A Magnificent Symphony

Time to watch today’s videos: Approximately 31 minutes

Additional time to complete today’s action steps:

Depends on where you are with ideas. Assuming you’re all caught up as you begin this day, you could spend thirty minutes on ideas…or 2-3 hours exploring…

Thirty Day Challenge PDF Transcripts are also available below each video.

Day 01 Introduction Video | Thirty Day Challenge

And so it begins…

2008TDC01_Intro_Day1

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A Magnificent Symphony In Four Parts…

2008TDC01_Four_Parts_1

The Key Concepts:

1) Market/Keyword Research

2) Traffic

3) Conversion

4) Product

If you follow these steps, in this order – the market will tell you what they want to buy. You’ll be in a position to offer them a product they are already prepared to buy. And that’s a good place to be…

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Tools Of The Trade…

2008TDC01_Tools_Of_The_Trade_2

Make sure you’ve installed the Thirty Day Challenge Toolbar.

It’s a good idea to go through and catch up on any Preseason training you may have missed – you can do that from the Preseason Catch Up Page.

Things to get and/or get familiar with:

Flock

Twitter and Twhirl

Google Reader

StumbleUpon

YouTube

Google Subscribed Links

Friendfeed

The Video Tips

and The 30DC Forums

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The Getting Of Ideas…

2008TDC01_Get_An_Idea_3

A great place for getting niche ideas is Amazon’s Magazines and Newspapers area.

Try to come up with 5-10 different niche ideas. You don’t have to be an expert, just curious…

One way to begin keeping track of information relevant to your niches is to search through Google News and use Google Alerts to create feeds for your Google Reader.

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In today’s lesson we’ll cover the rest of the cool things that you can do with Twhirl.

Using Twhirl Pt. 2 | Thirty Day Challenge

We’ve already covered a bit about the “direct message icon (shown below.)

Twhirl - Direct Message Button

Let’s compare and contrast some of the key differences and uses for direct messages vs. “@” replies.  Keep in mind, in using Twhirl and Twitter, you are putting content out on the web for others to view – so you have to keep the reader in mind.  In fact, you’ll want to be mindful of your potential future readers.  In doing so, there’ll need to be some deliberate thought behind your usage of “@” replies vs. direct messages.

In the video, Ed gets a message about where the periods go in the term “del.icio.us” – now Ed could choose to use an “@” reply, which would show up in his public twitter feed.  Anyone who is “following” Ed would be able to read it.  But without any context, that reply wouldn’t make much sense and may not be of much interest to his Twitter followers.  So in this case, a direct message makes more sense.

Twhirl - Tweeting A Direct Message

One caveat, you aren’t able to send a direct message to someone who is not following you.  So, you couldn’t send a direct message to Ed_Dale unless he was following you.  But you COULD send him an “@” reply.  In that case, you would want to remember to provide some context AND get to the point in 140 characters or less.

Direct messages would be very handy for communication within teams.  We will also learn about another Twitter-based service that will allow us to send private messages within the Twitter frame-work.  More on that later…

Below is the “archive” folder button – it allows you to view the Twitter archive of all your posts.

Twhirl - Archive Button

Next up is the “favorites” button – which Ed doesn’t use much.  It can be used to help remind you to come back and look at something later.

Twhirl - Favorites Button

This is the friends and followers button.  You can use this to help you maintain the list of people you are following and the people who are following you.

Twhirl - Friends And Followers Button

By way of example, you could go through your friends and followers list and send them a reply, a direct message – or you could “unfollow” them.

Twhirl - Unfollow User

On to the “Lookup” button.  This is a particularly handy Twhirl function to help you find people on Twitter.

Twhirl - The Lookup Button

In this example, Ed looks up DanRaine on Twitter.  It shows all of Dan’s posts, his website information and his Twitter stats.  From here, you could send him an “@” reply or a direct message.  You could also “unfollow” him or block him if he’s being a pill.  🙂

Twhirl - Block User Button

As you get better and better as a Twitter user, you may find yourself checking the “API” button.  There’s a limit to how many times you can access Twitter each hour.  They do this to throttle down the flow of traffic – they may increase that limit in the future, but for now – you can hover over this icon to show your current API usage and the overall health of Twitter at the moment.

Twhirl - Twitter API Stats

If you do happen to exceed your API limit, it will reset within an hour – and you’ll be back up and running.

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The “toggle filter” button allows you to search through your tweets for a certain person or post.

Twhirl - Toggle Filter Button

The “mark all as seen” button does just what it says.  This can help keep your message window current.  You may notice that “tweets” you haven’t read yet have a star by them…

Twhirl - Mark All As Seen Button

Below is the “refresh” button, which will poll Twitter for any new tweets.  This will count against your API limit for the hour, so use it sparingly if at all.

Twhirl - Refresh Button

Wrapping up this post – The way Ed uses it, Twhirl just sits on his desktop.  Rather than let it be a constant distraction, he just checks it when he has a few minutes to review and respond to his tweets.

I’m a big fan of clustering tasks – meaning, I work on e-mails for a while, then I’ll shift gears and work on phone calls, after that – maybe I’ll work on a blog post.  In between, maybe I’ll check on my twhirl feed and see if anything needs a response.  In addition, if I’m working on something that would make sense to “tweet” about – I’ll post it to twhirl and then get right back to the task at hand.  But I try to make sure I’m using Twhirl in a way that enhances my productivity and extends my reach on the web – not as a distraction that allows me to procrastinate…It just takes a bit of self-discipline.

