perspective

10 on a Scale of 1 to 5

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

If I could give this piece of music and video a 10 on a scale of 1 to 5, I absolutely would! In fact, on my site, I can! So here it is! Came to My Rescue by Hillsong United, a song also known as Be Lifted High.

Every time I listen to this song I get wrapped in goosebumps and all my hairs stand on end. I decided to look it up on YouTube and share it with you guys. Praise God!

{ 0 comments }

Myspace After the Sale: Wonder What They are Going to do Now

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Now that News Corp. has finally sold Myspace to Specific Media, we’re all left to wonder what they are going to do with it. Mind you, even though the social network collapsed, at the supposed $30-$40 million that it was sold, it’s still quite a deal. Specially given the fact that News Corp. paid a whole lot more for it 6 years ago.

At this point, it’s very hard for anyone to imaging Myspace going up in popularity again. Unfortunately, the constant losses to Facebook has rendered the network “uncool”. You can be unknown, you can be hated, but being “uncool” is probably the worst of the bunch. If you’re unknown, you can always have a breakthrough and become known. If you’re hated, well that’s bad enough, but you can still benefit from it. But being uncool, is like being lukewarm. Hot coffee is good, so it cold coffee; but lukewarm… not so much! It just seems the new owners are either going to ride out what little life the network has left to make a profit over what they paid (before the network completely fizzles away) or they will have to come up with a completely different concept to try and grow (in order words, many risks). Unfortunately, all those redesign tries didn’t quite seem to work for News Corp. Specific Media is going to have to get pretty creative. However, for the old owners to recover their loses they needed a smash hit. The new guys wouldn’t need much to get a return on their investment.

Given that Myspace pretty much introduced most of us to social networking (unless your age is 50 right now) I’m sure we all have good memories of it. Being on Myspace was like having your own website, without all the trouble. It was cool to mess with CSS and come up with new backgrounds, headers and menu pictures for your profile. Somehow, we all thought that was extremely important. I guess not, since Facebook completely trumped it with an interface that was barely customizable. Having said that, I think the major blow to Myspace was and is Facebook’s appeal to all ages. Just think about it. 5 years ago the things there were important to us on Myspace are not important to us anymore. Meaning, we grew up. Facebook knew this and basically created a catch-all for all those growing up high school and college kids.

{ 0 comments }

Get Twitter Followers Without Being Completely Obnoxious

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Mad Twitter Bird Follower

How to Get Twitter Followers Without Being Completely Obnoxious

Seriously, if I had a new Twitter follower for every time I run into somebody who asks “How can I get more followers on Twitter?” I’d have followers coming out of my ears. So, instead of taking the high road, I’m going to address this situation head-on. Yes, I’m tackling the question straight on. However the heck I want to, but still head-on! I mean, look at the title of this thing. It says it all.

Ok, first things first! Why the heck would you want more Twitter followers? Do you suffer from some kind of complex or low self esteem problem? Are you 15 years old? Do you think you’re still on Myspace? Does the number of Twitter followers you posses dictate the size of your… umm… apartment? I know I feel like I’m tiny if I don’t have a million followers. Really tiny. So what? No, but seriously, too many people do the follow-to-follow-back thing. You know what? I pretty much stopped doing that. I’m not Ashton Kutcher. I’m not married to Jessica Alba. My wife’s hotter. Yeah, Jessica Alba is hot. But my wife is blonder. Same skin color, but blonder. Is that really a word? So, since I’m not a celebrity I’m not going to expect a crapload of followers, nor am I going to stress about how I’m going to get more. I just do my thing, day in and day out.

Having said that… If I’m not trying to be a celebrity wannabe (like you) why would I want more followers? Well, A good reason would be… to expand my design business. Ok, ok. Fair enough. That’s a genuine excuse. But otherwise, I love some of my Twitter friends, I really do. But I simply don’t have the time to talk to more than 1,000 people in a week. Heck, 500 is even too much! But there are some Twitter buddies that I simply love to speak to on a daily basis. You know who you are. Yes you.

