The Twitter Book

Twitter is not just for talking about your breakfast anymore. It’s become an indispensable communications tool for businesses, non-profits, celebrities, and people around the globe. With the second edition of this friendly, full-color guide, you’ll quickly get up to speed not only on standard features, but also on new options and nuanced uses that will help you tweet with confidence.

Co-written by two widely recognized Twitter experts, The Twitter Book is packed with all-new real-world examples, solid advice, and clear explanations guaranteed to turn you into a power user.

  • Use Twitter to connect with colleagues, customers, family, and friends
  • Stand out on Twitter
  • Avoid common gaffes and pitfalls
  • Build a critical communications channel with Twitter—and use the best third-party tools to manage it.

Want to learn how to use Twitter like a pro? Get the book that readers and critics alike rave about.

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. Co-written by Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein, widely followed and highly respected Twitterers, the practical information in The Twitter Book is presented in a fun, full-color format that’s packed with helpful examples and clear explanations.

Twitter Tips

1. Even if you use Twitter primarily to post information that’s not directly about your company, you can—and should—use it to sometimes link back to your own site or blog. Many companies find that Twitter can become a top referrer to their sites, so avail yourself of that benefit—just do it in a smart way.
The key is to frame the link in a way that’s interesting to your Twitter followers. So instead of saying, “New Blog Post: Mundane Headline,,” try something like the examples here, each of which links back to the Bigelow Tea blog.

2. If you’re looking to get the most out of Twitter, don’t fall into the trap of posting an RSS feed of headlines from your site or blog. Although there are services that will automate such a connection for you, they simply help you create an impersonal account that duplicates the main feature of an RSS reader. Why bother?

Four Important Things to Search For

If you want really useful search results from Twitter, you have to spend some time playing with the advanced search options to figure out the relevant terms and topics people are talking about. Here are four topics to get you started:
1. Your name. It may be known as a “vanity search,” but keeping an eye on what people say about you is a smart idea. (Don’t forget that putting quotes around your name can help refine the results. Search for “Jane Doe” instead of Jane Doe.)
2. Your Twitter account name. Don’t miss messages to or about you.
3. Your company, brand or product. Peek into the minds of customers, competitors, journalists and other key constituents. If you’re a local business, use the advanced search “Location” option to narrow down results. Also, if your company name is common, use the minus sign to weed out inappropriate results. For instance, if you work for Kaiser Permanente, search for Kaiser -Chiefs to make sure messages about the band don’t overwhelm your results. (Here, a targeted search yields some relevant results.)
4. Your competitors. Get market intel and ideas.

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3 Responses to The Twitter Book

