Getting to grips with Twitter

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There are thousands of blogs out there providing helpful guides in the form of “Top 10 Twitter This” and “Top 50 Twitter That”. This is just another one of them.

Each observation is listed in no particular order, and are basically, gross generalisations. I haven’t bothered with instructive tips per se, but I will post a few links at the end to some sites that I found helpful when I joined Twitter. Here goes, from me to you, with love:

  1. Generosity is what makes the Twitterverse go ‘round. Do unto others as you would like done unto you. Pls RT.
  2. My fav Tweeps are those that post a mix of: personal tales, odd observations, interesting links, professional opinion, and lashings of wit.
  3. “Build and they will come” never works with followers on Twitter. A more suitable adage would be “You get out of it what you put in”.
  4. Follow some strangers. You’ll very likely read ideas you’ve never considered before. Unfollow them if they’re idiots.
  5. Twitter is an open platform. People might not like what you say, so if you don’t want to feel their wrath, don’t be a dick.
  6. Celebrities, comedians and journalists will not follow you. Get over it.
  7. Politicians will follow you - but will never engage with you. As in life, so as in Twitterland.
  8. The shorter the tweet, the more likelihood of RT, so practise succinctness, pithiness, and if you must, abbreviations.
  9. Finding your “Twitter voice” takes a while. Persevere - developing your style will come.
  10. If you find Twitter a confusing user experience (and trust me, you won’t be alone if you do), try www.tweetdeck.com
  11. Think about time zones & daily routines. To get max exposure, you may be better off waiting a few hours before tweeting (esp. charities).
  12. Anyone can post a headline and link. What makes a tweet special is when you personalise it or give context.
  13. Writing a brief bio for your profile is essential if you want any followers. It helps strangers find like-minded strangers.
  14. Twitterers come in 2 kinds: those who tweet what they did/saw/heard/think (fab) and those who tweet what they read on the internet (yawn).
  15. Twitter is like a pub. If you visit infrequently, stand in the corner and shout the same old shit… expect no one to pay any attention.

Footnote:  This addendum is directed to those people who “don’t see the point of Twitter because I use Facebook”. Well as someone who used to think that both were the spawn of the Devil, I can safely say that they are different – and as such you get very different things out of them. Facebook is a ‘closed’ network where you preach to the converted (ie: friends and family). You already know what these people think, and most likely it’s the same as you. Twitter, conversely, is an ‘open’ network where you talk to friends, family and complete strangers. Swimming in this dynamic, fast flowing river allows you to get surprising – and almost always helpful – answers to your questions. It extends your visibility out into communities, people’s lives, and websites (via links), that you would never come across on Facebook.

So next time you hear someone lumping Twitter and Facebook together under the one catch-all of ‘Social Media’, you’ll know that they’re actually talking about two very different animals.

Useful links:

The 46 Stages of Twitter - Hilarious and soooo true: http://www.shanenickerson.com/

How to Use Twitter by Peter (who does Twitter brilliantly): http://pme200.blogspot.com/

Mashable - The Daddy of all Twitter Guides: http://mashable.com/guidebook/twitter/