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Using Twitter Search to Stay Up To Date

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twitter-searchFor many people, myself included, Twitter has become the number one means of finding new links and information in my field. Though social news sites such as Digg and Reddit have a great deal of interesting articles, not every story of potential interest makes it to the various front pages. Even blog searches, such as Technorati and Google BlogSearch have lost much of their effectiveness due to spam and poor indexing.

However, Twitter has proved to be a great tool for finding links and getting news in my field. Though Twitter does suffer from spammers, the number of relevant links and posts they put out are still easily dwarfed by the number of quality links provided by humans.

By using Twitter search correctly, not only can you keep on top of information in your field, but you’ll find others who are talking about the same things you are and, if you want to, can begin following them, helping to grow your network.

Fortunately, using Twitter search is extremely simple if one knows the right commands.

The Basics

rss-highlightFor the most part, Twitter search works the same as Google or any other search engine, you simply plugin the term you want to search for and Twitter will locate all of the tweets that contain that keyword. If you want to search for a short phrase, you can place it between quotes.

But what makes Twitter’s search more powerful is that, by clicking the RSS button in the upper-right hand corner of every result page, you can subscribe to the results in your feed reader. This means that you’ll be updated instantly.

Though many Twitter clients, such as Tweetdeck, mimic this function, having the search in your RSS reader preserves the searches, allowing you to go through them at your leisure. This method also doesn’t take away from your Twitter API limit, allowing you to save more accesses for other things.

Do be warned though that Twitter search feeds can be very active. One that I have for the term “copyright” produces many 100s of articles per day. Though it is easy to scroll through the results since they are all less than 140 characters, it’s easy to see how such a feed can inflate your RSS “unread” count.

Advanced Tricks

Once you’ve mastered subscribing to a few keyword-related Twitter feeds, you’ll probably get pretty good at quickly scrolling through them, finding interesting links and interesting Twitter users. However, the “advanced search” link offers additional tools and search options that can help you refine and get more from your Twitter searches.

  1. Hashtags: Hashtags are are tags used to identify tweets related to a certain conversation such as #TED and #lost, the two most popular right now. You can either use the hashtag feature of the advanced search or just type #tag into a regular Twitter search.
  2. @replies: If you want to know who is @replying you, do not use the to feature in the advanced search but, instead, do a regular Twitter search for @username or use the “referencing” option. The reason is that the “To” feature only tracks tweets that begin with the @ where the search will detect the @reply anywhere in the tweet. You can subscribe to this feed as well, helping you keep track of who is retweeting and replying to you.
  3. Links Filter: Ticking the box to receive only tweets with links does what one would expect, only include tweets that have both the keyword and some kind of URL. Great for those that want to keep track of a busy keyword, but only want to find Web pages and conversation off-Twitter.
  4. Questions: The “Asking a question” adds a “?” to the search term to pick up all of the tweets that are seeking replies. Great for finding Twitter users to follow, @reply or generally reach out to.
  5. Location: The location tool is far from perfect but can be useful to narrow busy search feeds where one has only a local interest. For example, searching for “restaurant” near your city would help keep results out of the feed that were of no interest.

Though all of these Twitter search tricks can be done through a regular search with proper formatting, the advanced search feature makes it easier to correctly format your search and displays all of the options at your disposal.

Conclusions

All in all, Twitter is one of the best tools for keeping on top of relevant news and connecting with new people that share your interests. Even if you don’t use Twitter, it can be a very useful service for finding links and ideas for blog entries.

Since I started using Twitter for keeping up on my blog’s topics, it has produced about a quarter of all my story ideas and nearly all of the links I bookmark. It has proved to be an invaluable tool for keeping up with my areas of interest and has more than made up for the lagging effectiveness of blog search engines.

Though Twitter search is far from perfect, it is easily one of the best tools available…

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How About Helping Versus Pitching Top Bloggers?

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I often get pitched guest post ideas from bloggers I do not know. Although I appreciate the offer I never take up these folks on their offer because I do not know them, their brand or anything they do. No way do I have the time to actually research the individual; I am a busy bee. Another email bites the dust. I either ignore the email or note guest posting closed long ago on my blog, then include a link to one of my eBooks, like this branding eBook.

