Aug 16, 2014

Twitter: the best social network for your business and career

In my humble opinion Twitter is undoubtedly the most deceiving social network in terms of its usefulness. Usually the first reaction when you talk about Twitter is “what a nonsense! Write text messages of just 140 characters so anyone can read them.” I must admit I had the same reaction and it took me quite some time to understand it as a concept. Until I decided to use it completely. Then I discovered a true world of possibilities. Today it is definitely my favorite network, the one that I use most and the one that I can have more advantage of.

If used well, Twitter allows you to keep up in real time with everything that interests you. Greatly facilitates communicating with people (and customers) with the same interests, and monitors what is being said out there about you or your company. It spreads very fast and with a good impact on your organization information. You can contact people with people of the strangest specialties very quickly thanks to the multiplier effect of the network. And much more.

The maximum length of 140 characters for each tweet, which a priori may seem a limitation, actually force you to be very concise and condense a lot of information in a small space or go straight to the point. Thanks to this you can read the tweets of the people you follow very fast and is very easy to find what really interests you.

People who participate in Twitter is usually much more participating and proactive than other social networks. Its importance as a source of global information is growing and it has become popular to the point that even TVs have a “hashtag” to allow anyone to participate through twitter.

Here are a few tips to start using Twitter

  1. Pick a good name and profile
    Obviously that is free, but think hard before you decide. The name you choose should reflect your target with good social network. If you have no intention of using it to tweet but rather to follow other people, perhaps the name is not very important. But you never know when you'll want to start being active. Unless you are going to use it as a profile to send comedy tweets (like many people do), a good choice is serious name, and better if it reflects your real name somehow or your company name.

    In any case your name should be as short as possible. The longer it is other user will have less space to mention you.Work on your profile, choose a good photo (or at least a nice image) and put a bit about yourself: everyone likes to know who to follow and who follows them. Also, if you put your interests or your job other users are more likely to get interested in you (if that's your intention, of course).
  2. Choose thoroughly who you follow
    When you start using Twitter nobody follows you and also you will follow noone. Set aside your friends here (remember that you have Facebook) and think of the people of your interest areas that you think may be on Twitter. Also in enterprises, as it is very likely that the major companies in your area or interest are present in this network. Find all of this possible Twitter users using the search in Twitter directly, or even a search engine with the desired name and then the word Twitter.

    If you are not interested in posting, however you want to keep up with those you care about, you just have to worry to follow the right people. There are online directories sorted by categories: wefollow.com, twellow.com are a couple of good starting points to find interesting people to follow. Twitter itself will suggest users constantly. Ah! And check who are following the people you follow, you will always find interesting users.

    Check out the "timeline" of those people to see what they have posted in recent days. If you see most of the posts are of the type "I get up", "I'm going to work", "I'm taking a beer" or it is someone that posts something every two minutes, then it is not a good candidate to follow. The important thing is to see they post on a regular basis (but not too much) and what they post is generally related to your interests.

    By the way, you can follow me here. I post from a pseudonym as I share the Twitter account with a partner and we post a little of anything, especially links to our recent posts or about the app we are developing.

  3. Post things you that have interest and don't get dispersed
    This advice is actually the same as above but from your point of view. Obviously, as you will not want to follow someone cumbersome, and of course, you don't want that somebody think that about you. For this reason: focus the topics of your posts, share links, "retweet" interesting things to read and, for heaven's sake, avoid FourSquare and similar social networks except that is what you are looking for. If you want people to follow you, you will need to advertise and disseminate your account too, so put it in your email signature, your facebook profile, your blog or personal website, and slowly, if your tweets are interesting you will grow your followers. Be wary of so-called experts that tell you techniques to get hundreds of followers in a few days. Nor is meaningless start following people aimlessly hoping that they follow you automatically. It is way better a few concerned followers that many followers but worthless.
    Moreover, your followers say a lot about you too. In my case, before going to follow someone apart from checking their "timeline" also look who they follow and who follows them. When I meet people who have 30,000 followers, but they still turn to 45,000 is a very bad sign. Most often, the best tweeters to follow just a few people in proportion to the followers they have. If they follow thousands of people, is because they do are not really following their tweets. And those who follow tens of thousands of people, are usually robots or people who have bought their followers in exchange of an automatic follow.

  4. Make lists
    I follow a few people because I'm really interested in what they say. When I tried to follow more than 200 tweeters I could not pay attention. I often check the "timeline" several times a day to see what draws my attention. But I also mane lists (private in my case), classifying people by topics of my interest. You can classify them according to the criteria that best suits you.

    The beauty of assigning people to lists is that you don't have to follow them and this does not add "noise" to your "timeline", but at the same time you have it available to check their tweets.
    The lists should not be very large either. Precisely the aim of the lists is that you can visit them from time to time and do not miss interesting tweets from people you care about. If there are too many people on the list will look much like the "timeline" and you'll see a lot of "noise". Keeping them small and selective and avoiding people who do post as submachine guns, you'll find useful information classified into categories that make sense to you.

    Another similar utility is the ability to save searches. You can keep searching for words, hashtags, etc ... to consult from time to time and find out news on specific subjects. Do not underestimate this possibility.

