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30 Twitter tips hath September: Crowdsourcing for dummies

September 20, 2009

In September, we’re offering a Twitter tip a day. Send us your thoughts and suggestions.

[Tweet this tip]
Day 20: Wanna tap into a great resource?
Ask your followers for help.

You’ve heard the term “crowdsourcing,” but what does it mean?

Of course, you can Google just about anything. You’ll get a zillion results, but it can be hard to tell the good from the junk.

And it can be very hard to get local answers. (As in, recommendations for a dentist or a car wash in your community.)

Crowdsourcing means “outsourcing” your queries to your followers. The more you have, the greater the pool of wisdom in play.

Turn to your Twitter followers. (Before you can, you need to attract a bunch. I’d say at least a hundred to make this effective on a regular basis. Follow interesting people, be interesting yourself, and within a month or two, you’ll have 100-plus followers.) They can answer, and also retweet your question to their followers. Plus, unless your profile is protected, the entire Twitter population can see it in their stream (though it seems unlikely they’d see it, unless it comes up in a keyword search).

I’ve asked for help with car repair, tech issues, presentation topics and more. And I’ve given recommendations on everything under the sun (I’m not shy with my opinions).

What should you ask?

  • Ask for recommendations: “Where’s a good Thai place that’s relatively inexpensive for an anniversary dinner in downtown Seattle?”
  • Ask for advice: “If you had to interview for a job by phone, what are some good strategies?”
  • Ask for opinion: “How’s the new mayor doing on his agenda?”
  • Or simply ask, “How is everyone doing?” “Tell me what I need to know today.”

Be sure to thank and retweet the best answers. And, of course, jump in with your own answers to others’ questions. Twitter runs on karma.

Follow @WadeOnTweets for more Twitter fun.
30 Twitter tips hath September

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