I realize I still need to answer the question that sprung this post. How to get more Twitter followers without being completely obnoxious? Well, the best thing I can recommend is: write good tweets! Yeah, that’s it! Write good tweets and good quantities of them. “Write good tweets and good twitterers will follow”(made that up too). That simple. Because if you go around trying to buy followers just too look badass, or you spend your time playing the follow-you-follow-me game, your newfound followers are going to suck. So… instead of wasting your time doing that, how about generating good content? You don’t have to suck. It’s not you that sucks. It’s your practices. I’m a nice guy. But I won’t give you a follow back simply because you follow me. Not anymore at least ;) Think I’m talking crap? Haha. Go ahead, follow me on Twitter here and see how I DON’T follow you back.

Now, go take a minute and write a good tweet. In fact, retweet this post. That’s a good start. Little retweet button’s on the bottom right. Later, -D

{ 1 comment }

A Post About Whatever the Heck I Want!

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

View of Point Loma

View of Point Loma from the San Diego Bay channel

Yes! Right now I’m writing a nice post about whatever the heck I want! I don’t care if it does well.  I don’t care if it ranks well on the search engines.  I just want to write for the sake of writing.

It’s Sunday.  The very day before Memorial Day.  I participated in a regatta yesterday from San Diego all the way up to Oceanside.  With all the years of experience I have in the ocean and on boats, I got seasick nonetheless.  I got cold, tired and miserable.  I felt sleepy.  The dang race took like 6 hours and that’s not counting the time it took to get to the starting line and the time it took to run the starting sequence.  Needless to say, I spent 9.5 hours on the boat.  Sick for 5-6 of them!  Depressing.  But hey, we all have our bad days.  I’ve spent thousands of hours aboard all kinds of floating objects, both fast and slow.  So, I guess I shouldn’t be complaining too much about this one.  I love sailing and I’ll be back!

Well, I’m busy working on a few sites.  A particular one is driving me nuts right now as I can’t quite get it the way it needs to be yet.  But it’ll get there.  On the other hand, I’m quite happy that I’m home.  I’m nice and warm, wearing some PJ’s and a hoodie jacket.  I’m listening to Led Zeppelin and the occasional Eminem rap.  I’m not cold or seasick.  Just drowning in work, that’s all.  :)  But honestly, I couldn’t be enjoying my day more.  I think I’ll have another cup of espresso!

{ 0 comments }

WordPress Customization – Secret to Pro Blog Website Design!

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Thesis Wordpress Theme Logo Post Image

There are a trillion WordPress websites out there! Yes, I said a trillion. Meaning lots! Mucho grande. With those trillion WP sites out there comes the desire by the owners to customize those sites. As most of you know, there are tons of ways to do WordPress customization. Methods available are both free and paid and range anywhere from themes to professional WordPress customization services. However, let me start by saying I don’t like or recommend free WordPress themes unless they are in the wordpress.org system. Apart from the spam and hidden code that’s often found in these free themes (stuff that can potentially mess up your site) you simply don’t have the kind of control that you really need over your site. I believe that when it comes to good things, it’s absolutely worth your while paying for them.

WordPress Customization – My secret to pro website design!

Now, I speak to you by experience. I’m not coming up with junk here that I can’t prove. I’m basing what I write here on my own experience customizing this website. What do I use to get this site looking and working as great as it does? The answer is: Thesis WordPress Theme from DIYthemes. When I want quality (always), free goes out the window. With the exception of WordPress itself, I just don’t find that free and quality go together well in the same sentence. That’s why I use Thesis. With Thesis I get the ultimate control over my website. I can design it however I want. I can add features and functionality that others can only dream of when they butcher their websites with a free theme. And it’s not just dannycruz.com! I run a number of other sites as well and all but one of them is running WordPress with Thesis.

When you run a quality theme like Thesis on your WordPress blog or website you also get access to world-class support and a community of web developers that is also kind and eager to help. In fact, that’s one of my favorite features when it comes to being a Thesis developer. When I post a question on the WordPress.org forum I NEVER get a proper answer. In fact, I don’t remember a single time I’ve been able to get help from somebody on the WordPress.org forum. However, when I have a question and I post it up on the Thesis forum, I usually get a useful answer within a few minutes to an hour. Additionally, since the forum is not crowded with junk and a million unanswered questions, like the WP forum is, I can quickly and easily search through it to find the information I need.

