Twitter Travel Tips: Building Community

28.February 2011

Technology, Twitter Travel Tips

When we left for our trip in June2009 Twitter had been around for a little while but it hadn’t really taken off…or at least I didn’t realize the value of it at the time. Since returning I’ve learned much more about how Twitter works and how it can be used as a traveler. I’m no expert by any means but I do think that knowing how Twitter worked would have changed how we traveled. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll share what I’ve learned so that you can put it to use in your own travels!!

Twitter is all about community; the interaction and connection of all those tweeters. It’s the community that makes that cocktail party worth dressing up for! Once you’re in the door, and have yourself a drink, you’ll start meeting new people, having conversations and connecting up all over the place!

Here are a few hints and tips to help you find your Twitter community.

Following. Following someone means that you are subscribed to that persons tweets. Everything that person tweets will show up in your Twitter timeline. It also means that person can send you Direct Messages.

Followers. These are the people that have chosen to follow you. Your tweets will show up in their Twitter timeline. You can send that person Direct Messages.

It is okay to follow people (and have them follow you) even if you don’t know them or have never met. It’s part of what Twitter is about; connecting with a broader community.

Lists. Lists are a great way to manage the people you follow. Instead of just seeing an endless stream of tweets from all of the people you follow, you can organize them into groups or ‘lists’ and then filter the tweets you see based on the grouping.

For example I have a list that contains all the travel bloggers I follow and another one for travel related companies I follow. I also have a list for lifestyle redesign tweeters and a special list I just made of new tweeters that contact me due to this series (then I can keep in close contact with them and help them along).

Finding People To Follow. You want to find people to follow so that you can see what they’re talking about and be part of the discussion; but how to find people that you might be interested in? You’ll want to look for people with common interests; or not. People who are experts in their field; or just like to talk about it a lot. Folks that share what they know; or are connected to those that do. Big conglomerates; and individuals. In short, you want to follow a wide variety of people to get the best conversation you can.

Here are some ways to do that:

  • Twitter | Who To Follow When you’re logged into Twitter, there is a Who To Follow link at the top of  the screen. Here, you can enter in a subject area and Twitter will recommend people for you to follow based on that subject.
  • WeFollow.com and JustTweetIt.com Both of these sites organize Twitter users into categories to help you find interesting people to follow.
  • Follow Who Others Follow If you’re interested in following someone; you like what they have to say and what they share; then look at who they follow and follow along!
  • Follow Other Peoples Lists If you look at another users profile, you can see what lists they have, what lists they are part of, and what lists they follow…all great sources of people to follow. You can either find individuals in the lists to follow or you can follow the whole list (just click the ‘Follow This List’ icon)
  • Follow #hashtags You can search for #hashtags (eg #rtw, #rtwsoon, #travel) and follow the list or find individuals within the search to follow (more on this next time where, in third party applications, you can set a column to monitor #hashtag conversations)

Conversation Remember that Twitter is all about connection and conversations. Talk to those that you follow and who are following you. The great thing about this cocktail party is that it’s not rude to interrupt; jump into a conversation, offer an opinion, ask a question…you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to meet people and how friendly people are.

Next time we’ll discuss third party applications and how they can make managing Twitter so much easier.

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How are you doing in starting to use Twitter? Have you logged on and given it a shot yet? If not, there’s still time…get yourself an account, start finding some people to follow, and join in the conversation.

You can find me at @OneGiantStep…send me a tweet and let me show you around!

You can catch up from the beginning of the Twitter Travel Tips series with these posts:

Twitter Travel Tips: What The Heck Is Twitter?

Twitter Travel Tips: Setting Up Your Twitter Account

Twitter Travel Tips: Simple Syntax

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8 Responses to “Twitter Travel Tips: Building Community”

  1. Mike Lenzen Says:

    Thanks for this post. I’m going to start listing now, I was wondering how to filter the barrage of tweets I’m receiving into something that I can follow.

    Still haven’t jumped into too many conversations with the twitter community yet, but I did have a nice conversation with @Wanderingtradr about South America, whom I otherwise would not have met.
    Mike Lenzen recently posted..Yukon River 2010 – Part 2

    • Gillian Says:

      Listing was a real breakthrough for me, although I have to admit that my lists are now a little out of control and I’m trying to organize them better! What really helped me was finding the third party applications…more on that next time! Cheers!

  2. Debbie Beardsley Says:

    What a timely post! I have only been blogging for about 1 month and am very confused about Twitter. I do have an account and followings and followers but I am still hesitant about what to tweet about. I also found a post with a 30 day Twitter challenge at http://www.endingthegrind.com. I’m committed to this and to getting my mind around this Twitter thing!

    • Gillian Says:

      Hi Debbie…welcome to Twitter…and to blogging! The 30 Day Challenge sounds like a perfect way to get started. Once you find people to follow in your niche (European Travel) you will have plenty to tweet about; you’ll find new friends who are interested in what you are interested in; those new friends are probably writing about things that you, and your followers want to know…you can retweet them and promote others; and you can always promote your own content too. Good luck!

  3. Akila Says:

    Gillian, I love this whole series – it is so fantastic for newbies to Twitter! And, honestly, though I’ve been on it for over a year and half, I’m still terrible at using Twitter to its full capacity. In particular, I need to start subscribing to lists – I think that’s the key to managing your time effectively on it.
    Akila recently posted..travelers talk back- workers while traveling

  4. Jillian Says:

    I agree with Akila, I feel like I’m still learning how to use it fully. I’ve been playing with some third party apps to try and organize and function in the twitter sphere a bit better. Look forward to what you have to say on the subject!

  5. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures Says:

    This will really help a lot of people!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..FAQ’s About My Upcoming Wedding Part 1

  6. Matt Says:

    Great information! I need to do more lists. I find myself missing out on the core people I like to follow. I’ve had problems adding lists from the Twitter web interface though as well as adding followers to the list. Have you experienced this as well?
    Matt recently posted..What I Learned from Fighting

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