  1. C. Avampato "Christa"

    Power, simple, elegant guide to the what, why, and how questions of Twitter When I read, appropriately enough on Twitter, that Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein had written The Twitter Book, I couldn’t wait to scoop up a copy. Literally. So I sent a message to the book’s Twitter account and asked if I could get an early copy to review. The book is so clear and concise, so necessary to the social media world, that I wondered why on Earth it has taken so long for this kind of book to be written. Tim and Sarah are the perfect people to publish this type of work, both experts in the tool itself and in the art of communication. We’re lucky to have them.The Twitter Book is appropriate for people who’ve never heard of Twitter, who don’t understand it, who like the concept though aren’t sure how to use it, and for Twitter addicts like me. Whether you’re an individual looking to build your own personal brand on-line, someone who is considering starting a business, or part of a large company, the book is chock full of ideas, resources, and helpful advice.I recommend getting a copy of this book and using it as a constant reference the same way you’d use any top-rate how-to guide. I also found that it was incredibly helpful to have my computer in front of me so I could actually experiment with the different tips and resources that Tim and Sarah suggest. Within the pages of the book I also found a few other great people to follow on Twitter.From a personal brand building stand-point, I found dozens of great ideas in The Twitter Book. (For those interested in how The Twitter Book helps business brand building, please see my Business Strategies column on Here are three of my favorite ideas to give you a flavor of what awaits you in this book:1.) Twitter gives you the opportunity have superhuman powers you’ve always wanted: you can read people’s minds and overhear conversations as if you’re a fly on the wall.2.) The art of brevity and timing is priceless. Highest traffic days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, business hours in EST. That’s when the most links, ideas, and thoughts get replies (direct messages – dms – or @ messages) and passed around (“re-tweeted”). People need to see your message (“tweet”) within 5 minutes of you posting it or they likely won’t see it at all. And make it concise and interesting because you’ve only got 140 characters to get your point across.3.) Jargon explained. I hate to be in acronym city. I think a lot of people use acronyms and catch-phrases to make themselves seem better informed than anyone else around. It annoys me. Twitter is no exception. A lot of people scratch their heads when they hear words like “tweet”, “tweeple”, and “tweetup”. I don’t blame them. I did the same thing and for a long while the jargon scared me off. I belonged to Twitter for a year and was mostly inactive before I figured out why it mattered and how it could be useful to me. The most valuable reason to pick up The Twitter Book is to have experts Tim and Sarah explain the jargon in very straight-forward terms, and then show you how the tool can be a very powerful part of your overall brand-building toolkit.Before Tim and Sarah even get the discussion going in the book, they ask for suggestions to improve and enhance the content. The book has given me a lot of great ideas and I want to return the favor to them with a few ideas to consider for the next edition.1.) For people brand new to Twitter, a glossary of terms would be very helpful.2.) A set of easy to reference lists in the appendix would be handy. Common mistakes to avoid on Twitter, top companies using Twitter effectively, etc.3.) An expanded section on how non-profits can use Twitter. It is briefly touched on in the book and I’d love to learn more from Tim and Sarah on new ideas that are particular to nonprofits that would help organizations increase awareness through Twitter.4.) A resource directory, divided up into sections, in the appendix would be handy. For example, a list of third party programs, resources to help trim messages that are over 140 characters, etc.An easy and endlessly helpful resource, The Twitter Book will accelerate the growth and power of Twitter. Generous and honest, Tim and Sarah skillfully help their readers take part in the conversation.

  2. Gene "Retired, chess, computers, Moscow, text...

    Twittter-essential! I have an O’Reilly Safari account and read this book online.I had tried Twitter and was frankly disappointed. I just didn’t see what all the shouting was about.Then I read the Twitter Book and my life changed. I know what the shouting is about. Many ways of using Twitter are shown — indispensable tools!This book, which is co-written by THE O’Reilly of the famous O’Reilly Books, is not just ABOUT Twitter, it is a revolutionary publication all by itself, because of how it is written.It is written for people in a Twitter-type hurry and need for quick, simple information. I read it on my Nokia N800 little computer, but am sending off for a hard copy now to show my friends.This is the no-BS book you are dreaming about. Don’t miss it.

  3. David J. Perdue "MINDSTORMS author"

    A Painless and Fun Way to Learn Twitter The recent Twitter hype has gotten a lot of people interested in the relatively new micro-blogging site, but upon visiting, many just scratch their heads. Some common sentiments are “What value could there be in Twitter?” and “Twitter seems downright silly.” In response to this pervasive confusion, Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein have written The Twitter Book, which proclaims one primary message: Twitter is an enormously useful communication tool with potential for both personal and business use.I liked what I found in the book’s 6 succinct (full color!) chapters. The introduction and “Get Started” chapter describe exactly what Twitter is useful for, explain how to get your profile set up, and demystify key Twitter jargon and conventions. The following “Listen In” chapter discusses Twitter trends and how to track them; searching on Twitter; “life-changing” programs for keeping track of your tweets; and finding and following people.The “Hold Great Conversations” chapter gives some excellent tips on how to effectively and properly communicate with other Twitterers. The “Share Information and Ideas” chapter offers some thoughts on what to tweet and how to be interesting. The “Reveal Yourself” chapter encourages personal tweets and customizing your Twitter account.One of my favorite chapters is “Twitter for Business,” which provides guidance for businesses interested in using Twitter. There are some good examples here of things businesses should and shouldn’t do on Twitter.As a newcomer to Twitter, I found this little book extremely easy to read, understand, and apply. If I’m going to delve into the more advanced uses of Twitter, however, I’m going to need additional resources. The Twitter Book is not a tome on the intricacies of applying Twitter to business; rather, think of this book as a quick introduction for anyone and everyone curious about Twitter.In a nutshell, The Twitter Book tells you what you need to know in order to successfully tweet, gain followers, and–most importantly–find value in Twitter. I highly recommend this book. Read it, enjoy it, and start tweeting!

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