Twitter: A Guide

(not my standard gaming fare, but since I have this bloggy thingy here, I should probably use it for something at least.)

 

Are you the sort of person that takes one sideways glance at Twitter and thinks to themselves, “Why would I be interested in someone brushing their teeth?” Please, kill that misconception in your mind. Let me help you.
 
You’re doing it wrong (and you’ll probably do G+ wrong as well, but that’s another post). It’s your own damn fault if you follow people on twitter that post about toothpaste, unless that’s something that actually interests you. It’s NOT Facebook where your “friends” are correlative to your social status and the ability to play Zynga-esque games. It’s usually not about your everyday life either, unless, again, you make it that.

So there’s a handful of different twitter users out there. First there’s you, being the clueless “I don’t get it” crowd that either think social media is useless, or are just ignorant to how it works. Spammers make up a huge chunk of it, and many of them are in the clueless bit as well. Spamming for followers is no way to get actual meaningful followers, you “people” are as good as spammers. There’s legit marketing that goes on in the form of company accounts. They’re the outlet for press releases and rarely come across as personable human accounts, but are valuable just the same.

Twitter really gets interesting when it comes down to the individuals. You have the content generators, the consumers, and the more casual people that just chat it up. Often these three are really one group of what I like to refer to as the active user base. I would assume this is the group that most people would strive to fit in.

So start off simple, be a consumer. You don’t need to interact with ANYONE to have a successful Twitter account. All you need to do is have an interest in something. Maybe even a couple things. Start off with some of the companies that represent an interest of yours and get their official twitter account to follow. Then you can dig a bit deeper and find some of the employees that work for some of your favorite companies. Often times these guys will have more interesting or in-depth things to talk about. If you pay attention you’ll notice that other people are talking to those employees which is a good sign that they’ll be talking about things that share a common interest, so go ahead and follow them too. Do this for a couple companies that represent your interest and you’ll have a healthy base of people you’re following to give you a nice realtime feed on whatever interests you.

Maybe you want to say hi to some of these people. Careful, you’re on the precipice of becoming a casual twitter user there. Once you start talking to people about common interests you might talk to them more and more as you see them respond. Twitter conversations are great because more often than not you’ll get all kinds of viewpoints on things that really interest you and you’ll probably meet other people in the meantime. You could end up spending a fair chunk of your day talking about things that you actually like with total strangers! This crazy internet thing…

Of course, once you get to this point it’s only a matter of time before you bite the bullet and start creating things to share with your new friends who share your common interests and talk about them all the time at length in an intelligent, informed, and meaningful manner. You might start a blog, or get in good with an employee to leak information, or just become a regular aficionado with your interests. People might look to you as the veteran expert and ask you questions that they think you might have the best answers for. This is when you really start generating followers as people are looking to you as an actual source of good hard reliable information and content.

Now, lists. Do you want to go even further? So you have your main encompassing interest that makes up the majority of your feed, but maybe there’s other things on the side that you kinda sorta wanna keep track of, but don’t really want cluttering up your well constructed main feed. Lists are used to group together users so you can see that feed seperate from the main feed. This is handy for people that post less frequently, or to tie companies to their employees so you can see the hivemind at work. They’re also used to follow things that have little to do with your normal stream, or to keep track of specific instances or hashtags more easily than the search function.

tl;dr bullet points!
* follow what you like, not who you think you should
* report spam, block spammers
* one large interest, use lists for side interests
* use people you follow to find new people to follow
* don’t over-do it. twitter is a creep, not a sprint

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10 thoughts on “Twitter: A Guide

  1. I heard a lecture about a year ago where online media like Twitter was described as “social lubricant.” In other words, it works best when it works as a conversation starter. Sounds like that’s what you are advocating here too!Unfortunately, some people, and I think 99% of all corporations, put up things that are conversation killers rather than starters.

  2. Well, even if I have an interest in someone I’m not very likely to be interested in reading a couple of lines of text they post, which means there’s a lot of sifting to do to actually find useful information. Then there’s the fact that there’s not much you can say with the few words you get and it’s hard to hold a conversation. As for tweeting, it feels too much like forcing my badly formulated thoughts on people (the short version).Twitter to me feels like a shortened email or perhaps the online version of mobile text messages, which a phonecall beats nine times out of ten. Oh and I already have a blog. Don’t need a short version of it. :PNot convinced. :>

  3. Pingback: Newbie Blogger Initiative! – 2013 | Grimnir's Grudge

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