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:

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  1. Very refreshing, definitely something for the missing Twitter handbook!

  2. Great points in here. Had i read this years ago I might not have gone inactive twice before really "getting it" and wasting 1 year of time to get to know some really nice people!

    Thanks for sharing as always :)

  3. As I recall, I was inactive for 7 or 8 months too, the principal reason being that I believed, and the people I was following believed, in Twitter's dumb description of itself.

  4. i just signed on a few weeks ago. This was a very helpful piece. thanks

  5. Nice post, Ray. I'd say I agree with most of your points. Though I think that some people are intrigued by status updates, as in where one is and what one is doing...and I do enjoy reading the same of others. Such tweets tell me something about their lives and who they really are. Sometimes, such tweets provide, for me, a point of connection & understanding. Of course, it is about balance, I feel. I think that mixing it up is a good idea. In my opinion, too much of any one kind of tweet is overkill, whether they be news tweets, opinion tweets, motivational quotes, status updates, or progress updates on a personal or professional project. Ultimately, how one builds & interacts with his/her community is a matter of personal preference. I find that online communities aren't really all that different from the ones in real life - what you put into them will determine what you get out of them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Most people seem to miss point number 8. I like seeing my follower number goes up as much as the next guy but it's the connection that gets me revved up the most.

    I've just realized number 6. With ppl using Twitter clients most of the time, Twitter's Retweet is useless. Nobody knows they have been retweeted - unless they obsessively check manually, like I do, LOL

  7. I disagree with the not asking people. Most people don't sit on twitter all day so sending out an email and asking for your supporters to RT helps get it out to people who otherwise wouldn't.

  8. Twitter Marketing: How to be Follow-Worthy on Twitter
    "How do I get more followers on Twitter?" is a question I'm often asked. Paying someone to find followers for you isn't the answer. What works better is providing useful, helpful information to those who follow you.

    Read full article:

  9. Thanks Ray Beckerman!

    I think I read all that you wrote about it and I also commented previously...I am newbie and I learned much from you...but I´m still learning...

    Ps. I am an Env.Manager, and that means... "the management of interaction by societies with, and impact upon the environment" (wiki)...So basically I care much for both mankind & nature...
    I like following you! For me, you are a great far as I know...

    king regards

    Djan S. Masson
    twitter: Santnamor2013


  10. Phenomenal advice Ray.Thanks. Had not read this before. The thing is very few people get what you are saying so a high percentage give up.It's ALL about colllaborating and sharing. The link to you post about the retweet button is especially worth clicking on

  11. Learn more basic of this article so i am interesting topic for me that is way i search more topic from this article then i will improve my skill as twitter user.

  12. It's ALL about colllaborating and discussing. The weblink to you publish about the retweet key is especially value simply clicking on.

  13. easy peasy! thanks Ray - sharing out - I've been noticing more and more something that falls into spammy and that is commenting and or sending questions on a link tweeted, that appears to have no relevance to the content ... perhaps a way to strike up a converssation, but feels very spammy as if the link was never read...seems best to stay clear of that....thanks again!

  14. Thanks, Jolie. Yes it's true, there's a lot of spammy behavior, running afoul of some of my no-no's:

    (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.

  15. Thanks Ray, you've got a great blogsite!
    I'm new to twitter and I find your blogs really helpful.
    Gotta do that old fashioned retweeting. :-)


I have a few simple comment rules:

(a) No

1. rudeness
2. falsehood
3. deception
4. unfair tactics
5. comment spam
6. shilling or trolling

(b) stay on topic, and

(c) if you're anonymous, use a handle so we can distinguish you from other anonymous commenters.

Thanks for commenting.