Who guest posts on my blog?  People who generously helped me, asked for nothing, expected nothing and relaxed. Relaxing is key. Bloggers who help me from a chill vibe often befriend me if they practice writing to hone their blogging skills. From there, opportunities multiply fast.  Sweet backlinks on top blogs often flow your way. Traffic and profits increases slowly, steadily expand over time. Blogging buddies supply you with blog post ideas through their questions and problems.  Everything grows because you helped top bloggers versus pitching them aka asking them for help. Even if you pitch a valuable guest post idea, the guest post idea serves no value unless you publish the guest post on a trusted, authority blog boasting a huge, loyal readership. Pitches seem worthless until content and links actually appear on top blogs, going live and public, for the world to see.

I often advise helping bloggers freely for months before considering any ask or pitch. Most times, blogging buddies invite you to guest post on their blogs. Blogging success flows to generous people because you get what you give. This is one of the advantages of blogging. Give freely, relax, trust in the process and receive easily.  Place your needs to the side. Take care of your fellow blogger. Help them out via a retweet, Facebook Share or perhaps by promoting the blogger on your blog. Nobody needs to struggle blogging. Nobody needs to spend 4 hours daily sending blind pitches to blogging strangers. How about this? Spend those 4 hours patiently, persistently and generously helping people in your blogging niche. Help fellow bloggers to earn their trust. Assist fellow bloggers to befriend fellow bloggers. The split second you earn the trust of any blogger, you plant seeds for a beautiful, thriving, warm friendship. Gaining the trust of fellow bloggers inspires traffic and profits to flow to you. Forget the concept of pitching. I pitched 2 people during my 6 years of running Blogging From Paradise. One blogger pitch served as an experiment with an established, pro blogger and the other pitch served as the direct way to guest post for a 2 million member blogging community.

My 13,500 plus backlinks on Blogging From Paradise flowed to me after I pitched only 2 souls. Imagine that for a second. Observe the raw power of making friends, helping people, expecting nothing and being generous. Capitalize on the passive element of befriending bloggers through generous service. Tonight I will spend 90 minutes walking around my neighborhood. During that hour and a half, my blogging buddies will promote my blog and spread my word. Ditto for my 8 hours of sleep tonight; my blogging buddies grow my traffic and profits around the clock, adding an immensely powerful, passive element to my blogging campaign.

Being generous has some serious perks.

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Should You Blog About Everything?

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blog about everything

Blog about everything? I know this idea may be on your mind. Newbie bloggers especially ponder the idea.

I know blogging about anything on your mind seems like a good idea to new or even struggling bloggers. Maybe you gain mojo because you post daily, blogging about anything popping up in your dome. But this is a bad idea. Nobody should blog about any and every topic for the clear reason that nobody follows a specific blogger based on the blogger’s random thoughts, save world famous celebrities who built up a big following through some other niche.

Imagine a movie star begins blogging. Movie stars boast tens of millions of fans around the globe. Anything the star does, people hang on their every word, right? Imagine the icon publishing posts on a wide range of topics interesting to them. People read because of the star, not because of the wide range of broad topics. But imagine being a new blogger with zero followers. No movie stars read this post. Readers head for the hills the moment you change topics because no jack of all trades bloggers build credibility. Who has the time, energy and focus to be an expert in 5, 10 or 20 niches? No one does.

Blog About Everything?

Humans specialize. Doctors and lawyers do one thing and do it well because where attention and energy goes, grows. Imagine if your doctor delivered mail and picked up garbage professionally, too, working 2 jobs in addition to their medical practice. Would you trust her doctor skills? No. Of course not. People trust specialists because specialists devote all professional time and energy to one venture. Generalists? Nobody trusts someone who tries to master 2 or 5 or 10 skills simultaneously because thousands of other people master 1 skill, in these areas. We follow specialists and trust specialists. Generalists fade away.

If you want to blog about everything just ponder the specialist versus generalist point. Blogging about everything is trying to be a generalist. Nobody trusts you. Even though blogging about everything seems easy, seamless and almost effortless, people stop following your blog on each topic change. Imagine blogging about puppies one day. People who love puppies find your post, read it, enjoy it and follow your blog. Tomorrow, you publish about Chinese food. Puppy readers – who followed you for puppy content – skip the post…..most stop following your blog because puppy fans want only puppy-themed content. You just lost readers, for good.

