Twitter is my favorite social media platform after blogging. Believe it or not, I actually try to talk to every one of the 4,500 plus people following me every once in a while, though not as many talk back. I’m also back under 1,000, which I reached for the first time in 2014, and back around 860; that’s what happens when society changes and you learn more about some of the people you’re following and decide it’s time to remove them from your online life. With just over 187,000 tweets over the course of almost 14 years, I like to think I know a thing or two about Twitter.
There are a lot of people who don’t quite get the nuances of Twitter. Many of them are following way more people than I am, and have a lot more people following them. But is they effective? Are they enjoying Twitter as much as I do? Are they communicating or just putting out a lot of noise? Is there a balance between promoting their content, sharing other people’s content, and actually talking to people from time to time? Some are, some aren’t, and some are just irritating… you know it’s true.
The best thing about repurposing older blog posts is that it gives you the chance to update and offer more bang for your efforts than when you originally put something out in public. When I originally wrote this in 2014, I only talked about 5 mistakes I believe people make on Twitter. That number’s grown a bit, so for everyone’s benefit let’s see if I can help some people… or if some people disagree with what I’m about to share with you.
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. Because I have strange sleeping habits, I see posts from people at many different hours; it’s unbelievable when you see that someone’s got multiple posts every single hour of the day.
You know what they don’t have? Conversation with anyone they’re connected to. Many of these folks aren’t actually on Twitter; they have an account and use it only for marketing and promotion purposes. From my perspective, unless you’re someone I need to follow because you’re giving me information I need to succeed (which means almost no one), I’m not following anyone that selfish, and I don’t let the follow numbers they might have sway me into thinking that “maybe” they’re offering me something special.
Do the numbers really mean anything if no one is actually reading? I can’t prove that no one is reading any of their content, but I do know that a lot of people share things they haven’t taken the time to read. I know that because many of those people have something in their profile telling us that they don’t necessarily agree with something they’re sharing with the masses. In my opinion, if you’re sharing something you disagree with and don’t add a message to it, then you either didn’t read it or you actually do disagree but don’t want anyone thinking you do. Luckily for many of you, no one else is reading what you share so you can continue to get away with it; congratulations.
2. They never respond when someone writes them directly.
Twitter sends you a notification whenever someone writes you directly; I’m not talking about DMs here. If you don’t respond to anyone, it means you’re not paying attention, or you’ve possibly turned notifications off, or you’re not really participating on Twitter in the first place, in which case you’re showing you don’t care about having conversations or about what anyone else thinks, even if it’s possibly nice things they’re saying to you.
Someone like me will unfollow you pretty quickly if I notice it. Then again, someone like me checks to see if you ever talk or respond to anyone before I even think about following you. It’s pretty easy to do; I just go to your Twitter profile scan through your tweets (usually at least two weeks worth unless you’re posting a lot of blather), see if you’re talking to anyone or only sharing your own tweets or retweeting others, and if not I’m not bothering to connect with you. I’m not a narcissist; I don’t care if you’re not talking to me, but I am interested in seeing if you talk to anyone.
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 either something you write or offer an opinion about anything you share. That sometimes 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 with 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 the original. 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; I’ve never uttered a single cuss word in my life. I’m not a prude; I’ve heard it all my life and even Dad cussed here and there (he was in the military after all), though Mom never did. I’m used to seeing it online, and overall I don’t care, but some people use bad language as a badge of honor rather than trying to offer a more cogent message.
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? 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, blog, or any social media spaces you have that you want to highlight. Some people don’t put in a bio at all; I’m always wary of those folks, but I’ll still check them out if they follow me.
Some people try to get cute; if it’s for personal use then by all means have fun, but if it’s 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. I’m in a lot of places online, but my business link is the one I hope people will visit the most, even though they don’t. lol
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. Even Twitter set up something where you can decide you don’t want anyone to be able to connect to you without getting rid of the egg; that’s nice!
6. You’re not blocking things you don’t want to see.
Since 2016, I’ve been blocking a lot of things on both Twitter (I started blocking things on Facebook in 2014) when the rise of the term “deplorable” started popping up, and there being way too many messages involving the “orange guy”, someone I’ve hated for years. Twitter gives you the option of either blocking accounts outright, or blocking words and terms that you’d rather not see at all.
On the Twitter page, go to your profile, click on the link on the left (somewhere in the middle, the circle with 3 dots in it), go to Settings And Privacy and, once in there you’ll see how you can block whatever floats your boat. This is where you go when you want to block words or phrases; you wouldn’t believe how much I block, but I’m at peace, which is a nice place to be.
You don’t have to go that far to block a profile that’s getting on your nerves. All you do is click on their profile (whatever follows @), click on the 3 dots, then choose what you want to do. You can mute people you don’t want to hear from (Twitter doesn’t tell them) but want to stay connected to, or you can block them entirely. I also tend to block bots that retweet my stuff; some might see that as helpful, but they can be helpful without my knowing about it if they choose to do so.
7. You’re not creating lists.
I’m following less than 900 people, but it’s hard to keep up with those whose posts I want to see more often. That’s where creating lists comes into play. They allow you go put people into specific categories so you can see their content more often without having to search for it… or decide it’s time to let them go.
Once again, you click on the circle with 3 buttons, and you’ll see lists near the top of the column. You get to name the lists, add people to those specific lists, and decide if you want your lists to be public or private; I always keep my lists private.
I have 5 lists; I’m not going to tell you what all of them are. But I’m going to mention two of them and offer an explanation about them.
One is titled “Syracuse”, which is the local area I live in. Everyone in that list is in the central New York area, which helps keep me informed of what’s going on locally since I don’t read the newspaper or watch the news on TV anymore. It’s my largest list, because I also have people in there who don’t live in the area but have a connection to it, along with a couple of people whose content I always want to see, since it’s the one group I check multiple times a day.
The second list is titled “Other”, and it’s the 2nd shortest list I have. That’s where I put people I’ve connected to whose content I rarely see and want to see if they’re posting the same stuff that encouraged me to connect with them in the first place. Here and there, I’ll also pop someone in there who I haven’t connected with but I want to see where they’re going with what they’re posting to decide if I want to add them on a more permanent basis.
By the way, you can also use lists to follow topics you’re interested in. Follow the initial steps in creating your list, then add hashtag and your word and you’re all set up. Once again, I thought about doing it but I’m already overloaded.
What’s also interesting is that you can see lists you’re on as long as those lists aren’t private. Twitter’s made it difficult to see how many lists you’re on these days, but years ago I was already on over 2,500 lists… so I hope that numbers grown. You can see the lists your on when you’re in the list category, but you could be scrolling for a long time. You can also add group lists that you want to follow; I thought about that but realized I didn’t have the time for all of that.
I think that’s enough for now. Are you failing in any of these areas? Got anything you’d like to add? Enjoy!