First, please realize we don’t work for Twitter—we just like to help. Dave is also the CEO of @Oppora. For background on us, below are a few excerpts from the many interviews with us. We started on Twitter in September of 2007. There is also a video of us here. Plus, here’s a post about how we manage the @TweetSmarter account.
Klout Stars (About people with high Klout scores)
We were the second user Klout added to their Klout Stars program. (Our Klout rank was an 86 on the day the interview came out.) Some excerpts:
The @TweetSmarter account has won a Knight Foundation and Shorty award, been pictured on the front cover of CNN’s technology section, profiled by the Huffington Post, and has answered thousands of questions for Twitter users around the world over the past three-and-a-half years.
Run by Dave Larson with the help of his wife Sarah, @TweetSmarter has been ranked as high as one of the three most influential accounts in the world in years past by various influence measurement services. Oprah even once displayed Sarah’s personal account—with the message “follow @SarahJL“—during their first big segment on Twitter.
Outside of Twitter, they are both public speakers, Dave being an internet entrepreneur and investor who likes to bring people together on various projects, and Sarah teaching and performing as a professional dancer and voice actor.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to take their social media influence and presence to the next level?
People have always come together to help and learn. Social media expands the potential to learn and help exponentially—but you have to connect with the right people. Whether you’re building a brand or trying to connect with experts for professional development, concentrate both on learning and helping. Find both those that need you, and those that can help you.
We probably have a thousand people who have offered to do something for us that we have never taken them up on. That’s a very large “gratitude bank” and I think that’s a key foundation of social media influence and presence.
The Huffington Post (mid-2010)
TweetSmarter, a non-stop, 24-hour feed with news about all things Twitter, has been around for all of the the moments that have defined and shaped the identity of the site. Its influence is driven not by its high number of followers, or its impressive number of awards. People are excited about TweetSmarter because of its great content, and its willingness to share, assist, and empower. Its not just a news site, but in fact, a role model for how to be successful in social media.
Our plan was to help as many Twitter users as we could.
In our non-Twitter life, we are working to set up free web services that help people help one another, and Twitter is an extension of that. Since everything we do is aimed at finding ways to help people, we figured we would eventually reach a lot of Twitter users. But we never expected to be one of the most retweeted accounts of all time! In fact, when TweetLevel — a tool rating users by influence — was released, it listed us as the third most influential user in the world. So, it’s been pretty amazing. But last year, when we had a tweet retweeted over 20,000 times for the first time, we knew were on to something.
You can read the rest of the interview here, which also covers our thoughts on such things as Twitter’s blueprint for profitability and efforts to improve service.
This was a video interview in December 2011 by @JayGould of Behind The Web about how to use Twitter to connect with leaders and influencers and become influential yourself. This is a great audio to help someone new to Twitter understand more about it’s potential.
The Twitterrati Interview (2009)
Mark Evans from Twitterrati.com interviewed both Sarah and me back when our Twitter account name was @Twitter_Tips. Here’s an excerpt from that interview:
Several years ago I had an idea for a new way people could work together that would be accessible to the majority of the world’s population, but I saw that it wouldn’t really fulfill it’s destiny unless a new kind of protocol or service arose that would compete with phone and email to allow people to share their status in short snippets on a real-time basis. When you realize that what I was thinking of describes Twitter almost to a tee, I have to admit it took me a ridiculous amount of time to realize that Twitter was the service I had foreseen.
And when I say “forseen,” I don’t mean I knew this would happen. I just saw that if it existed, it could be the basis for a number of new ways for people to interact and enrich their lives. So in a very real sense, I’ve been working for several years on services that could be built using Twitter or something similar as their backbone.
You can read the rest of the interview here, which covers more about how we got started and began finding content to share.
Tweet Café: The Future of Twitter (June, 2010)
An excerpt (read about Google Plus here):
Twitter has long been a company that fell off a cliff and has been trying to build wings on the way down. Previously they had someone who didn’t want the difficult CEO-type responsibilities of a situation like that, and now with Dick (Costolo) we have someone who does want them.
First, he had to prioritize what could be done and what should be done. Some projects were put on hold, others reprioritized. Resources were shifted around. But job one when Costolo came in was really simply hiring—lots and lots of hiring. Twitter had fallen behind simply due to lack of people.
Next on his priority list, I believe, was ensuring continued growth. A number of factors affect that, such as ease of use. I think it is to Dick’s great credit that ease of use seems today a top prioritizing factor internal to Twitter in determining what Twitter does. While Twitter’s interest in making all interfaces work similarly has been controversial, the variety of interfaces has been a number one problem for people newer to Twitter.
And of course, always near the top, was the initiative to become profitable. At the end of the day, money is the gas in the tank to get everything else done.
Finally, there was no way Twitter could move forward without a rich media interface (images, video) and the ability to prioritize search results. So many other things build on these two factors that Twitter’s new web interface and upcoming new search interface had to have a lot of resources put behind them. Errors and downtime continue to reduce as Twitter improves infrastructure, and support at Twitter is better than at many other popular free internet services.
Leadership, Hiring, Growth, Ease of Use, Profit, Rich media, Search Prioritizing: With the fires mostly put out in each of these key areas, I think 2011 is finally the year we will start to see what Twitter can really become.
Spam is the only serious issue I don’t think they yet really have a handle on.
Intuit Small Business Blog: Twitter is a like a “$10,000 check you’re leaving uncashed”
In my interview with Intuit (makers of Quicken Financial Software) I explained how businesses can gain the most by using Twitter first as a Personal Learning Network to connect with experts who can help them be successful in business.
Mind your manners online: Tips on how to keep social media from becoming anti-social media
- Seek others you can help and help them. And seek others to help you.
- Work at striking a positive tone in all your communications. The emotions that we naturally pick up on when meeting in person can be missing in short written statements, sometimes making us look harsh and distant. Adding a little positivity to what we say online, helps to restore that natural emotional balance.
- Be biased toward setting a good example. Instead of telling people who are still learning what you think they should do differently, it is better to set a good example than to tell other people they are “doing it wrong.”