Change Topics Lose Readers

Visualize the following day; you publish about relationships. Everybody stops following your blog. Perhaps a few relationships-focused folks read the post. But you lose trust the moment you shift topics again. Ultimately, who builds a large, targeted, loyal following, blogging about relationships? Relationships bloggers who blog about relationships 100% of the time. Specialists devote all blogging energy to mastering one topic, spending thousands of hours covering the topic, become skilled and trusted in the niche, build credibility and become successful. All multi topic bloggers blogging about everything fade away and vanish.

The world makes room for specialists. Generalists? Nope.

Specialize

Pick one blogging topic. Blog about one thing. Focus on one discipline. Be a specialist, not a generalist, to be a leading blogger in your nice. Face your fear of releasing multiple passions to make room for a single passion. I know you fear letting go. I did too before creating Blogging From Paradise.

blog about everything

Google

Google loves specialists too. Google turns its cyber nose down at generalists. I scanned a popular blogging key phrase a few moments ago. Guess what? I rarely note SEO but tidying up one blog post with some details for optimizing helped me reach page one on the search engine. Why? I specialize in the blogging tips niche. Apparently. Google interpreted through its complex algorithms that I published thousands of valuable blog posts on a single topic 100% of the time, virtually. Google traffic rocks. Impress the search engine gods by gaining search trust. Specialize. Stick to one blogging topic. Never blog about everything.

Conclusion

Let go the urge to blog about anything that comes to mind. New bloggers need release this notion to build the foundation for a successful blogging career. Specialize by picking one niche you love blogging about. Be a specialist, not a generalist, to succeed with your blogging campaign.

eBook

Do you want to be a pro blogger who circles the globe? Buy my eBook:

How to Retire to a Life of Island Hopping through Smart Blogging

 

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Avoid this Blogging Wake Up Call to Enjoy the Journey

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Blogging need not be a lesson in harsh wake up calls. You can and will largely enjoy the journey by knowing this: success finds generous bloggers. Let that idea firmly impress onto your mind. Be with it. Allow the idea to worm its way into your consciousness until being generous becomes part of your being. Helping people for free boosts your skills and increases your exposure. Skilled bloggers with massive exposure become successful.

But one wake up call seems to find most bloggers who refuse to learn this lesson. Bloggers need to struggle, fail and suffer because they try to get money and traffic by focusing solely on receiving methods, versus giving generously of their time and talents. Imagine this scenario; a blogger writes and publishes one blog post weekly. Cool. But the blogger sits around and does nothing else blogging-wise for the remainder of the week. Hmmmm…this is not being generous, guys. This is being stingy. Bad move. At week’s end, the blogger did not make a penny of profits. Panicking, the blogger immediately analyzes their various income streams. How can they maximize profits through the streams? What is wrong with their income streams? Did they pick the right streams? Or did they pick the wrong streams? What gives?

Struggling bloggers then spend 2, 3 or 5 hours analyzing their income streams, focusing all of their attention and energy on the GETTING aspect of their blogging campaign. Terrible idea. Why? The reason why you struggle to get is because you refuse to give generously of your time, energy and talents. The income streams? Nope; not a problem. Your lack of generosity is the problem. The wake up call is most bloggers focus heavily on getting when struggling to drive traffic and profits when they should be focused heavily on giving generously. Giving generously leads to greater blogging profits. Instead of writing and publishing one blog post weekly, how about writing and publishing 2-3 posts weekly, weaving some stories into your blog posts?  How about you spend 4-8 hours daily generously reading blog posts, commenting genuinely on blog posts, promoting other bloggers and yes, promoting yourself, too?

Put in the giving time to make getting easier and easier. No need to slam into the cold, hard wake up call of focusing selfishly inward, trying to pin your struggles on inanimate, lifeless income streams. You have a giving problem, buddy. Time to be generous. Time to step it up. Write a guest post daily or perhaps, every 2-3 days. Go ahead. Do it. Begin video marketing. Build bonds with bloggers. Help them out. Practice writing. Gain invites to guest post on blogs from your niche. Blogging becomes more fun, more enjoyable and flat out easier if you put in the time, generously helping folks.

Focus heavily on giving. Your star will shine if you generously serve people. On the contrary, blogging and life become so much harder if you obsess over your income streams, analyzing, over analyzing, focusing, wasting precious time and energy on getting, when you should be giving more freely. Blogging feels more fun, too, when you focus heavily on giving, because we were designed to give, to be generous and to serve folks. Doesn’t it feel amazing to help people? Of course, it does. Enjoy the blogging journey and avoid this painful wake up call….plus….you get to sleep in, hehehe 😉

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