Monday, 20 February 2012

Twitter Basics Tea Parties


This weekend saw my very first Twitter Basics Tea Party, which - you guessed it - was all about Twitter, the ever growing popular social media website.
The easiest way to tell non Tweeters what this social media site is all about it, is to liken it to Facebook and Tweets to Facebook status updates....and that's pretty much what Twitter is. No frills, games, pages, groups, advertising getting In the way. Just getting your word out, sharing links, photos and making new contacts. 
It really is simple and once they get started, people kick themselves for not using it sooner, especially for their business and blogging for example.

I will most likely have so called "Twitter Gurus" and "Social Media Moguls" jumping on this and no doubt having their say on my opinions... By Twitter is meant to be fun, fantastic for networking and getting what you want to say out there. I don't care what people say, it's not tricky, it's not complicated and on the whole, it s fantastic tool for connecting with people.
I'm no social media expert...I mean, for goodness sake, what course or degree will actually qualify you to call yourself a Twitter Guru?? - if there is, then best of luck with the course!
There are huge arguments out there and debates on all of this and to be completely honest with you, I'm not interested in any of it. 
I use Twitter for The Secluded Tea Party and for my new & upcoming Cambridge-based social group and it works wonders for my personal social life. That's plenty for me to know it works, once you get your head around the layout and de-Facebook your mind.

Twitter is there, as is Facebook and other such Social Media sites.. But one conversation that I have over and over again with my Secluded Tea Party guests is about them wishing they could get to grips with Twitter and not to be scared of it.
In my personal opinion, there is nothing much to it to get started and get to grips with the very basics. It just sometimes needs somebody who uses it to physically show you what to do. And this is where I have offered myself to my tea party guests to do just that. 

So here I am, offering my personal thoughts and experience on Twitter. Alongside a fantastic cup of tea, some warm Cheese Scones with Chive Butter, a plate of melt in the mouth Rocky Road Chocolate bites and my signature Coffee & Walnut Layer Cake with A Mocha Buttercream. What more could you want to kick start your weekend?!
Joined by 5 lovely guests, at The Secluded Tea Party HQ no less, we tucked in and sipped away on Earl Grey Tea whilst chatting about our experiences of Twitter, Facebook and Blogging. The conversation brought the guests together strongly from the very start and by the end of the event, everybody had more inspiration, contact suggestions and business ideas than they knew what to do with. That was the aim 110%.
And that was just them talking between themselves. It was fantastic fun and great to see such helpful and kind guests helping each other and offering advice to one and another. This was before I even started to talk about the subject in hand or before I shared with them of some of my very favourite Tweeters and bloggers! 

I'm personally sick of being told how I MUST Tweet or use Facebook, or how to blog. 
Everybody has completely different requirements and needs for these things and there is no right or wrong way to Tweet in my personal opinion. You do what works for YOU and with the support of people Tweeting around you, you will soon learn how you Tweet best, what gets people responding and interacting with you and how many times a day you need or want to Tweet. I won't tell you if your last Tweet should have been a Direct Message rather than a public Tweet. I'm no teacher, expert or official, I'm just an addict and it works very well for me, so use my experience to ask questions and I will answer as best I can. 
If I can't answer, I will find out for you. I'm 100% honest and will never boss my guests around on this subject. It's not in anybody's interest to do that.

One of my guests had paid good money a while back to gain the help of one of these so called "Social Media Gurus" and she had been made to feel like she was silly for not understanding or getting what she was being taught.
This makes my blood boil, especially as she had paid for their help and they hadn't done the job she had expected. She had been brave to admit this to us all and I really I hope I helped her with my hands on "show and tell" between my laptop, iPhone and iPad, which had various people confused as they all have slightly different layouts. I think this helped them all to see this is what we all find, depending on what we us to get online. 
This "Guru" had set up her up on Tweetdeck without explaining Twitter or even how to start with the basics of what a Tweet actually was and how to do it. She had blown her mind with talk of Google Analytics and SEO and various other puzzling elements and had actually found our chat over afternoon tea and my physical helping of her sending out some Tweets on the day more helpful than this paid for session.
I'm glad I was able to help and never claim to be an expert. But what I can offer is a relaxed environment and my own experiences with Twitter, including how I can fill an entire table at The Secluded Tea Party just through the use of Social Media. Im proud of this and I'm happy to help where I can. 
There are no secrets to Twitter in my eyes, just patience and knowing how to use it effectively.

I provided my tea party guests with some basic "How to" Guides before the event, to help them log on to Twitter and slide through the very basics, such as setting up their profiles, biographies, adding a photo and how to Tweet, as well as the terminology and the dreaded Hashtag, which was the topic of the event. By the time I had shown them all what it was all about, they were all smiling and have since been Tweeting and moving forward with their accounts, which was exactly the aim of the event.
In fact, this was one of my most favourite events to date, as we got to discuss our favourite Tweeters and follow some that we each recommended to one another. All of this helpful Twitter chat and advice over my home made afternoon tea in a warm and cosy kitchen on a cold Saturday morning. 
As mentioned, I'm a hater of being told HOW or WHAT to Tweet, but I am more than happy to answer questions on getting started and help over a relaxed and informal cup of tea and a slice of something sweet. I don't claim to know absolutely everything, but I can point you in the right direction should we need to seek some further advice of suggestions... Thanks to Twitter ; )

There will be another Twitter Basics Tea Party in the future, so get in touch if you fancy joining.
Or if you would like to book a private picnic-based or afternoon tea chat on Twitter with me, I am more than happy to discuss this, either as a group or individually, just email me at: cake@secludedteaparty.com

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