our future, we still live in this moment) and most of our moments are rather mundane. No matter how exciting life can be, most moments are still mundane. I couldn't care less if you just washed and dried 3 loads of laundry. Even if you're my mother (Hi Mom!) or a good friend (Hi Jenn!) I couldn't care less. Now if your washer or dryer broke down and you found a great service guy who came to your house in less than two hours and charged you an unbelievably low price for an excellent repair job ... THAT I would care to hear about, IF you can talk about it in 140 characters or less.

So I won't bore my followers with my mundane life stuff. I will tweet, when I remember, about going to a local network meeting. I will tweet when I find something intriguing on the web. I will tweet when I made an amazing discovery (that hasn't happened in a while). But my usual forms of tweets are promotion and they happen automatically because of the beauty of TwitterFeed. You can feed anything that has an RSS feed to your Twitter account. Both my blog and my Etsy shop have RSS feeds. Blogger makes setting up an RSS feed really easy, nearly automatic, just be sure you have your "Site Feed" which you will find in your SETTINGS section turned on to either "Full" or "Short" ... not "None."

After you set up your account with Twitterfeed, you can add any number of feeds to automatically post to Twitter. All you need is the URL of your feed, and each one is different. That was the most confusing part for me, but I fumbled around and found out what they are.

After you click "Create new twitter feed" you'll be given a new page with a form to fill out. The user name and password are where you will enter your Twitter info, and be sure to click the "test twitter authentification" to make sure you've entered the correct data.

If you are a Blogger/Blogspot user, your RSS feed URL is as follows:

You'll need to replace your actual user name before the .blogspot part.

I found my Etsy RSS feed URL by clicking on the RSS widget, as if I were going to subscribe the the feed. The URL displays on the browser, just copy and paste the address in appropriate box in the Twitterfeed set up. You can find any of your RSS feed URLs this way.

Another way to determine the RSS feed URL is to right-click the link and select "Properties" from the right-click menu (this is how it works with Windows, I don't have a clue about Macs!) and find the link address (NOT the image address!) which you can then copy and paste.

Go ahead and hit the "test RSS feed" to make sure it's going to work.

You'll have a few more things that are preferences you'll need to fill out to finish up the feed set-up. Give some thought to the update frequency. If you do a lot of listing in your Etsy shop at any given time, you may want to experiment with the frequency so that you don't send a feed for every single listing which could be considered spam by the Twitter community and your followers. You do not want to lose any of those precious followers! Keep in mind that this feed cannot tell the difference between a new listing and a relist.

Also give some thought as to what you want in the "prefix each tweet with:" box. I simply say "Just listed:" for my Etsy feed and "Blog update:" for my blog. The form only allows up to 20 characters, but each one counts towards the 140 maximum allowed. I use the "Tiny URL" option.

The tiny URL link generated for the Twitter feed is a "no follow" so don't get your hopes up that this will help in search engine optimization. In fact, it appears that all links in Twitter are "no follow." Oh well. Guess we still need to get our coveted links the old-fashioned way ... beg or buy.

Hope this is clear and understandable. Let me know your thoughts.


Now for the LinkyLuv for those taking the time to read and comment:
Getpalmd * Storybeader * Leah * Anna * Meekiyu * FeeFiFoto * CassieMarie * BlackFeatherFarm * Kerri Slade * Lynne * Abigail * Leslie * Angie * Michelle {{hug}} * Laurie B * Casto Creations * Avenue 7 * Shinade * Zen Ventures * Fidget * Swapna * Terrie * Raymond * Lois Lane * Jenn {{{{big hug}}}} * Petula * Lily * Elizabeth * Annette {man, I miss Skwiggazine!} * KML * Rachel (I hope I got the name right!! Memory ain't what it used to be...) * Tammy * Duni * Michelle * iWalk (love the cow graphic! How y'all manage to draw pictures with a keyboard amazes me.) * And last but NEVER least, Leet!

Whew ... this post took forever!! But may all your page ranks rise because y'all helped my bounce rate to fall. I should take a lesson from The Turnip and concentrate on getting the bounce rate down. Which could mean "bye bye" Entrecard. But that's another meditation. My eyes are really tired now.


kml said...

Thanks for the link!!

I have not tried Twitter yet. I have always thought of it as more a social thing - like you mentioned about daily life - and that sounds too boring.

Have you found it has enhanced any part of your online presence? More sales, customers, comments?

If it is worth it, I may give it a spin - heaven knows I need more things to do than I already have!

Take care,

storybeader said...

don't think I followed you there. I use SocialMarker - every time I write a post for my blog, I drop the http: in many places, including Twitter (now that might not have made a lot of sense either!)

CastoCreations said...

Ah, thank for the link.

I don't quite get Twitter. I'm on there and have some people "following" me ... I don't know 90% of them. lol And I'm never sure when to "tweet".

It's all very confusing.

Thyme2dream said...

Great post on twitter feed..its a great way to be sure I get blog and listings added:)

Zen Ventures said...

Thanks for including me in the list. Now I really want to know what the bounce rate is about. Saw that @ Google Analytics but not sure how it works - yet! Care to enlighten me. I'm trying to get rid of EC after I got infected with an Adware! Thanks!!!

Zen Ventures

Youvegotmaille said...

What a great post, and great Twitterful tips :)

Michelle said...

Yes, Twitter has caused a fundamental shift!! Great article and cute blog! I dropped!

Annette Piper said...

Hey Hilary! Just dropping by to say g'day :) Yeah, I miss Skwiggazine too. Michelle and I are looking at starting our blog ring up again - we'll keep in touch!

Designing Hilary said...

Yeah Annette and Michelle! I'm so there were you get it going. I'll stop by and leave a message on your blog.

NICO Designs said...

Thanks for the information. I use twitter to check things out--I forget to use it.

Lynette said...

Hey Hil,
Just wanted to drop by and say hi. I am in the process of updating my site and i saw your link. I really need to look more into this Twitter thing...just one more thing on the forever LONG list of things to do. There is so much to do...oh well. Anyways I just revamped my blog/site etc...let me know what you think!
On the downside, doing all of that I lost my pagerank (was a 2) since my url's changed. See you later!


Chokingonstatic Design said...

Interesting info on twitter. I hear a lot of people talk about it and see a lot use it, but not quite sure if it's something I want to start. I'd probably forget to do it lol.

Designing Hilary said...

Well, I forget to use it too, which is why I like having the automated feed for the things I need to promote.

You can use your cell phone to update Twitter, but I don't want to pay for the texting; unlimited text is not on my plan. Nor do I have a fancy web-enabled phone. Too much technology, not enough cash! :o)

blackfeatherfarm said...

Still haven't become a "Twitter," thinking on it. Will have to re-read your post if I do !

Be Jeweled By Candi said...

Great post and I couldn't agree more about the empty chatter - I don't care if you just ate a tomato sandwich, if you showed me something new or cool in your shop I just might buy it. Excellent tips for RSS feeds!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this wonderful post. Now that I joined Twitter last night I'm giving it another look over. Note to self: set up RSS feed.

Have a great day.

Lori Anderson Designs said...

Awesome! I've been clueless about how RSS feed works.

Terry Spier said...

Twitter is such a demanding activity - find myself loving it or leaving it - no in between. I'm finding the computer is taking more time each day and that means less time for producing. I'm in the process of re-evaluating my priorities as a result.