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Twitter basics: Find people you want to follow

January 15, 2012

As an avid fan of novelist Margot Livesey, I was pleased to discover that she has started tweeting. If you’ve not read her work, start with Criminals or The Missing World. Critics rightly compare her to Patricia Highsmith and P.D. James.

I was even more thrilled to see that she has a new book out—a nice promising start to the New Year.

I found her by typing her name into the Twitter search field, a happenstance sort of discovery triggered only by the fleeting thought that I hadn’t read her lately.

So how do you find people to follow in a more organized way?

One place to start is by looking at who your close friends follow. If your core circle shares your interests, the people they follow are likely to post things you’re interested in, too.

Another approach: type  a subject into the search field. For example, type “books” and you’ll get screens full of tweets that mention books in their posts. Follow the ones posted by people who seem interesting to you. Alternately, on the “who to follow” link, click on the browse interests field for topics that interest you.

You can also search with a hashtag—particularly useful during fast-moving breaking news or other types of event. For example, Social Media Week takes place in several major cities around the world in early February. For the New York conference, organizers are posting tweets using the #SMWNYC hashtag name. During the event itself, you’ll read thousands of live streaming tweets from attendees at the various panel discussions. Following a hashtag is a great way to follow what unfolds in a conference even if you can’t actually attend.

Another example: Interested in what’s going on in ebooks and digital marketing? Can’t attend the Digital Book World conference this month? Then look for the #DBW hashtag during the week of January 23rd to catch up on some of what you’re missing.

Then there are curated tweet lists you can jump on. Try a Google search to find lists like these. For instance, Zagat’s has created a list of food-related tweeters to follow. People you already follow may offer lists which you can tap into. (Just click on the lists link on their home page.) For example, Publishers Weekly has a list of book publishers it covered for an article about Twitter.

Want to follow book critics? You could start with the National Book Critics Circle @bookcritics. Better yet, take advantage of the many publishing-related lists compiled by the industry trade newsletter, Galley Cat, and its book reviewer list in particular.

One thing is for sure: if you discover that Twitter is for you, you’ll soon find yourself spending many hours exploring what it has to offer. It can be quite addictive as the possibilities are endless.

What are your favorite lists?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2012 2:01 am

    Excellent suggestions, lady-of-letters 🙂

    We had a Very Good # experience today – several of our favourite/favorite/loveliest followers/followees (?) on Intagram used the #NYIGF tag on pictures showing their practice set up for the NY intl gift fair. As we are going to the NYIGF (to purchase for our “kindness kits” concept pieces) we were thrilled to ask their booth number so we can visit.

    A happen happenstance with a hashtag.

    And tomorrow is another day off – glorious.

    _tg xx

    • January 16, 2012 1:14 pm

      Excellent observation: the use of the hashtag has migrated well beyond the world of Twitter. Congrats on the gift show leads. 🙂

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