During the July 4th weekend I posted a FAQ to my blog that explained how I tweet. I did it on a whim really because I was at my son’s hockey tournament with lots of time. To my surprise, hundreds of people retweeted it. For this reason, I’m posting it here too because so many people told me how useful it was. Had I known this initially, I would have posted it here and not on my blog.
Question: How can you follow so many people?
Answer: I don’t read the timelines of all the people that I follow. Instead, I only deal with @s, Directs, and tweets that contain “guykawasaki” and “alltop.” I am not reading everything everyone I follow tweets, but I answer almost every @ and Direct.
Question: Then why do you follow everyone?
Answer: I follow everyone for two reasons: first, common courtesy; second, so that anyone can send a Direct to me. I like Direct messages because they are so much more efficient than email.
Question: Why do you use @GuyKawasaki and @GuysReplies?
Answer: I created @Guysreplies in order to reply to @s that all my followers do not need to see. For example, when people tweet, “@guykawasaki I loved Reality Check,” I don’t want to burden everyone with my thank-you @ reply. Also, people publicly attack me as a kind of “tweet bait” to get more followers. Because @GuysReplies has few followers, this scheme won’t work, and I can still appear to be “engaged” with the losers.
Question: Why do you repeat your tweets?
Answer: I repeat a handful of my tweets because I don’t assume that all my followers are reading me 24 x 7 x 365. This is the same reason that ESPN and CNN repeat the same news stories (without updates, simply identical reports) throughout the day.
Question: What Twitter applications do you use?
Answer: I’m on a constant hunt for the ultimate Twitter applications. Right now, I use TweetDeck on my Macintosh and TweetFlip and Tweetie on my iPhone.?I also use Objective Marketer to post tweets that contain links. This site enables us to create marketing campaigns and then schedule, frame, and track tweets. Disclosure: I am an advisor to Objective.?Finally, I use TwitterHawk to thank people who have shared Alltop pages with their followers. This site enables me to search for the string “pretty good stuff about” and automatically send a tweet.
Question: How long do you spend on Twitter every day?
Answer: Asking me this is like asking Tiger Woods how much time he spends playing golf: “It’s what I do.” If I’m on the computer, I’m on Twitter, and I’m on the computer eight hours per day. When I’m not on the computer, I use TweetFlip or Tweetie to mark tweets as “favorites” that I handle later using TweetDeck.
Question: Do you use ghostwriters?
Answer: Yes, four people contribute to my tweets: Annie Colbert, Gina Ruiz, Noelle Chun, and Neenz Faleafine. This is why you will see the initials “AC, “GR,” “NC,” and “LF” at the end of some tweets. If there are no initials, then it’s me or the automated feeds (see later).?I use ghostwriters because I want to provide as many interesting links as possible, and five intelligent people looking for interesting stuff are bound to find more than one. Incidentally, I measure the quality of my links (and that’s what matters most to me) by how many times people retweet me. One objective measure of retweets is here.
Question: How do you and your ghosts find so many links? Answer: We mostly use Alltop to help us quickly find good stories. Principally, we scan Most-Popular.alltop, Tweetmeme.alltop, Science.alltop, Psychology.alltop, SmartBrief.alltop, and Oddities.alltop. I also have three RSS feeds that automatically post into my account via Twitterfeed: Toxel, Truemors, and How Stuff Works.
Question: Isn’t automatically posting feeds “cheating”?
Answer: The goal is to have interesting tweets that people retweet which encourages more people to follow me. Whatever works, works. The editors at Toxel, Truemors (other a porn video or two), and How Stuff Works are so good—why shouldn’t I “cheat”? Pick your corner:?
Question: Do your ghosts respond to @s and Directs for you?
Answer: No, they only tweet outgoing links to interesting sites and blogs. They never respond for me or as me.
Question: Why did you hide your use of ghostwriters?
Answer: I’ve never hidden this fact. As soon as I started it, I disclosed it (way back in January, 2009) here. My attitude is: “As long as the tweets are good, why does it matter who posted them?”
Question: How can I see only tweets from you and not from your ghostwriters?
Answer: You are making a mistake because they find great stuff, but try this search.
Question: Why do some people attack you so much for this?
Answer: Most are angry, little “SEO experts” who cannot generate content, so they try to generate controversy in order to drive traffic to their blogs or get other angry, little people to follow them.
Question: Why do you constantly promote Alltop?
Answer: Twitter is a broadcast marketing tool for me. This is why I put so much time, energy, and money (my ghosts don’t work for free) into it. The Alltop “advertising” justifies and pays for my tweeting—you can think of my tweets as PBS content and the accompanying Alltop promotion as the fundraising telethon.
Question: Okay, but what if I don’t want to see Alltop promotions?
Answer: You can UFM (unfollow me).
Question: What if I don’t like the Alltop frame that you place around the stories that you link to?
Answer: You can click on the “x” to close the frame, or a more permanent solution is to UFM.