I opened an account on Twitter in May of 2007. (@FranchiseKing) At first, I really had no idea what I was doing. I just knew that if I was going to get on board with this new thing called "social media," I'd better learn all I can about Twitter, and watch how others were using it. I learned that following others on Twitter that had similar interests was a good first step. I searched Google to find small business and franchise folks that were already on Twitter, and I followed them. I engaged in 140 characters or less micro-conversations, a little at a time. I found that if my Tweets included some of my franchise and general business knowledge, a few other like-minded folks would follow me back. I tend to be a bit snarky and sometimes I'm even sarcastic (no... really?) in my posts, and more importantly in my Tweets. I have found those two qualities to be very beneficial on Twitter. If I add some humor to the equation, I usually get several new followers within hours. The best part of being active on Twitter has been the chance to meet people from all over the country, and even throughout the world, that are part of my industry, the franchise industry. Here's a list of 25 franchise folks and companies that are really good at what they do, and that are quite active on Twitter. (In no special order) @NAKEDpizza - Mark Cuban, the flamboyant owner of the Dallas Mavericks invested some of his own money into this up and coming Louisiana franchisor. Tweets about how healthy their pizza is, and announcements about new franchise locations, are properly Tweeted. @Camp_Bow_Wow -\u00a0 If you guessed that this franchise is in the pet sector of franchising, you guessed right. Colorado based Camp Bow Wow is a fast growing boarding kennel that provides 24 hour care for your dog. Their Tweets include special messages sent to their customer's dogs, along with news items deemed important to their customers. @rocketrobin1 -\u00a0 Robin Harrison is the managing director of UK based Dolly Char, a residential cleaning services franchise. Robin provides lots of cleaning tips, along with updates on new franchise being sold. He also gives his franchisees lots of kudos for jobs that are deemed well done. Well done, Robin! UrsulaBarzey -\u00a0 Another Twitter user from the UK, Ursula and I have been having conversations on Twitter for well over a year, now. She provides great insights for prospective franchise owners, and gives a lot more than she takes. (New Twitter folks take note) @CoachFloSchell -\u00a0 Flo Schell may not have 3,000+\u00a0 followers on Twitter, but that doesn't mean that she's not providing value to the franchise community. She has many productive years of franchise sales and development behind her, and shares a ton of tips that franchise organizations of any size can use in their new unit sales activities. @FranchiseHdbk-\u00a0 The Franchise handbook is actually a printed publication, that comes out four times a year. Lots of Tweets about their advertisers populate their stream, but it's a good resource for prospective franchisees. @subwayfreshbuzz-\u00a0 This is the official Twitter page for Subway. You'll find news about their stores, and get up to date information about upcoming promotions and specials. Lots of updates all day long. Five minutes watching their stream of messages may induce hunger. @TopFranchises-\u00a0 Franchise Direct ( Disclosure; They're a strategic partner of this author) Tweets out franchise news and views, mixed in with information about some of their franchise website portal advertisers. @McDonalds-\u00a0 The officially sanctioned Twitter account of McDonald's has a lot of interaction between the folks at corporate, and fans of this rather well known franchisor. I've seen folks from corporate give a fan or two some freebies, once in awhile. (I'll take a large fry, please) @FranchiseMall-\u00a0 Tweets from this franchise directory website include general information about specific franchise concepts that advertise at The Franchise Mall. There's also some really good marketing advice sprinkled in. @DunkinDonuts-\u00a0 These folks do a nice job with Twitter, and social media marketing, in general. Now, meet Dunkin Dave;\u00a0 "Dunkin' Dave here, tweeting on the behalf of the DD mothership. I'm an American and I'm certifiably running on Dunkin'."\u00a0 I'm thinking that Dave may want to drink decaf coffee, occasionally. @FranchisePick-\u00a0 I've never actually met Sean Kelly. But I will. We've done some franchise marketing for franchisors together, and this franchise marketing veteran's Tweets are intelligent, funny, and downright bizarre. I promise. @ChurchsChicken-\u00a0 This growing fast food chicken franchise started in San Antonio, Texas in the 1950's. The folks at corporate gave away an XBox 360 to their 1,000th Twitter follower in 2009. This is a pretty active Twitter account. @PaulSegreto- Paul and I did a franchise radio show together for a while. He's a franchise marketing guy at heart, and mixes up his thoughts about our industry with franchise news, and terrific social media marketing tips. @PizzaHut-\u00a0 The "Twintern" at Pizza Hut Tweets a lot. You'll always find some interesting Tweets here, and transparency isn't a problem. At all. Positive and negative customer service experiences are discussed openly. They get it. @cherrygarcia-\u00a0 Can you take a guess at who's behind this Twitter handle? This socially conscious ice cream chain was an early adopter of Twitter, and Tweets out some great ice cream information with visuals. It's Ben & Jerry's! @SandersonPR-\u00a0 Rhonda Sanderson, a friend of mine, and the president of Sanderson PR in Chicago, has been helping franchisors tell their unique stories for 27 years. She's been Tweeting out franchise information for a few of those years, too.\u00a0 She's very influential in the franchise community. @pancheros-\u00a0 This young Mexican food franchise chain has wisely hired a social media manager. Reid Tweets out interesting things on a daily basis. Currently, it's all about purple burritos. Purple? @expansionexpert-\u00a0 Lizette Pirtle's Twitter profile states that she's passionate about franchisee & franchisor success, small biz, Asheville, spiritual growth, veggies, yoga, sharing & helping others. She shares some great motivational quotes, too. @ToddWeissCFA-\u00a0 This New York franchise consultant is also a Chartered Financial Analyst, and ex Wall Street guy. He Tweets about franchise opportunities and readily gives free tips out. @egennicks-\u00a0 Elza Gennicks is a Phoenix, Arizona area franchise owner, as well as a franchise development executive. His Tweets are a great mix of\u00a0 his business and personal life. He's quite the positive guy. @drjohnhayes-\u00a0 This franchise expert and published author has been pretty active on Twitter as of late. He gives out plenty of advice for would-be franchise owners. He really is a doctor. (Ph.D) He was the President and CEO of HomeVestors of America Inc. for a few years. (We Buy Ugly Houses\u00ae) @MarriottIntl-\u00a0 With over 31,000 followers, the team over at Marriott International has obviously done a nice job integrating Tweets into it's daily media stream. More importantly, this is one brand that has done a superb job using it's Twitter account to solve any customer concerns that come up, much like @dell has been able to do. @balihoo-\u00a0 This local franchisee marketing company has a software product that helps local franchise owners automate their marketing activities.\u00a0 You'll find lots of technology focused Tweets, along with up to date franchise marketing news and views. @Valpakcoupons-\u00a0 Gila Fox from ValPak's corporate office, seems to use Twitter as the central social media hub for the company. Its direct mail coupon customers can connect with the corporate office here, and so can businesses that are interested in advertising their products and services. Gila is really good at spreading her own special brand of Florida sunshine. If you follow this diverse group of\u00a0 franchise industry related professionals\u00a0 on Twitter, you'll add to your franchise and small business knowledge in a big way. There's never been more information readily available like there is now, because of the Web. Twitter brings it all in to view, faster.