As far as functionality goes, this is a list of some of my favorite functionality features that I get by running Thesis:

  1. Easy addition of a custom header image.
  2. Easy addition of a favicon image for my site
  3. Excellent SEO (Search Engine Optimization) control over every page, category, tag and post on my entire website.
  4. Complete control over every color and font used throughout my site.
  5. Piece of mind knowing there are smart minds updating the software for future WordPress releases.
  6. Complete control over all parameters of WordPress blog customization.

Take it from me. It works. Don’t waste time with free themes. A very good friend of mine set me straight and put me on the right track by introducing Thesis to me. You’re reading my blog and I truly appreciate. I want to share this with you just like my friend shared it with me. If you want to have complete control over your WordPress site, Thesis is the best way to do it. Click here to learn more about Thesis Theme for WordPress and save yourself a headache.

{ 0 comments }

What is the Job of a Junior Graphic Designer?

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Landscape Crater SunriseIn my years in the creative design industry I’ve worked with many designers. A question I get asked often is:

What is the job of a Junior Graphic Designer?

While this might be up for personal interpretation, there are certain traits that describe a junior designer. Maybe you are looking to hire one. Or maybe you are planning your graphic design career and want to know where you stand. Well let’s get some details, shall we?

As you might have guessed, a junior graphic designer is close to the starting point in the corporate ladder. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean the designer is a “greenie.” Some have a certain level of experience already. In most cases, before a junior designer you’ll get a student or an intern. In many cases the junior designer might be a very talented artist, but the lack of long-term experience in real-world designing will hold the designer in a junior position for quite a bit of time. A junior graphic designer would be responsible to produce all kinds of creative designs under close supervision of the department head or team leader. In most cases, projects are handed over to the junior designer in an organized manner with clear deadlines. The junior designer rarely takes decisive actions that will change the direction of the final product without the close supervision of the department head. Additionally, they rarely have the responsibility of managing their own time.

As far as experience goes. A junior designer usually has about 1-3 years of graphic design experience. They would generally be somewhat fresh out of college or some even studying still. In other cases, such as with a recent person I was working with, they might be in the middle of a career change. Coming from a different career, they can land a job as a junior designer until they learn the ropes of the new industry. Like with any other industry, having a degree is good, but experience trumps that. No matter what, you have to go through the learning stages in real-word applications.

According the AIGA Graphic Design Salary Survey (2010)* – A junior graphic designer salary, for a designer in a full time position in the USA will make between $29,000 – $35,000 a year. However, due to the high competition for new jobs and the current job market, I can tell you it’s most likely less than that. My estimate is between $22,000 – $29,000 a year. But don’t despair. If you really want to be a successful designer, you can! While this initial step as a junior designer doesn’t pay much, it’s a great learning experience. Also, I remember my junior designer days back in 2001-ish to be some of the most fun I’ve had as a designer. So, take it one step at a time, crawl, then walk, then run. Be diligent, and you’ll get there!

If you are working on developing your career as a designer subscribe to my blog here.  I post a lot of valuable information that will greatly help you.

*Source: AIGA – Aquent Survey of Design Salaries 2010 – designsalaries.org (USA job for an entry-level designer in a 10-99 employee national company)


{ 8 comments }

What is Twitter and How Does it Work?

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Funny Twitter Bird Custom Post Image

In recent weeks I have released a number of Twitter tips articles based on my own experience.  Most of the information in these articles is intended for people with some level of experience with the service.  I do realize however there are thousands of new people joining Twitter every single day.  Somebody has to take care of these folks!  Let’s put the finer nuances aside and talk about the basics…

What is Twitter and how does it work?

By definition:

Twitter is a micro-blogging service.  By definition, a blog comes from the term “Web log” and is essentially a web journal.  By stripping away all the details involved in managing your own blog or site and leaving only the bare essentials, you end up with a service like Twitter.  The log is there, it’s called a timeline.  Every entry that you make into the timeline is logged in order just like a blog but without all the bells and whistles.  The stripped down nature of the logs and the fact that each post or “tweet” is only 140 characters long earns it the name micro-blogging.

What makes it unique?

