Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 13, 2014
Twitter is my favorite social media platform after blogging. Believe it or not, I actually try to talk to every one of the 3,000 plus people following me every once in a while, though not as many talk back. I also just passed 1,000 people I’m following for the first time since I joined Twitter in 2008; that’s pretty amazing. And with just over 87,000 tweets, I like to think I know a thing or two about Twitter.
However, there are people who don’t quite get the nuances of Twitter. There are a lot of people following way more people than I am and have a lot more people following them. But are they effective? Are the communicating or just putting out a lot of noise? Some are, some aren’t, and some are just irritating. Let’s look at 5 mistakes people make on Twitter… in my opinion of course…
1. They either only post links or chatter all day long.
If someone keeps up a diatribe all day long of what they’re doing or just posts links, it often means they’re not trying to communicate with anyone. Unless you’re someone I need to follow because you’re giving me exactly what I need to succeed (which means almost no one), I’m not following anyone that selfish, and not too many other people will either.
If they do, you can bet they’re either bots or people who aren’t reading what’s being put out, and are only in it for the numbers. Do the numbers really mean anything is no one is actually reading?
2. They never respond when someone writes them directly.
Twitter sends you a notification whenever someone writes you directly. If you don’t respond it means you’re not paying attention, or you’ve possibly turned it off, in which case you’re showing you don’t care. Someone like me will unfollow you pretty quickly if I notice it; then again, someone like me checks to see if you ever talk to anyone before I even think about following you.
3. You never put out anything original.
Many people find that they can get a lot of followers by retweeting the content of others. Retweeting basically means sharing what someone else has already posted with the people that follow them. It’s not a bad strategy unless you never put out anything original, which means someone you write, or ever offer an opinion about anything you share. That often means what you’re doing is automated, and even though some people appreciate it no matter what, others know they’re missing the chance to engage you personally.
I’ll grant you that sometimes a tweet is so long that there’s little room left to add a comment. As much as I can I’ll not only alter comments so I can add something, but I also try to do what I can to include the Twitter handle of the person I’m seeing the tweet from, especially if they’re retweeting something. Don’t ever be afraid to manipulate something to make it fit, other than the link, as long as you try to keep the basic message intact.
4. When you do engage people, or share your thoughts, your language is that of someone who doesn’t know any better.
I hate cussing; have never uttered a single word. I’ve gotten used to seeing it here and there online, but some people use bad language as a badge of honor. It’s not, and it makes you look ignorant, even if a few people laugh.
If you’re on Twitter for any business purposes you’ll want to restrict that kind of language. Remember, everything you say on Twitter stays on the internet forever, and now is being recorded by the Library of Congress; how’s that for forever? Remember, people and businesses have lost clients for less.
5. You haven’t set up your bio properly.
When you set up a Twitter account you get to create a very short bio. If you’re there for even a little bit of business you need to remember to put a link to your website or blog, and not a shortened or hidden link because that looks suspicious. Some people don’t put a bio at all; that won’t do.
Some people try to get cute; if it’s for personal use then by all means have fun, but for business tell people what you do, even though you don’t have a lot of characters to get too deep into it. On my Twitter bio I have a link to one of my blogs as well as my main business site. Also, put up a picture or an avatar of some kind; no one likes to follow the little egg they give you when you sign up.
Are you failing in any of these areas? Got anything you’d like to add? By the way, if you want to follow me on Twitter look at that big blue bird on the left and click on it.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 14, 2013
The last 7 days have been illuminating to me. In the second half of last year we kept hearing about all these changes that were coming to Twitter. It’s always been and, kind of even now, is still my favorite social media platform. So I figured that things could change but none of those things were going to change me, or change on me if you prefer. Man, was I wrong.
The first thing I ended up having to change was TweetDeck. I’ve extolled the virtues of TweetDeck for years and thought it was the easiest and most customizable platform for accessing Twitter. At some point near the end of the year it started going a little wonky; yes, that’s my technical term. It would hang up here and there on both my main computer and my laptop.
Turns out Twitter, which had bought the company last year, had decided they were going to change the entire platform around. They had started trying to move everyone to a browser version but then decided to allow a standalone version as well. I had heard nothing but bad things about it so I figured I would just continue running the old program; what could they do?
Turns out they could actually just stop it by changing how Twitter worked. I decided I didn’t want to wait until the last minute so I downloaded the new program to the laptop first to test it. It’s not so bad; not as easy to use overall as the original program, and you can’t change colors or do some of the things you could do before but it’s doable. Why they took away the ability to hit Enter & have your message go is puzzling but they’ve set up some shortcuts you can use to get it done. It’s taking some getting used to after almost a week but I’ll get there.
The next surprise was something else I talked about here called Friend or Follow. This allowed you to run a process on their website to see who you might be following that was no longer following you. That way, you could decide if you still wanted to follow those people. It’s still around but now you have to become a member, and it says some other things have changed as well. It actually might be good but right now I’m not in the mood to have to sign up for anything new. I’m probably going to have to get over that one of these days because everything’s changing isn’t it?
