Friday, May 31, 2013

Twitter Basics

The 5 basic rules for happiness on Twitter

1. Upload a picture for your 'avatar' so people can see who they're talking to.

2. Put something in your 'bio' so people can get some idea of what you're about.

3. Be interactive (see "the power of ' @ '").

4. Be yourself, not phony.

5. Don't be all about yourself, take an interest in others*.

That's it. Those are the basics. Follow them, and you will have a ball.

Application of the 5 basic rules

The following points are just refinements of points 3, 4,and 5.

6. Retweet other people (see "awesomeness of retweets"). If you like it, retweet it. Use traditional or classic retweets, not the "retweet" button.**.

7. Don't worry about how to get a lot of followers. Just follow, and pay attention to, people you appreciate, and your network will keep on growing. As a general rule, unfollow people who aren't following you. (To learn how to identify and unfollow them, go here).

8. Don't follow celebrities, "suggested" accounts, "must follows", "power" twitters, or "best" or "top" twitters or lists; that is all hype meant to benefit them, not you. Following these types is the easiest way to get frustrated and wind up -- like most people -- quitting, or going inactive. Look for people who are interactive and unselfish, whose style you like, and who tweet about things that are up your alley. You're not here to be a "follower" but to make friends.

9. Don't let yourself be boxed in by Twitter's terminology as to what it is for. It is for anything conversation and writing are for: making new friends, making people laugh, getting a laugh, sharing thoughts, sharing information, making the world a better place, learning, teaching, kvetching, commiserating.... Using it mainly to "update" your "status" is a good way of ensuring that your status is.... lonely.

10. Avoid spammy behavior, such as :
(a) sending auto DM's to people who were kind enough to follow you;
(b) asking people for favors;
(c) following people and then paying no attention to them;
(d) picking fights, starting arguments, splitting hairs, and/or responding to tweets without making it clear what you are responding to; and
(e) sending comments on tweets without retweeting them.

11. If you would like to be retweeted, here's how to improve your chances: (a) make your tweets good, (b) make them short, and (c) be a retweeter yourself.

12. Get one of the free software applications or "clients" that provide a nice, conversational interface and make it easy to follow people's tweets. My favorite is @Tweetdeck for Chrome.

13. Don't follow someone until you've looked at their tweets, and decided you're really interested.

But if you like to keep it simple, you can distill the above rules into 3 simpler rules which are real easy to remember:

1. Share.

2. Share.

3. Share.

* If you're promoting a "cause", help other people promote their causes too. Promoting your agenda, but not those of others, is just selfish.

** When I use the term "retweet" I'm referring to the traditional retweet, not the "rubber stamp" button which Twitter implemented in early 2010 and mislabeled a "retweet". For a more detailed explanation of why you should never ever use Twitter's rubber stamp version, go here.

(Here's a short URL for this post:

Bookmark and Share