The unique aspect of Twitter is that while it’s a stripped down way of blogging, it adds a number of functionality features that makes it a unique place to interact with others.  The requirement of short messages also adds to the fact that almost everything that is said on there is straight to the point.  You only have 140 characters to say what you want to say, so you better go straight to the point.  Unlike email or traditional blog posts, you don’t have to worry about the time it is going to take you to write a long detailed message because you simply can’t!  This means you don’t have to worry about the finer details like introductions, signatures and all the other things that often take time and detract you from simply writing in the first place.  You can just concentrate on writing, quickly and easily.

The features:

Let’s go ahead and break these down by points. It’ll be easier and more intuitive to handle this in small, bite-size chunks:

Twitter Timeline

Example of my Twitter timeline. Click to view in actual size.

  • Timeline: The list of messages (tweets) that is populated by the people you follow. Keep in mind you also have an individual timeline. That one is in your profile and shows only YOUR tweets. Mine looks a little like this: (See photo to the right.)
  • Followers: These are the people that are subscribed to you. Whatever you write shows up in their timeline.
  • Following: These are the people you are subscribed to, who’s tweets you read. Whatever these people write shows up in your timeline.
  • Replies: (aka @replies or @, or mentions) This are tweets directly at someone or about someone specifically.  That someone is the username to which the “at” symbol is applied.  Since not all replies are directed at somebody, but instead “about” somebody, these are also called “mentions.”  For example, if you are directing a reply to me, you would type @sixstringsensei . Make sure not to attach anything else to the reply link or it will break.  Full stops (periods) at the end generally cause no problems, but I still avoid it.
  • …you can can only send direct messages to people following you and you can only receive direct messages from people you follow.

  • Direct Messages: (aka DM) These are private messages which are not displayed publicly.  It’s the only way to discuss something privately with another user while still using Twitter.  The trick to DMs though is that while you can trade @replies with anybody on Twitter, whether they are followers or not, DMs can only be received if the recipient is following  the sender.  In layman’s terms, you can can only send direct messages to people following you and you can only receive direct messages from people you follow.  If you are following somebody who is also following you, you can exchange direct messages no problem.
  • Hash Tags (#):  Don’t let these scare you.  All they do is turn a word into a link to other tweets.  If you type a “#” in front of any word like this, #design, that word will be become a link to other tweets bearing the same hash-tagged word.  It’s an easy and covenient way to link topics together.
  • Trending Topics: Trending topics is simply a topic that is being talked about often during a time period.  I’m not going to go into detail as to how many times a topic needs to be mentioned to become a “trend” but let’s just say it’s a lot!  Trending topics can be single words or phrases stuck together to form links with hashtags.  Kind of like this: #designer or #designerofthemonth.  Usually, when big news breaks out, such as the Japanese Tsunami or Michael Jackson’s death, it’ll become a trending topic.  Keep in mind that searches for topics on Twitter will return results for the search term whether or not they have a hash tag.
  • Lists: This is one of my favorites.  Followers can create lists based on a topic or title and then place the people they follow in these lists according to topic.  For example, I keep lists of people for design, music, surfing, skateboarding and more.  It’s a simple way of reading the tweets I want to read based on the subject these people usually talk about.  Not only that, but I can group friends into lists, or group my favorite follows together.  It makes it easier to find what you are looking for rather than sifting through an entire timeline.  This works for your tweets as well.  People will list you according to what your tweets are based on, or whether or not you’re a friend or they actually like you in the first place! I sometimes encourage my followers to list me under the terms I know I tweet about such as playing music, design, graphics, surfing and such. It quickly helps those who not know me that well realize what niches I tend to fit in.

Tips:

Now that you understand the basics of Twitter let me give you a few important tips to get you started:

  • Add a Profile Photo: As soon as you get started I suggest you upload a profile photo. Most people will not read, or care about users with the stock Twitter “egg” as the profile picture. Not only that, but you could easily be mistaken for a spammer. While some people use photos of stuff other than themselves, I recommend a photo of your face. A photo of your face will add value to your messages. Up to you though.
  • Follow Some People: Do a quick search on a topic that interests you. Then, follow some of those people who talk about your interest. Reply to them about their tweets. People appreciate knowing someone is reading their tweets. You don’t have to ask for a follow back. A thoughtful reply to someone’s else tweet is usually the best way to earn a follower.  Don’t go on a crazy following spree.  Following about 50 people is more than enough at first.  Later on, once you get the hang of things, you can up your follow list to 100.  Watch out, following too many people when you have a small amount of followers isn’t very useful and just plain looks bad.
  • Decide on a Topic: You can talk about whatever you want; multiple things too.  However, in order to gain some momentum it is good practice to focus on a topic which you enjoy and are good at and tweet about it.  Not only will it make tweeting easier, but more enjoyable and rewarding too.  Soon enough you will start seeing people catching on.  The more valuable the content, the better.
  • Avoid the Mundane: People follow other for good content.  Good content is information that will help edify others.  Try to avoid tweeting about the common things from your every day life, such as eating, showering or watching TV unless something eventful actually happened during that time.
  • Protected Tweets Twitter Profile Settings

