Today’s lesson is all about using Twhirl.  Ed Dale really stresses the importance of using Twhirl and the use of Twitter as a communication mechanism.  You’ll learn some of the ways to use Twhirl for team communication – and you’ll see ways to utilize the Twhirl application as part of your internet marketing toolbox.

Ed’s video is posted below…

How To Use Twhirl Pt. 1 | Thirty Day Challenge

The first thing to notice is that the Twhirl windows float and “grey out” or become transparent when another program is chosen.   It’s a neat feature that allows you to keep the Twhirl application open without cluttering up your computer desktop.

Twhirl will continue to collect messages for you in the background while you’re working.  It will come back into focus at your command, which really helps you stay in your work flow while minimizing distractions.

Now, because of the program I’m using to do screen captures – that actually made it impossible to capture images of my own Twhirl windows.  Anytime I activated my screen capture tool, my twhirl windows turned transparent – not good if you’re trying to capture an image.

Being a problem solver – I did what any good problem solver would do.  I cheated…  I captured images from the high quality version of the videos from Ed.  It wasn’t always easy to get the images I wanted, but I was getting to a point of not being able to take action if I “geeked” out on it much longer.  So, the images from this post and the next came directly from Ed’s videos.  Now you know….

Twhirl - Client Windows

Below, you see Ed’s Twitter window.  We’ll be learning several key ways to maximize our Twitter usage from here today.

Twhirl - Top Menu Bar For Twitter

Here is Ed’s Friendfeed window – for today’s lesson, we won’t be focusing on Friendfeed.  So, TTFN to Friendfeed 🙂

Twhirl - Top Menu Bar For Friendfeed

Here’s a terrific example of a way to use Twitter for communication (and content creation.)

Twhirl - Favorite Feature Tweet

Ed sends a tweet basically asking his “followers” about their favorite Twhirl feature – and then requests that they (@ Ed_Dale) him.  Which leads to the obvious question….what the heck is this “@ Ed_Dale” thing?

The @ Symbol On Twitter And Twhirl

Twhirl - The \

The @ symbol is one of the key communication features available through Twitter.  It allows for direct messaging to any Twitter user who hasn’t specifically blocked you.  Whether the user follows you or not, you can send a direct message to any Twitter user by sending a message in this format:


This gives you access to people you may not normally be able to access any other way.  Now, if you’re wondering – would I be bothering someone by sending a total stranger a direct message out of the blue?  Ed says he’s not bothered by it – and most people won’t be.

The main reason being – the length limitation of the posts.  You have 140 characters, which means you better get to the point quick.  No fluff, no filler – just say exactly what you’re after.

It’s also brilliant for testing headlines and as you get used to using Twhirl – it will make you a better writer.  You’ll get better at getting your message across in 140 characters.  And that’s a good thing…

Back to Ed’s tweet, you can see people replying back with their thoughts.

One favorite is multiple accounts, which Ed skims over.  I would imagine this would get covered later on in the actual Thirty Day Challenge itselt, this is after all still preseason.

You could have multiple accounts on Twitter and use Twhirl to manage them all.  An account for your niche, one for personal stuff, one for your thirty day challenge team, etc.

For now, it’s probably best for most to focus on just managing a single Twitter account through Twhirl until you’re really comfortable with everything else you learn throughout the Thirty Day Challenge.

Another idea mentioned: Notification of new replies and direct messages

Now, this was one I just had a tough time getting a clear screen shot of. But on the bottom menu, you can press the @ symbol button (it’s in the video above) and you’ll get a list of every person who has replied and/or sent a direct message to you.  You don’t have to be following people to receive those messages, which is one reason Ed doesn’t follow hundreds of people.  He doesn’t have to…

An additional favorite feature of Twhirl mentioned – using it with Friendfeed.  We’ll cover that in a future lesson.

Here’s another favorite – URL shortening.  How do we do it? and Why do we do it?  Let’s see…  We’ll start with a direct message by using the “@username” format, in this case – @Ed_Dale:

Twhirl - Composing A Direct Message

Now we’ll go find a URL that could be shorter.  This one from YouTube isn’t that long.  But if you use the permalink from this blog post – it is out of hand at over 110 characters.  That doesn’t leave hardly anything in a 140 character Twitter post – so a shorter URL is going to be critical. Back to Ed’s example:

Twhirl - Copying A URL To Shorten

He copies the text of the URL from his browser address bar.

Twhirl - Shorten URL Button

Then back to Twhirl – he clicks the “Shorten URL” button.

Twhirl - URL Shortening Services

He selects the service to use, in this case and the reasoning behind this choice is click tracking.  At this point, we’re not at a point in the challenge where tracking matters.  But down the road it will get important, so keep twurl in mind…

Twhirl - Shorten URL

Here, Ed pastes the URL link he wants to shorten.

Twhirl - Number Of Characters Available

Now, here’s why – it frees up characters for his message.  With a 140 character limit, you’ll find this to be a very important feature.

Twhirl - Tweet Sent Using Shortened URL

And away goes his tweet…with plenty of characters to spare.

On to TwitPic…

Twhirl - TwitPic Button

Above, you see him clicking on the TwitPic button.

Twhirl - TwitPic

Up pops the TwitPic dialog.  To post an image, he clicks the “Post image” button, selects an image from his computer to post – and sends it to Twitter by clicking the “Post Image” button again.

Twhirl - Tweet Using A Hash Mark

I know it’s not easy to read, but this is the place Ed mentions the use of “hash marks.”  In this case, he’s talking about “#30dc”  the “#” character is referred to here as “hash marks.”

Hash marks are another cool Twitter feature.  It’s a kind of “tagging” mechanism that several other services pick up.  It’s particularly useful for events and things like the thirty day challenge.

Twemes is pictured below – it’s one of the services that picks up terms with the hash marks on Twitter.  We’ll find out more about these services and how to use them later on in the challenge.

Twhirl - Twemes

Another aspect of the direct message functionality to keep in mind is that direct messages won’t appear in your Twitter feed.  If you use the @ button, those replies will appear in your Twitter feed.  Since we’re using the “direct message” button in this example, let’s make sure we’re using it properly.

Twhirl - Send Direct Message

In this case, it’s important to provide some context for the message.  This is particularly important in an “@” reply.  If you don’t provide context you may end up with messages in your feed that don’t make any sense to the majority of your followers.

Twhirl - Tweet Response And Providing Context

Another great benefit available through Twhirl is the built in summize searching.

Twhirl - Summize Searching

Below, we can click the “search” button.

Twhirl - Search Button

Right now, Summize is superior – but feel free to try them both at your discretion.

Twhirl - Search Services Menu

This is another way to find out what people are saying about any particular topic.

Twhirl - Trout Fishing Search

Let’s try “Trout Fishing” and you can see in the video above how much stuff pops up about trout fishing.  It may take a while to see how this relates from a marketing perspective.  It will become apparent as you learn more during the thirty day challenge.

To wrap up:

We’ve got our @ replies, the direct messaging functionality, URL shortening, TwitPic, hash marks, and Summize searching.

And there’s more to come in the next post….


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