Well Twitter is mainstreaming, as we all know, every man, woman and child it appears wants to be on Twitter. They are all trying to work out what this latest crazy is all about. It’s been an interesting road with Twitter from the early days in late 2006.
For a while there it really did look like Twitter wasn’t going to make it over the fail whale. But here we are on the tail end of another South by South West conference and Twitter isn’t missing a beat.
To make things all a little strange, now we have Facebook morphing into a twitter clone, well at least interface wise it is.
Still with all this and the newbies coming on board a few guidelines about twitter would help smooth things over:
- You will generally only get out of Twitter what you put into it. It’s the ultimate extension of the expression of paying it forward. The more you share information, help people and generally build community around you, the more your network will respond in turn.
- When you setup a Twitter account, there are a number of things you really should do, to have it easier for people to get to know you. Please fill in the profile description and the website link (even to the facebook profile is good). These help people who you want to follow you determine if it is worthwhile or not.
- Building the network of followers is important, you want to attract people that are going have like interests or from similar professional spheres. The best people generally are people that are already paying it forward, as indicated in point one.
- Likewise, it’s a good idea to follow people that have interests that are the same as you. Sure you can follow a few celebrities. But trust me here, they are usually no more interesting than you and me, in fact often they are less so. We just think they are “more interesting”.
- Also don’t expect the people that are building up follower lists of over 10,000 or people to be that engaging or even care that you exist. Sorry to them twitter is an amusing toy to pass a few minutes at day and feed their ego.
- Personally I would avoid anyone who is proclaimer a “social media expert”, even if they do have thousands of followers. Like others have said there is no a restriction on stupidity or lack of common sense. Twitter suddenly over the last few months has become full of these experts. If you are looking for people in this sphere these ones are not it.
- There are spammers on Twitter too. Generally they have an extremely high ratio of followers to followed people and post just links. You’ll get a recognize them, they are easier to spot on Twitter.
- Some people make their Twitter streams (a collection of twitter posts) private. Some people say this is against the networking nature of Twitter and it’s just plain silly. Well everyone will have their own person reasons. It’s a good idea to respect them. Maybe they have made their twitter account private for general personal privacy reason, restricting Google from indexing their tweets (posts) , avoiding relatives, work colleagues or the like or maybe other reasons.
- When using Twitter I wouldn’t constantly repeat, rebroadcast or “retweet” links from other people to your audience of followers all day long. This is a little rude as you are only providing a second hand conversation.
- Similarly don’t just feed or post links from your blog or news service to twitter. Unless you have set the account up as a news service account, and state this from the outset.
- Be very aware that in different places in the world people use Twitter differently. In Australia it is more about the conversation, when in England, Canada and the US it is more about stating what is happening in your life etc, more micro blogging.
- When following people it is good idea to say hello and introduce yourself to them. This helps remove any conversational barriers and confirms you as a real person, not an automated twitter bot.
I’m sure there are a lot more helpful hints for using Twitter effectively, if you think of any please add them below. It will be very interesting where Twitter will be in 2 more years.