    You have the option to protect your tweets so only approved followers can read them. Click to see actual size screenshot.

  • Promote your Profile: If you have a website, Facebook page or other social network profile it is a good idea to link to your Twitter account from there.  If you use Twitter for business, you can have your username printed on business cards.  The idea is to promote your Twitter presence.  However, if you use Twitter just for friends or family you may want to keep your profile on the down low.  For people like you, there is a protected tweets option that will hide your tweets from anybody not following you.  You will have to approve any potential followers if you use this feature.  You can find this option under you profile option > Settings.  See the sample screenshot to the right.
  • Hook Up to Your Phone: Just about everyone I know has a smartphone these days.  Find out what apps are available for your phone model whether it be an iPhone®, Droid® or whatever.  Some of the favorites are Twitter for iPhone®, TweetDeck and Echofon.  Even if you don’t have a smartphone you can still text posts to Twitter via their “mobile” option in the settings page.  Most of my best tweet ideas occur on the road.  You’ll find you need to make posts when you are away from you computer.  Also, when it comes to Twitter connections, it’s always best to answer replies and direct messages in a timely fashion.  If you have to wait to get to a computer all the time, that’s not going to help you answer in a timely fashion.
  • Be Nice and Retweet: People greatly appreciate when you read their posts and reply.  They even like it better when you retweet their posts.  Essentially, retweeting involved reposting someone else’s tweet to your followers giving credit to the original writer.  The traditional way of doing it involved copying and pasting the user’s tweet into your timeline while preceding it with an “RT” and an “@Reply.”  Should look a little something like this: RT @sixstringsensei Expectations are only disappointments waiting to happen. Don’t expect. Do!” Not so long ago Twitter introduced a quick retweeting function that allows for retweeting without having to copy and past.  If you use that function, you will be put the entire tweet, plus the user’s profile photo into your followers timeline.  There are pros & cons to both methods so my recommendation is you use them both in different occasions.  That’s it for now.  Be nice and retweet this article.  :)

Click here to follow Danny Cruz @sixstringsensei on Twitter.  This would be a great way to start!

Silly Twitter Bird Custom Image

{ 2 comments }

New Twitter Followers – Reasons Why it’s Harder to Get Them Now. Part 2

by Jane Michelle| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Twitter Yellow Intense Watching Eyes

Tweet! Tweet! I'm watching you too!

Photo by: Johan J. Ingles

(This post is part 2 of the article, New Twitter Followers – Reasons Why it’s Harder to Get Them Now. Part 1 Here. It’s based on an exchange of emails between the author of this reply, Jane and myself.  It offers quite a bit of insight on the situation on Twitter and the difficulty of acquiring legitimate new followers these days.  I suggest you read the first part of the article as well in order to get a complete idea.)  -Danny (Editor)

Hi Danny,

Thanks for the email and blog post about Twitter follows. A lot of what you’re saying makes sense. I haven’t thought enough about Twitter implementing restrictions nor its effects but I do see a difference in Twitter all around from 3 years ago. It has a ton more users, businesses, too many “bots”, and just a different flow of communication with so much more noise. But I think Twitter still works. If users genuinely want content, or want to see what you’re up, to they are going to follow. It might just take more time. I may be restating you but I’ll share a little of my experience with Twitter and follows.

