What is Twitter? This is a question many people have been asking lately and the answer may not be what you think at first glance. For some people, it is a harmless curiosity tool that allow them to stay connected with friends and family; but for others, Twitter is potentially very disruptive to the way business is done – and, perhaps worst of all, it is a platform used by terrorists! To give you a real world example, consider the following:
You can see how using twitter could easily be a terrorist tool. Imagine a terrorist group using twitter to coordinate attacks, or an individual Twitter user doing a little research on a specific city and posting short clips about it, then posting anything he/she deems fit to tweet about. We’ve seen this in action before with al- Qaeda, the RPG terrorist group and sleeper cells.
There is, however, one way to use twitter that avoids the danger of terrorist activity and that is to avoid the use of a personal Twitter account altogether. As we just said, anyone with enough access to the internet can create a Twitter account. Some are perfectly respectable (some might even be linked to the New York Times) while others (like the ones referenced in the previous paragraph) are clearly terrorist tools. These accounts will post random tweets (inflammatory and otherwise) that can be easily mistaken for real tweets made by the people the user is following. If these are followed, it is easy to believe that these are tweets posted by the actual terrorist organization.
A great way to avoid this is to limit yourself to using the twitter platform only during your normal working hours. Don’t let your Twitter account become a free online chat forum where you can freely blast out any inflammatory statement you want. Also, when you send out a tweet, make sure it is of specific interest to the person you are sending it to. For example, don’t try to tweet about your weekend plans if your significant other just found out that his wife just found out he’s been cheating on her. He’ll be irritated and will likely block you on Twitter.
Another way to avoid becoming a victim of a terrorist organization’s tweet machine is to limit how much information you want to share using twitter. For example, if you run a blog (as many people do nowadays) and you don’t want to upset your potential readers by tweeting inflammatory statements, try to create separate blogs that you will be using as outlet for your tweets. You may also want to keep your personal Twitter account for use in the private, personal use only.
Celebrities have been using twitter for quite some time now, but the problem with celebrities is that not all of them are as careful with what they post online as the average Joe. For instance, not long ago, I read an interview on Slate where Barack Obama was criticized for using personal Twitter to “brush away” possible worries with his former intern over whether or not he was drinking water in the White House. However, there were several people who criticized him for taking advantage of private property (the pool in the background), and for questioning an aide about whether or not they had access to classified government information. The former President later deleted the tweets, but not before millions of his followers noticed them.
The secret to being a successful, persuasive internet marketer using twitter lies in being able to create a powerful presence, without being obnoxious. When you post something to your Twitter account that is relevant, interesting, and perhaps controversial, you want to make sure that everyone notices it. You can do this by perusing popular content in your area and “tweeting” about it in your twitting stream. You can also do this when you see a movie trailer for a particular movie you are interested in. Tweeting about it will allow you to let as many people as possible know about the trailer, while at the same time providing them with a link to your own website or blog where they can go to learn more about the film.
Another secret to being successful using Twitter is to make sure that everything you post is relevant to your website or blog. Many people use twitter to promote their businesses, but you must be careful that you do not promote products in your tweets that would be against the terms and conditions of various social networking sites. Also, be careful what you retweet. If what you retweet appears to be a product advertisement for a company or a similar deal, you may get into trouble. Again, follow the rules of Twitter, and if you are unsure of how to use the platform properly, seek out guidance from experts.