A year ago, I became a somewhat reluctant Twitter convert. Launched in 2006, Twitter already had 300 million users when I joined. Was I simply too late to the party?
I’d long been a Facebook fan. Yet, after spending close to a year on Twitter, I now view Facebook as a family reunion, while Twitter is a crowded, noisy cocktail party held in the Wild Wild West. On Twitter, anything can happen – and often does.
So, how can you tame the big, lively, fast-moving social media platform that is Twitterland? Like any social gathering, there are always some guidelines. Here’s what I’ve learned over the last year.
Jump In. Twitter is a pretty straightforward social media platform. To get started, you can find video tutorials online or ask a friend for help. I suggest observing what others are tweeting and what subjects are trending. However, everyone has to begin somewhere, so just jump in and don’t be afraid. You’ll get better, faster, smarter with time. Honestly, you can’t break Twitter.
Twitter Is Not Just About You. It’s about the community. You’ll have to be informative, generous and entertaining in order to be popular on Twitter.
Follow the Golden Tweet. Not everyone will do the right thing, but be a good example. You will quickly flame out if you constantly attack others, use gratuitous profanity or are boring. On the flip side, when you don’t like what others are saying, then you can ignore or block them. Yes, you’ll encounter irritating and inappropriate people on Twitter, however you’ll also connect with some great individuals who will enrich your life.
Keep It Real. Nothing is more annoying than a person who only tweets quotes — and a lot of them. Another irritant is when someone relentlessly sells a product, a service or themselves via Twitter. You’ll have more success when you share information, comment, retweet and dole out a few favorite stars.
Be Relevant. Try introducing topics and see if others respond. Check to see what are others talking about in your area, across the country and around the world. Make sure you are not passing along urban legends or inaccurate information. Use humor often. Mix up your tweets. Try tweeting without any links or hashtags. A short tweet is refreshing and it will probably get retweeted more often.
Stay in the Game. If you don’t tweet, you are asking for people to unfollow you. On the other hand, it is just as annoying when people swoop in once a week to post 40 or 50 tweets in five minutes. Twitter is not an intense race with a finish line. Pace yourself, show up and you’ll build a following.
Nobody Likes a Narcissist. “I’m with my hubby at the Park City Grill in Phoenix.” Ugh. Sorry, but you lost me at hubby. Tweets with meaning and substance will win the day. I’ve run across people who have tweeted close to 100,000 times. Do they ever sleep? Do they have a life other than Twitter? Must they tweet everything? Personally, I see it as a bit creepy.
You Are Not a Number. People become obsessed with their followers. That number will invariably go up and down. Tweet and interact with honesty, personality and goodwill. The followers will come.
Original thoughts and perceptions are what will draw people to you on Twitter. And, generosity will win you both respect and a dedicated posse. I’ve had a great time on Twitter and many of my connections have become real-life friends. If you are not tweeting yet, come join me soon. You’ll have a great time.