1. Saturation: Twitter is saturated with new users who don’t really understand it and with a ton of new business accounts. This changes the experience of Twitter, how it functions and our access to content. It’s interesting that what seemed like this underground niche (blogging and Twitter) has turned into something everyone does. This can be a great contribution to connections and content, but it has its annoying downside. In my adult community I’ve seen a lot of cyber pressure to have specific worldviews or political views and a lot of stuff that probably isn’t thought through before it’s published. I don’t enjoy that aspect of saturation in social media when it starts to affect individuality because it feels homogenizing. But these users probably follow and inform themselves inside of a small community so it won’t affect follows directly. But it has affected the number of users and noise to sift through.

Twitter is way more saturated with businesses and spam bots than when we started. I have many friends trying to promote their companies and it’s really hard to differentiate the clothing lines they create and advertise from their personal content. To resolve this I’ve suggested they create separate Twitter and Facebook accounts for business, or to simply restrain from spamming with ads. This way I can be in the know on what’s happening in peoples’ lives but don’t have to get 30 real-estate listings in my feed when I’m not in the market. Otherwise, they just need to be a little more thoughtful about it. You are awesome with this! [Thank you! -Ed] Twitter could be reaching that arc in its growth where if it doesn’t retain a little structure then not only will the content suffer but the company itself could. This may be why they are restricting 3rd party applications and adding promoted tweets- ways of control and monetization for an expanding business.

2. The “follow-for-follow” issue: Like you, there are people I’ve done this with. Some of them I don’t particularly seek out their content but most I enjoy seeing in my timeline. And then there are the people I follow whose tweets I read every few days. I agree with you, “If you’re following everyone then you’re following no one.” I think this exchange can work when used with discernment. If Twitter is involved in payment for followers I think they are only doing themselves a disservice by, like you said, diluting content.

3. Keyword search: You mentioned keyword use to search through Twitter and having to really thin through the bulk to find contacts of interest. I don’t know if everyone does this because it does take time. I still like this method on Twitter’s platform because it works and I believe it will push us to be more creative. There are so many different reasons why people use Twitter and we are all looking for content we feel is relevant as individual users. By looking through trends and hash tags, then following or retweeting, this all seems to aggregate. Often the best content/tweets find their way up.

4. How could I forget #FF. Follow Friday was something I paid attention to 3 years ago. But, when someone lists 500 followers in my feed it’s clear they aren’t giving a shout out to a friend or a contact that inspired them. After I was included in several tweets and felt all special, I checked the page and saw the account Follow Friday’d their entire follower list. So again, I think it works if it’s used with thoughtfulness.

5. Being female: I won’t disagree on that except for, I don’t have a preference over female vs. male Twitter users. There are so many other issues women would probably rather have an edge on. [Refers to the edge that girls can have over guys in collecting new followers.  Read part 1 for more on this. -Ed]

On the whole, I think the best ways to maintain the followers we want are by taking the time to actively seek contacts and content, retweeting what we really like, tweeting well (there are many blog posts on that issue), and giving a shout out to friends without spamming the timeline.

I continue to try to present substantive, fun information and be a part of the online conversation (I’ll try harder haha). I’m incredibly grateful for the friendships and connections I’ve made through Twitter. Part of what makes you unique and interesting, Danny, is that you genuinely have a lot of talent and passion and a fascinating variety of interests in life. [Again, many thanks - Ed]. So I guess this is where I feel like those accounts that don’t have authenticity will fall away. I trust people will find ways of getting to the good stuff they are looking for and we can rely on who we follow to show us new and interesting information. I don’t think numbers really matter much by themselves. Who wants 5000 followers bots anyway? The quality of information and connections we make are so much better. I think if the integrity of the user is there then the right people will follow.

Best to you!
Jane

Jane Michelle Subscribe Contributor Pic

About the author:  Jane Michelle studied philosophy and religion, then found her way to acting, film & new media.  She seeks to balance the creative with the analytical.  Click here to follow Jane on Twitter.

{ 0 comments }

How to Succeed on Twitter – The Personal Common Sense Approach

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Hana Social Flower in Maui

After the big interest shown on last week’s post about new Twitter followers…
(Read the article Twitter Followers – Why it’s Harder to Get Them Now here) I decided to write a follow up. In this follow up article I’ll to teach you what I do in order to have success on Twitter. You can do things your own way. It’s not like you have to do things exactly like I do. At the very least however, I know these tips have worked for me in an excellent way. Keep in mind, you should go for quality, not quantity.

