The Twitter Book

Digital Book Club

By Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein (O’Reilly Media, 2009)

May 2009

The Twitter Book By Tim O’Reilly and Sarah MilsteinTwitter: micro blog, presence application, new era messenger tool, the next Facebook – whatever you think about this funky young platform, you have to acknowledge that it’s become the new ‘must-have’ for every big marketing strategy. This is the first book to properly tie it all together in a clear, simple and effective way.

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The Twitter Book
O’Reilly Media Inc
June 2009
By Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein
ISBN 9780596802813

Twitter: micro blog, presence application, new era messenger tool, the next Facebook – whatever you think about this funky young platform, you have to acknowledge that it’s become the new ‘must-have’ for every big marketing strategy.

Having played with it for about three years, I’ve been puzzled by two things:

  • The level of interest a brand needs to have for people to want to follow it
  • The amount of talk and hype, often from those who never even used the platform

So when O’Reilly announce they’ve published The Twitter Book, you have to be interested. Tim O’Reilly has that rare art of both being able to make the complex simple, and being a deep subject expert at the coalface. He writes his own blogs, Tweets his own Tweets, and pulls no punches when hype is ahead of substance.

The book starts as a deceptively simple 1.01 of how to use the tool, but the insights are rich and the tips easy to follow.

What’s Twitter great for?

  • Sharing news and commentary
  • Sharing breaking news and experiences
  • Mind-reading the market

For experienced online marketers, here are a couple of ideas the book explores that might be useful:

  • Tracking trends using TwitScoop and Twopular
  • Advanced search and how to find what you want
  • How to get the most from TweetGrid
  • Sending smart replies with @

And along the way there are a few words of warning: why marketers shouldn’t sink into the depths of automatically direct messaging, the challenge about frequency ‘Twitter often…but not too often’, how to know your followers without being intrusive, and sound advice for a bunch of likely mistakes marketers new to Twitter will make.

The Twitter book also explores some of the etiquette in a young digital environment, such as how to tune out of a conversation politely, how to cite previous posts and the smart use of TinyURL et al to fit web addresses into 140 characters.

Reading between the lines and tweets, you come away with a stronger sense of what Twitter can do, and how to use it smartly. Teach new digital tool comes with its own processes, approaches and evolving rules. This gives the starting point for where Twitter is right now. Enjoy.

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