Sunday, March 27, 2011

Twitter Love Q & A with Slash Coleman

Q: What’s the difference between Facebook and Twitter?
A: Facebook is a public platform that pushes the personal toward business. Twitter is a public platform that pushes business toward personal. 

Q: What does that mean?
A: You can do business on Twitter 24-7 and no one will think any less of you. Do business on Facebook 24-7 and your account will get flagged and deleted.

Q: What does Twitter do?
A: Joining Twitter gives you the ability to scream on the internet. Once you choose to follow someone, you now get to eavesdrop on every scream they make. The more people you follow, the more screams you’ll hear. I’m following 1,335 people on Twitter. That’s a lot of noisy people!

Q: Doesn’t all the screaming hurt your ears?
A: Yes, that’s why you need to download The free application gives you the ability to listen in on individual screams and target the screams you want to hear in two ways:
1) By a persons name (also called a Name tag)
2) By topics that interest you (also called a Hash Tag)

Q: What is a Name Tag?
A: When you sign up for Twitter you decide what your name will be. Each name tag in Twitter has the @ symbol in front of it. My name tag on Twitter is @slashcoleman. I have a friend Tiffany Ferreira. Her name tag is @iknowtiffany. My family runs a furniture biz called Tinkers. Our name tag is @thetinkergirl.

 Q: What is a Hashtag?
A: When Tweeters tweet about topics they put the “#” in front of their topic. Some recent Hashtags I’ve used are #storytelling #virginia, #va, #grief, #bereavement. At, you can type in a Hashtag and you’ll find out who’s using it on Twitter and how popular the Hashtag is. Better yet, it even breaks usage up by date, hour and number of times it's been used with a really cool graph.

Q: How do I use Name Tags and Hashtags?
A: As I said before, name tags have a @ in front of them. Topics have a # symbol in front of them. For instance if I want to mention something going on in Richmond, VA when I tweet it, it’s better to type, “I love the #rva #snow and drinking warm coffee with my friend @valleyhaggard” rather than “I love that it’s snowing in Richmond and am drinking a cup of joe with Valley.”

One is a scream. The other is a part of a global conversation.

Some Sample Tweets I sent out for my PBS Tweet campaign:

a) Thank you @WGTEPublic #ohio for deciding to air @PBS special #neonman about #loss #grief #widow #hospice

b) sure hope @RMPBS will air #neonman #NETA @PBS special about #grief #hospice #widow . Thanks @UNCTV for airing it!

Q: Is it good to have a lot of followers?
A: Yes and no. It looks bad if you’re following 1,000 people and only 13 are following you back. If you’re using Twitter to develop relationships most of the people you follow will want to follow you back. The best advice I can give is to follow others that are aligned with your mission. will allow you to type in your Twitter name and it will tell you which followers aren’t following you back. Is it important? Sometimes it is.

Q: What is #FF or #Follow Friday?
A: There’s a trend or a holiday on Twitter that happens every Friday called #followfriday or #ff. When you want to thank someone for helping you out or want all your peeps to follow one of your own followers, you can make a list like "@kindnessgirl, @davidbhutchens @la_poetessa #followfriday" and send it out into Tweetland. This results in friends of friends finding out who your friends are. They in turn sometimes follow your friends and you've just made the world a better place.

Q: What is a direct message?
A: After a day or two of following someone, send them a direct message that shows them you’ve been following them, visited their website or at least read their Twitter bio. When I found out that @GingerTice loved making artwork I wrote," I'm looking forward to checking out some of your artistically inspired tweets."

Q: What is a RT or a Retweet?
A: If developing a relationship with followers is important, then re-tweet some of their tweets, which means you copy and paste their message into your tweet bar and send it off into tweetland with a RT before it. If you have an upcoming event that you’d like help with in spreading the word, you can add PLZRT (please retweet) after your tweet and, with any luck others will heed your call.

Q: How can I talk to someone I don’t know?
A: Follow their conversations and then try to find a way to include yourself. When you ask them a question or include them in your own conversations include something from their bio or about them in the conversation. This is an example of something that doesn’t work. A performer was trying to get on the Ellen show and wrote, “Hey @theellenshow I know a great performer you should check out!”

Q: How do people have time to tweet all day long?
A: I’m not one of those Tweeters who has a fancy phone to send tweets out all day. Plus, it's not my style. Hoot Suite allows me to sit down in the morning and create all the tweets I want and schedule them to be sent throughout the day. When I was sending tweets out to every PBS station for my campaign, this application was the terrific!

Slash Coleman is a professional storyteller best known for his award-winning PBS special "The Neon Man and Me." His twitter campaign helped him win over PBS stations nationwide and land a two year distribution deal with NETA His recent column in Storytelling Magazine concentrates on social media and marketing strategies for artists and he was most recently featured on the NPR series "How Artists Make Money." For more information about Slash Coleman - please visit

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