If you use Twhirl and Twitter in that way, you’ll find it to be a fantastic and simple way to inject your voice into the “conversation.”  When we get to some additional elements that we’ll be learning about shortly, you’ll begin to see how to use these tools to market more effectively.  So get used to using Twitter and Twhirl, remember the “TwitterBar” we learned about a few days ago – and we’ll learn more in the next lesson from Ed.

Important/Related Links

Twhirl
Click here to download Twhirl.

Follow Ed on Twitter
Click here to follow Ed on Twitter.

Follow Dan on Twitter
Click here to follow Dan on Twitter.

Follow Rob on Twitter
Click here to follow Rob on Twitter.

Sign Up for the Thirty Day Challenge
Click here to sign up for the thirty day challenge.
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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:

“@username”

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 http://twurl.nl 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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In this lesson – we’re going to learn more about how to use Twitter.   We learned previously how to get a Twitter account and received a basic overview of how the Twitter website looks and works.  But there are better ways to make use of Twitter.

It’s about your work flow.  And this lesson introduces a service that allows you to use Twitter and minimize the interruptions to your work flow.  Here’s Ed Dale’s video:

The Best Twitter Client Is Twhirl

The Flock Browser already has a built-in Twitter client.  You can open your “people” sidebar and see the latest “tweets” from people you’re following. (Like Ed, Dan and Bob – you know – from that last post…you did follow them like you were supposed to, right?)

Aside from getting news quickly from the people you’re following, you can also send your own tweet and update your Twitter page right from Flock’s built-in Twitter client.   One other function built-in is the “post a link” option.  Ed doesn’t use it – it can be a pretty big workflow interruption, and he shows how in the video.

To post links, we’ll use one of the add-ons we loaded in this earlier post:

Preseason 03c – Extensions To Install In Flock

Let’s get going with TwitterBar – assuming you’ve already installed TwitterBar, you’ll need to do some set-up.  For whatever reason, Flock doesn’t seem to think TwitterBar is compatible with Flock.  But it does seem to work, at least for Ed (and me.)

In the video, Ed shows how to do this on a MAC.  I have a PC, so I’ll show you the steps to set up your TwitterBar.

On a PC click on the <Tools> menu – then <Add-ons>.  From there, find “TwitterBar” in your Add-ons menu.  Click on the <Options> button.

On a MAC click on the <Tools> menu – then <Add-ons>.  From there find “TwitterBar” in your Add-ons menu.  Click on the <Preferences> button.

Up pops a dialog box.

TwitterBar Dialog Box

1) Ed leaves his in “secure mode” – so did I…

2) Fill in your Twitter username and password.

3) You can type in your own message in the “Before URL” field – the default is “Currently Browsing:”

At this point, there’s no compelling reason to change this.

4) “Open Twitter in a new tab” – leaving this unchecked helps keep you IN your work flow, that is the point, right?

5) Last option – “Hide addressbar button” – but we want that displayed.  Having that button up in our address bar also helps us minimize work flow interruptions.

And that’s it – you should now be able to post to Twitter directly from your browser address bar.

In the video, Ed shows us how to post a link that points to the Twhirl website – it’s really a simple, quick and effective way to let your Twitter followers know about a page or URL that you’re looking at.

One additional item worth mentioning, Twitter posts (Tweets) are limited to 140 characters, like a text or SMS message.

To re-cap, you can view Twitter and post to Twitter from the “people” sidebar built-in to Flock and you can post interesting links to your Twitter account right from your browser address bar.  Two ways to use Twitter without going to the Twitter website.

If you’d like to practice, go up to your address bar and post the link for this page to Twitter – right from your address bar. 🙂

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Onward to Twhirl…

Twhirl - A Twitter Client

Twhirl is an exceptional Twitter client application.  It’s built on the Adobe Air platform, which means it is compatible with MAC, PC and Linux systems.

Adobe Air

So – let’s download and install Twhirl…

Download Twhirl

Once it finishes downloading, just follow the prompts to finish the Twhirl installation.

Twhirl - Installation Dialog

Once installed, your Twhirl application will open up.

In the video, Ed touches on another application called “FriendFeed” I’m sure he’ll be covering that in a later lesson.

Ed also mentions “The Trouble With Twitter” – yes, they’re experiencing some growing pains.  Over the last few months the Twitter user base has expanded on a pretty massive level. There’s been some questionable press about it – but Ed makes a valid point about other internet technologies like e-mail and early ICQ and instant messaging apps.

They went through growing pains too.  I suppose if there were a mass exodus, maybe the technology would fade out – but it’s very unlikely that will happen.  Micro-blogging and Twitter-type applications will just get more popular over time, just like e-mail and text messaging.

You will have to do some set-up to integrate Twhirl with your Twitter account.  Here’s how:

1) Go to the “Settings” menu – it’s the little button in the upper right that looks like a wrench.

2) Enter your Twitter username (and password when prompted)

That’s should do it – you’re set up with Twhirl.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to capture screen shots of the Twhirl application – it fades out when I try to do a screen capture – sorry.  Thankfully, there’s still the video for reference…

Ed mentions the possibility of multiple Twitter/Twhirl accounts for personal, private and/or “marketing persona” purposes.  But for now, unless you’re an experienced veteran – let’s keep it simple.

To re-cap on Twhirl:

1) Download and Install Twhirl

2) Enter your Twitter username and password into the Twhirl settings menu.

3) Make sure you’re following Ed, Dan and Bob

4) Since you have Twirl open – type in a quick post, maybe something nice about the thirty day challenge – or this blog – or just answer the question; What are you doing?

Bonus points if you tweet about hugging your kids… 🙂

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