1.  Be 3-dimensional. Some people tend to be focus solely on writing new tweets, others seem to focus on conversation and yet others spend their entire time searching keywords in order to follow other people hoping for a follow back. It’s important that you be 3-dimensional in that you find a perfect balance between writing good content, engaging with other people and searching to expand your connections. It’s like a 3 legged stool. If you take out one of the legs you’re going to fall over.  No exceptions.

Don’t spend your time selling on Twitter. People don’t want to buy your **** anyway!

2.  Use proper grammar. People, this is a writing and reading tool. Do you think people are going to want to read your tweets if they have a hard time figuring out what the heck it is you are trying to say? Worst, once they see you’re a sloppy writer they will most likely never come back. Even if you learn to finally write properly it will be very hard to get some of those people interested in you again. So, get this right the first time around. It’s not about writing like an English major. It’s about writing clearly and composing your ideas properly as to engage readers. One good thing about the short length of tweets is that it really puts people to the test on composing interesting content in short bursts. Another thing…. Proofread. Yes, proofread! While every once in a while I’ll overlook mistakes, most of the time I catch them before I post them. If you don’t proofread what you write you are just going to sound stupid more often than not (or at the very least, careless).

3.  Read tweets. I briefly touched on this in point 1, but I must mention it again. Unless you are Ashton Kutcher or Oprah, you won’t develop any lasting connection on Twitter if you don’t interact with others. And guess what? Event the celebrities engage with their fans from time to time. If even the famous types take the time to talk to their fellow twitterers, what makes you think you are going to get away with being a self-centered jerk? Take the time to skim through the new tweets in your timeline. You’re bound to run into something that catches your eye. If you found something you liked, hit the person back. If you do this a little every day, you will be surprised at how many people you are actually connecting with. You don’t have to speak with a person every single day in order to make it count. Sometimes I speak with some people once a week, or once a month. But, I’ve taken my time to connect with that person. He or she knows I’m available to talk or help whenever.

4.  Don’t post junk. No, seriously. While a joking tweet about your lunch and one about you washing the car comes across well once in a while, talking crap about mundane things is just that; mundane. Everybody watches TV, everybody eats, everybody showers (hopefully), nobody wants to read about you doing it. If you are a bit racy and tweet about your sexual encounters that’s up to you, at the very least it’ll hold an audience. But crap about your TV watching afternoon won’t.

5.  Diversify. That’s another good thing about Twitter. You don’t have to stick to only one topic. Most people reading your tweets have more than one interest. You might not hit everyone’s sweet spot with every single tweet, but you might be able to at least tickle more than one. Plus, writing about different topics increases the amount of people that might be interested in what you have to say. While this might be a screw-up for a blog, website, magazine or company, it might be just fine for micro-blogging on Twitter.

6. Update your bio. I don’t think anybody is capable of completely defining themselves in 140 characters. I know a lot of people never change their bio but I believe it helps show off your multiple interests and talents if you change your bio once in a while. Not only that, but little keyword changes here and there every once in a while can help those doing automatic searches find you. This is not completely necessary but it seems to work well for me.

7.  Be prompt. In other words, reply to DMs and Mentions in a timely manner.  Topics on Twitter move fast and they get old very quick. More often than not, if you wait an entire day to reply to a tweet the person won’t even remember what the heck you are talking about. So, if you want to succeed on Twitter, make it a habit to reply sooner instead of later. If you don’t want to be a slave to the updates, set 2 or 3 times during the day to be reminded to check for mentions or DMs and reply to them right away. You will engage your followers and the people you follow better if you do this. Most will really appreciate the prompt replies too.

8. Review your intent. What’s your intent when tweeting? I originally joined Twitter just to “try it out” but I quickly saw the possibilities and immediately got hooked. However, even though I now use Twitter for both personal and business use, I make sure to keep the personal relationships as the top priority. Don’t spend your time selling on Twitter. People don’t want to buy your **** anyway! Instead, put sincere effort in connecting with people and having meaningful conversations about stuff other than business. Not only is it more gratifying that selling **** all the time, but people are not into simply buying stuff anyway. They prefer connecting with people and the people behind the brands. The money will come later if what you have to sell is actually any good.

