Hat tip to Shel Israel on his post, 7 New Tips for New Twitter Users

Social Media can be cumbersome for some to understand. Most of the questions center around large sites like Facebook, Myspace, or LinkedIn (especially in my small business environment). Recently, there has been an increase in questions regarding Twitter. Most of them center around, “What the hell is the purpose of Twitter?” or “I just don’t understand why I would want to know what you are thinking 24 hours a day.” OR “Why waste my time? Does it help my business?”

It took me awhile to finally understand the importance of Twitter. Other than the daily updates from friends and business acquaintances, I started seeing importance in community development. After using the tool over a couple of months I started forming relationships with the people I was following. I would be driving down the road and get an update on where someone was nearby. I’d stop. Talk. Relationship strengthened.

For those of you wanting to get into the Twitterific world, or what Shel refers to as Twitterville, here are a few steps you can take to get acquainted!

My opinion of Shel’s Most Important Twitter Guidelines:

3. Celebrities don’t count. You can always start by getting followed by a few celebrity Tweeters like Scoble, Calacanis and Loic. But they give you no credibility at all because they simply follow everyone. Their purpose is to be a new media star and it works well for them.

5.Have favorites. When you are new to Twitterville, you may not even notice that little star icon to the right of each tweet. You can use it to make that post a “favorite.” ….. It shows your sense of humor and your passion points.

6. Take your time. Twitterville works like any other neighborhood. People start by chatting about weather, lunch–silly little things. Sometimes the conversation goes nowhere, tapering off into cyberspace. Other times, the conversation deepens. It evolves into a real friendship or a business opportunity.

My 3 Tips of Using Twitter

1. Mix Personal and Business: The Social Media world is huge on the concept of being authentic on the Internet, whether it is blogging or having a profile in a social media community. Twitter is a form of micro-blogging and it deserves the same respect. When I decide to follow you or vice-versa I expect meaningful content. I don’t need to read a feed about your latest sales pitch. If I wanted sold I would walk into a Cutco Knife Convention. People want some authentic. They want to feel the personal side and the professional side. “Oh he has a business and a dog! That’s nice.”

2. Tweet and Meet. I take advantage of using twitter as a social stream and a information stream. I have met a couple of people off of twitter. I met BradJWard yesterday at Paradise Cafe! When you combing the online and off-line you gain an even HIGHER rate of relationship growth. I had never met Brad but felt like I knew him.

3. Relationship Building Leads to Business: In every aspect of business networking, a strong relationship usually leads to referrals and project collaboration. Why not use Twitter as a one of the relationship building tools? Start to follow your friends and you will run into like minded people.

Shel is a freaking genius, read the rest of his post for the rest of the 7 tips.