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Book Review: Twitter Power by Joel Comm

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Though Twitter Power was published earlier this year, it's already beginning to show it's age. In the wide world of the web, connections are narrower and internet time is four times faster than real time, at least I think that's how the quote goes. That said, this book would be awesome for someone who wants to leverage the connection power of Twitter, is new to the medium, and doesn't have much online marketing background.

There is a fact about our culture that is not discussed in the book. Americans love to accumulate and we love to see our name in lights (ranked). I realize that Twitter is an international channel, but that doesn't mean that other cultures aren't similar to ours. We collect frequent flyer miles, credit card points, baseball cards, coasters, dolls, bottle caps… so it only makes sense that we'd want to accumulate Twitter followers, too. Quality far and away outshines quantity. Unfortunately, most of the ranking engines on Twitter weigh quantity for too much, and too many profiles are influenced by accumulation. Be wary of those that only care about gaining followers and not engaging because they may just want to see their name in lights.

Comm takes the time to talk about strategy in reference to quality, but doesn't get into the fact that users can now ramp up thousands of followers in a mere matter of days using follow engines. I'd love to see him address whether it's possible to glean quality from this massive influx of quantity simply from the sheer numbers of it.

There really are four parts to the Twitter day, and they can be broken up into six hour segments. This analysis would make an interesting addition to the scheduled updates portion of the book. Because of the international nature of Twitter, I can promote one blog post in the morning, afternoon, evening, and then overnight. Since I only grab about six-seven hours of sleep each night, I can do all of this without using scheduled tweets. Of course, I also have no girlfriend, no wife, and no kids, so that makes it a heck of a lot easier, too. It might be rewarding to see how this technique impacts traffic logs. So far, I've not had any detriment from my avid readers, partly because they are avid and partly because I engage with them throughout the day between the broadcasts.

I've taken to being very stingy with my follow-backs. Because my primary purpose on Twitter is to engage, I don't return follow profiles that are obviously pornographic, link farms and those with a very high follower to update ratio. I block them. I also avoid the celebrity profiles that don't seem to engage, they just broadcast their doings. I make a few exceptions based on my own interests: when Lance was riding in the tour, for instance.

With time on Twitter, you'll start to see accounts that are identical to each other, I've simply made a decision to avoid following them and, in fact, I typically block them. One day each week, I perform maintenance on my followers through the use of Friend or Follow to see who I'm following that's no longer following me back. This can tell you how your tweets are impacting your followers.

Because it's such a new medium, it's not as reliable as we'd like. Just last night, Tweetdeck blew up my group filters and I had to spend an hour creating them from scratch. I also suggest using Tweetake to download a text file of your followers on a regular basis… it didn't help me with my Tweetdeck groups, but it's security against Twitter blowing itself up.

Speaking of Tweetdeck, there's no way that I can follow several thousand people with any degree of regularity, so I use it to filter search terms and specific types of groups into columns that are easier to track. Those that I don't follow become those that receive my updates, but may or may not engage. If they choose to engage, then I move them into an engagement filter so that I can to converse more regularly with them.

Twitter Power does a great job of covering the basics and even provides a step-by-step program for launching yourself into the Twitterverse. Much like anything else in the world, though, once you get into using the channel, you'll begin to hone your subjective approach based on the objective considerations that Comm has presented.

Follow me @zamees.

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