Well, that’s it. This is what I do for Twitter success. Hopefully you can implement some of it for your own tweeting well-being. Share this article with friends. Not to brag, but a lot of this is common sense and if the vast majority of users would implement this, Twitter would be an even better place. Have at it! -DC

Click here to follow me @sixstringsensei and post your comments via Twitter.

{ 1 comment }

New Twitter Followers – Reasons Why it’s Harder to Get Them Now. Part 1

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Twitter Eagle Eyes

Tweet, Tweet! I'm watching you!

Photo by: Johan J. Ingles

Recently, I had a discussion with a friend about what seems to be a loss in momentum of acquiring legitimate new followers on Twitter.  The email also brought up the current issue of the saturation of Facebook pages.  I felt the information was too interesting to keep to ourselves so I decided to publish it.  Read on…

Hi Jane,

I was scratching my head yesterday thinking about what seems to be a slow down of new followers on Twitter.  While I’m still a bit puzzled I have a few theories as to why.  At first I thought it had something to do with the hordes of people joining.  It seems they would be taking up all the new potential follows.  However, you would also think those new people are new potential followers as well.  So figure that.  Anyway, my thought is that’s it’s due to a combination of things.  Don’t quote me on any of these as they are just speculations:

1. Twitter’s tighter control over 3rd party software. 3rd party following/unfollowing software used to be more free to do whatever people wanted. It’s not that open anymore.  Twitter has imposed a number of rules as to what this software can and cannot do.  While searching for followers by keywords can provide some nice contacts, it’s all bulk, so in the end you have to thin out the crowd and separate the weeds from the good stuff. Seems like many people are starting to realize that.  However, this 3rd party following software issue I think is the least of the causes of the loss in momentum.

2. Not new anymore. Remember when Facebook first launched “pages” – I opened http://facebook.com/sixstringsensei and http://facebook.com/rightisbackside around that time.  Not only was I able to get about 200+  ”likes” (at the time “fans”) on one page, and 150+ on the other within a week, but they also allowed me to set a custom URL for each of them.  Nowadays, with everybody and their mother having “pages” you’re lucky if you can get 100 likes unless you’re famous or are pumping money into them.  I created a page for the bike accessory company I do work for and another for the their high-end bike line.  After months they only have between 20-60 likes. This is a company that is  fairly known.  Anyway, I went on a tangent there.  Point is, people are not gobbling up new followers on Twitter as they were in the beginning just like Facebook pages are not producing as many “likes” as when they first started.  Now, there are the new guys who follow just for the sake of follow backs and then you have the veterans like us who are a little more cautious as to who you follow.  Which leads me to…

If you are following everyone, you are following no one.

3. Follower saturation. This has to do with following people just the sake of follow backs.  This is very similar to what was happening with Myspace when the idea first started.  People were following anybody and everybody just to get more “friends.”  This has been happening on Twitter the whole time I’ve been there.  I’m as guilty as the next guy when it comes to following certain people only because they follow me back.  While, I do read their tweets sometimes, I keep a private list (my little black book if you may) of people who I really care about  and check their tweets on a daily basis.  When you are following so many people at once it’s almost impossible to keep up with everyone.  In cases like that Twitter loses a lot of it’s effectiveness and the quality of your followers also decreases.  I mean, how good is a follower if he or she doesn’t read your tweets?  Right?  I think people are starting to realize this and are slowing down the pace at which they click the follow button.  You could say Twitter is maturing.  I guess it can be summarized like this: “If you are following everyone, you are following no one.”

4. Paying for followers. Another thing I noticed is that many new Twitter users are showing up with a ridiculous number of followers when all they have is a few tweets.  I haven’t looked too much into this, but I guess they are paying to get those followers.  While it’s fine that Twitter make some money, the down side is that it dilutes good content.  It also frustrates the people that actually post good content since there are others posting junk that can simply pay their way in.

As a guy, I had to employ the follow to get follow backs deal at first in order to grow.  However, I kept that under control and didn’t overdo it.  As a girl with talent, you have that edge when it comes to gathering followers that don’t mind if you don’t follow them back.  It is what is is.  Pros and cons of being either male or female.  But, I don’t regret the time spent on Twitter.  I have met amazing people and have made genuine friends.  I have been able acquire more knowledge in all my varied interests and have also been able to help others.

Cheers,
Danny

Click here to add your comments via Twitter

{ 2 comments }