Then last night the final straw came when I tried to access something else I’ve talked about over the years, Twit Cleaner. What this process did was go through everyone you were following on Twitter and rate them and how they performed on the site. In other words, were they even participating, were they just sending out links all day long, were they using certain platforms to send everything out, were they blathering all day, etc. Then you could select which people you didn’t want to follow anymore and over the course of an hour or so, depending on how many people you were following, it would remove those folks; plain and simple.
Alas, I guess this last Twitter change was too much for the creator, especially since he wasn’t making any money off the thing, thus he decided to shut the entire thing down instead of spending an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out all the changes and recode the entire thing. And he stated that he’d had to do it previously; wow. You never know the dedication that someone else puts into something you get for free sometimes, and most of us don’t know the behind the scenes stuff for much of what we use. In leaving though, he left us with these words, which are prophetic:
Never play football when someone else owns the field.
So obvious in hindsight.
Think about that one for a minute because it’s deep, deeper than you might imagine. Remember the question I asked last week on is social media giving you everything you need? It’s been an almost unanimous “no”, yet when you think about it, none of it belongs to us. We didn’t create it, we don’t own it, and we don’t pay for it, and even if we did pay for it nothing says we’d still get everything we wanted because, as with everything else, unless we can code it we never quite get everything we want from anything; that’s deep also.
Sigh… I’m lamenting all these changes to Twitter and yet I have to acknowledge that other social media platforms are changing as well.
If you’re on Google Plus you’ve noticed that the image you can use has increased in size, to the point where your image can be as big as what we’ve always called “the fold” for websites.
YouTube is changing as well, going to something called OneChannel, where not only will your background look different but you can put up a much larger profile image there as well (Google owns both, as you know).
The final thing is that Facebook is also changing things again, first to the one column format and soon, since I’ve heard a few folks already have it, its interface will look like, at least to me, what Google Plus’ interface looks like, with much bigger images showing in your space and fewer “business/fan” page insights showing up unless you’ve proven you want them; sigh again… As speculated on Hot Blog Tips Facebook could be moving towards a paid model for business/fan pages even moreso than they’re pushing now. If that actually does happen I’ll abandon my page fully; it’s not something I often think about doing for anything but I will.
As Bob Dylan said, “the times, they are ‘a changin’“.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 2, 2013
My wife and I always seem to have the same discussion about me and one of my particular eating habits. She says that I don’t always have a filter for portion control. When I’m hungry or thirsty, my mind doesn’t quite see that maybe “this much” is all I need to get rid of either of those things. At least not all the time.
Thus, sometimes my mind will say “I can eat that entire pizza” when logically I know I can’t. It’ll say “you need to heat up 20 chicken nuggets” when I know I can only eat 13. And yet, every once in awhile I hear her words jumping into my mind saying “that’s going to be too much, restrain yourself, which explains this picture of chocolate milk that I made in a 32oz cup, bypassing the 48oz cup I initially grabbed; yeah, that would have come close to taking the entire carton of milk. lol
I know what you’re wondering; what’s that got to do with the topic above. The thing about social media is that most of us can define it based on what we think it is and what we think it should do for us. Most of us believe it’s supposed to be everything we want it to be, no matter what the limitations or realities might be.
I’ll own up to it; I’m one of those people. I have my own idea of what social media is supposed to be, and I want it to be that thing, and yet it’s not that thing. Let me explain.
I enjoy much of social media, but I find it lacking. I love Twitter, which you’ve heard me mention before. I’ve enjoyed Facebook, and I keep trying to make Google+ work for me the way I want it to work. LinkedIn, well, I can’t say I’ve ever gotten any business from my participation there, even though that’s what it’s supposed to help us with, connecting with those people who may be able to use our services.
What is it I want from social media? Truthfully, when all is said and done I want more engagement, and I want it more immediately. As an experiment, last night I decided to try an experiment. I announced around 8:30 that I was going to hold a Google Hangout at 9PM and that anyone who wanted to come was welcome, as I could take the first 8 people who asked to participate. I posted it on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.
I wasn’t expecting much, and for the first 10 minutes that’s exactly what I got. No one came; not even a hint. So I decided to invite some people, and invited 8 of them. Two people popped in surprisingly, and two others acknowledged it on G+ but neither could come. The two who showed up were Michael Belk and Beverly Mahone. Shocking to me was that both of them showed up via their smartphones, both then tried to get on through their laptops and failed, and Michael came back to the phone, while I never could get Bev back on. I thank both of them, and Michael and I had a good conversation for awhile after he got back on.
I know some people would say that I should have put that message out way in advance but I had to try an experiment first. Here’s my take on it all. If there are a billion people on Facebook, 500 million on Google Plus, and 300 million or so on Twitter, and all of these sites have people on them 24/7, and 9PM Eastern time is only 6PM out west, I should be able to post something 30 minutes before its time and have some people show up. Of course, I don’t have that many people following me so let’s look at it this way. If I have almost 700 people following me on both Google Plus and Facebook and another 3,000+ on Twitter, that’s almost 4,500 people, and if that’s the case I should still be able to get at least 3 or 4 to show up, wouldn’t you think?