  5. Do not use directly Twitter
    Today Twitter essentially provides APIs to manage their information. Though of course you can use Twitter from its interface, it is limited in many things on the market and many applications for all systems and devices that enable richer interact with the service. Thus it will be easier to answer, follow conversation threads, monitor keywords (hashtags) or searches, generate and follow shortened links, etc ... My favorite application is Hootsuite which is free and web based, with versions for iPhone and Android, but there are many more like Seesmic or Tweetdeck to name the best known. Try some of these Twitter clients and see many other possibilities, such as to schedule tweets at a certain time or get detailed statistics about the clicks on the links you've posted.

  6. Use shortened links
    This advice is pretty obvious, since we only have 140 characters available, if you put a long URL then you will not have enough space to share with the text and, in extreme cases, you will not even be able to enter the URL. This services like Bit.ly or Goo.gl, or the ones built-in with some of the tools mentioned in the previous point, offer a simple, convenient way to point to the same pages with very few characters. Twitter offers its own integrated shortener, but I personally do not like it much because it shows part of the URL but uses a different address. Besides you can't get click statistics with it.

    As an added benefit the shortening generally provide statistical control of clicks that are made on the links and the "Tweets" made with them, which is very interesting, especially for businesses. Most Twitter clients like those mentioned above, are integrated with a shortening service, which further simplifies the use of these short URLs.
  7. Use hashtags to mark the topic
    The "hashtags" are short tags preceded by a "hash" (#) decorating the tweets to tie them to a particular topic. Thus, it is usual to include them in each post to indicate the topic or topics being addressed. These hashtags become links that you can click and view all the tweets on the same topic. You can also search for hashtags, and thus find things that interest us or see what people are saying about it. For example, if you want to search for a new job as a developer you may try to search for "#work #developer".

    The hashtags are also used to find real-time information on certain topics. For example, something as prosaic as follow people's comments in a television program, but other as important as following the progression of a catastrophe or any kind of event. This is a real case that happened to me and thousands of other people where the hastags became really useful when, a few years ago, we were stuck all over the world due to the famous volcanic ash cloud from Iceland. It was enough to monitor #ashtag and #ashcloud to be aware in real time of everything that was going on regarding this issue, and the latest news as they are produced. Even to find other travelers trapped to share transportation and get out from Luxembourg (which is where I was).

Conclusions

Indeed, social media can become a scourge for your productivity. But if you use them the right way, in its scope and specific purpose, might be very helpful.

You can use them to keep in touch with friends and family or to enhance your hobbies. We can take advantage in our workplace or to keep up with subjects that interest you, even in real time. It is also possible that your intention is to reach many people and use them as a means of promoting your business or activity.

In any case you must learn to use them well and can go from being a waste of time to be your best allies.

I hope you have served to encourage you to use if you did not, or better use if you were already using it.

Remember to check our timeline in the sidebar and also follow me on @criticthinking
In any case I hope this post was useful and interesting!
This post was published first at Put in your basket, 9:54 AM

Aug 11, 2014

Checklist after a bike accident

When you go out biking there's always a small risk of falling, crashing or getting involved in an accident, if you are well protected and you are lucky probably will be nothing but you should always be cautious because some bike malfunctions could be easily overlooked.

First of all you should be very cautious, only ride back very carefully by taking the shortest possible way, if your bike went through the following check without any doubt. Do not accelerate or brake hard and do not ride your bike out of the saddle.
  1. Check whether the wheels are still firmly fixed in the drop-outs and whether the rims are still centered with respect to the frame or fork. Spin the wheels and watch the clearance between brake pads and rims. If the width of the clearance changes markedly and you have no way to true the rim where you are, you will need to open the brakes a little, if necessary, so that the rim can run between the brake pads without touching them. In this case remember that the brakes will not act as powerfully as you are used to.
  2. Check whether the handlebars and stem are neither bent nor ruptured and whether they are level and upright. Check whether the stem is firmly fixed in the fork by trying to twist the handlebars relative to the front wheel. Also, briefly lean on the brake levers to make sure the handlebars are firmly fixed in the stem.
  3. See whether the chain still runs on the chain-ring and sprockets. If your bike fell over to the chain side, check that the gears still function properly. Ask somebody to lift the bicycle by the saddle and gently shift through all the gears. Pay particular attention when switching to the small gears, making sure the rear derailleur does not get too close to the spokes as the chain climbs onto the larger sprockets. If the derailleur or the drop-outs have been bent, this can cause the rear derailleur to collide with the spokes – risk of accident! This in turn can destroy the rear derailleur, the rear wheel or the frame. Check the front derailleur, as a damaged front derailleur can throw off the chain, thus interrupting the power train of the bicycle.
  4. Make sure the saddle is not twisted using the top tube or the bottom bracket shell as a reference.
  5. Lift your bike up a few centimeters and let it bounce onto the ground, if this causes any sort of noise, search for loosened bolts.
  6. Finally, take a good look at the whole bike to detect any deformation, discoloration or cracks.
This is a small checklist to find any malfunctions, on any doubt you should also check with a bike specialist. Also if you are starting to get interested in biking you should get a gps to track your rides, here is a comparison of the best entry point Garmin GPS and the top biking GPS from Garmin.
This post was published first at Put in your basket, 2:00 AM