I was pleased to receive my review copy of The Twitter Book by Tim O'Reilly, Sarah Milstein. The O’reilly site describes it this way: “This practical guide will teach you everything you need to know to quickly become a Twitter power user, including strategies and tactics for using Twitter's 140-character messages as a serious--and effective--way to boost your business.” I would agree. This is an essential manual for anyone who wants to make the most of Twitter.
Now I was a reluctant follower of Twitter as I described in my Thoughts on Twitter and Business for Enterprise 2.0 Conference. First, I made a confession. I used to make fun of Twitter. I compared the endless stream of 140 character bits to Luis Borges' Library of Babel where, as the Wikipedia conveys his work published in 1941 conveys that, the "order of the books is random and apparently completely meaningless. Though the majority of the books in this universe are pure gibberish, the inhabitants believe that the library also must contain, somewhere, every coherent thought. This glut of chaotic information was leaving the librarians in a state of suicidal despair. But somewhere there was a book, the Crimson Hexagon, that contains the log of all the other books and the librarian who reads it is akin to God."
TweetDeck was the Crimson Hexgaon to make sense of the stream of tweets and The Twitter Book provides that function for Twitter itself. My copy is full of post-it tabs. It gets you started, explains search on Twitter, provides tips on getting the right followers and coaches you on how to provide useful information through your tweets. The format is a page of text across from a page of useful illustrations.
The final chapter discusses Twitter for business. The headlines here are: listen first, have clear goals, integrate with your other channels, start slow and build, coordinate multiple accounts, make sure you can be found, retweet your customers, and post mostly NOT about your company. These are all things I am trying to do on my own Twitter account (@billives) and that of one of my ventures, Darwin Development Corp (@darwindev). Pick up a copy if have not already.