That’s what I thought. As Michael and I were talking, he said that the problem with social media is that it’s not really social. On Google Plus most people seem to be interested more in promoting themselves than in talking to anyone. For the most part the same is true of Twitter. On Facebook, people love playing games and sharing images, and you might be able to get a conversation going that takes place over a number of hours, but for anything immediate you have to use that chat function, and most of us don’t like that.
Isn’t that thought provoking? Social media not really being social? Goodness, for most people it’s not even a great way to market, no matter what we try, and when I think about it, most of the people on Twitter are marketing more than communicating, and I have to share in that one, although I only post my links twice a day at most. I try engaging people when I share some of their links & quotes and occasionally talk to people, but not all that often, and that’s my favorite platform.
Is social media giving me everything I need? Not even close. But what about you? Are you getting everything you could possibly want out of it? I’m not talking marketing wise now, so don’t answer that question. And I’m not talking blogging either, since I consider that part of social media, though more indirectly. How do you view what you get out of social media now? Is it enough, or is there something else you wish you were getting?
Oh yeah; that other picture is of… well, you know what it’s a picture of. I ate all of that as well, in one day but not in one sitting. My wife is right; sometimes I just want too much.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 18, 2012
It was a nice run, but I was finally pulled into the 21st century kicking and screaming, and I’m not all that happy about it. Since last Friday I’ve been lamenting the apparent death of one of my favorite plugins, Twitter Tools, and now I’m ready to write about it.
Truthfully, it was almost like that. I wondered why none of my posts for the day had automatically gone to Twitter, and I saw there was an update to Twitter Tools. Since the same thing popped up on all 5 of my blogs I decided to use my SEO blog to test it out. When I upgraded, it said something about having to add a plugin called Social to run the plugin. I was wondering why I had to use a different plugin to run a plugin.
I loaded Social and went to its settings, where it said I had to get an API to use it. I had an API already set up for Twitter Tools so that was disturbing. So I skipped that part and decided to see what I could do without it. Well, it seems that without that you can’t post-date your articles to go live, and the only way you can get your post up is to actually tweet it through the post itself. What the hey?
I went into Twitter Tools, where everything I’d set up before was still there, but there was no option now on a post, as I went to do a test post, where it had a place for you to tell it to automatically post to Twitter.
I was irked, as I’d used that bad boy for more than 2 years, and I’d even taken the time to write a tutorial here as to how to set it up to work on Twitter. It was one of my post popular posts. Now it’s gone, as well as a couple other posts about that plugin and every article that I’d linked to talking about it.
But I needed something new. I knew a couple of friends had me hooked up to auto-share my posts when they went live, so I asked both of them what they did. Enter Twitterfeed, which takes any RSS feed and, when something new pops up, posts it to either Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. I was hesitant at first but Holly convinced me to go through with it. I did, ran some tests, and it works pretty well. I haven’t been able to figure out how to get it to post as soon as my articles go live, but I do have it set to check every 30 minutes for something new, and I guess I can wait 30 minutes or so.
As I said, I’m coming into the world of having to use web-based services instead of controlling everything on my own kicking and screaming. I wonder what the next technological shock will be.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 25, 2012
Those of you who have read this blog for awhile know that one of the few games I play online is this game and page called Empire Avenue. It’s kind of a social media stock market game where you trade on each other rather than specific companies or products.
One of its features is that you can leave what’s called “shout outs” to people to either thank them for buying your shares or respond to those who write you. As my stock price has gone up I’ve been getting a lot of responses, and I’ve been responding to a lot of people who have purchased my shares. I’m not as good at thanking people who buy my shares unfortunately, and I thought that maybe I needed to work on that.
I “thought” about it, that is. I was dismayed about a month ago when I learned that almost all of the messages I get are automated. I didn’t even know one could do that but it seems that I’m not really as popular or as well liked as I’d thought after all.
I probably should have noticed it earlier because it was the same response every single time, and I knew that, based on doing it once, the page will reject a message that it considers a duplicate if you’re writing it. So, it seems automation can get people around that.
It also explains why no one ever responded when I sent them a message back. I mean, if everything’s automated, why would they even have to consider responding back to anyone right?
About a month ago I talked about over automation and gave reasons why I don’t and won’t do it. On my Twitter profile I have a message that says if you add me and I follow you and then you auto-DM me I’ll unfollow you immediately, and I stick with that. These days almost everyone new I connect with on Twitter has connected with me first, and I’ve learned that many people are connecting with me via automation, looking for keywords in messages I post and therefore bypassing my profile entirely. It also probably explains why so many that connect with me disconnect with me, usually within a week. Hey, that’s their prerogative.
Here’s my point. Social media is called that because it’s supposed to be social. Over-automation basically makes social impersonal. Sure, there are lots of folks saying that we love getting greetings or thank you messages because they make us feel special. Think about it; how special do you feel when you get an automated email thanking you for leaving a comment on a blog without a response back to your comment with it? As a matter of fact, outside of getting confirmation that you either signed up for or left something, how often do you enjoy getting something automated anywhere?
Does someone actually like you if it’s not them telling you so? Do you care?