I discussed different kinds of social media recently, and I want to take a moment to rail against Twitter. Now, I don’t hate Twitter. It’s a necessary tool for self-promotion, and it helps me follow people that are interesting to me—or who might be useful to me someday, let’s be honest—and hating a tool seems pointless to me. The bus system in Guadalajara is often dangerous, noisy, smelly, downright surreal, but hating it would be a waste of my time. I need it, so I enjoy the ride as best I can. That doesn’t mean that I can’t complain in my own way.
Although I’m still learning to use Twitter, and am certainly not an expert, I do have some opinions on how it can be better utilized, and a few things to avoid. Please feel free to add your own.
- Retweeting is good. When we tweet something interesting, useful, or even funny, it makes the person feel good to know that they have a bigger audience, at least for that one tweet. It might even bring more followers. But please, don’t retweet everything.
- Promotion is fine. For many of us, it’s the main reason for having a Twitter presence. However, reminding me every few minutes that your book is on Amazon, it’s a good read, and oh, look what this person has to say about it is just annoying. The effect you want: my interest in your story. The effect you get: me never wanting to hear from you again.
- #FF. Suggesting people that your Twitter followers might want to follow is a kind gesture. I need to do this more often, to promote people I think are really worth following and to repay those who have done it for me. But please, I beg of you, don’t tell me to follow everybody you know all at once.
- Whimsy is fun. I appreciate the odd out-of-left-field comment that shakes me up for a moment, sure, but a string of nonsensical sentences gets old. “Delicate coke cough syrup aftersmell” is not as clever as you think it is, especially after a couple dozen of similar tweets.
- We want to know how many people we are following and are following us. Our followers really don’t care. Please get rid of that service that announces every day how many people started/stopped following you. That is of no use to me. Twitter already gives you the numbers, and you can check your list to see who all those people are.
- Your thought can be longer than the tweet allows sometimes, I understand. Please make every effort to keep it short, and if it goes over, stop and let your followers know that it will continue with a (cont),
- lest you leave them
- confused, looking through their feed, already filled with so many
- different tweet topics coming through the feed. It is difficult to
- Does consider become do? Layout proof for breakfast, shaking off giant roaches, dancing transsexual…now?
- know when the thought is going to
- The 5th Annual NANO Prize, publication and Otherwise. New blog entry, starting the StoryADay Guides.
- end, or if it already did,
- It’s not me. I guess it’s a dish best served with Durkee’s fried onions and in place for today, not me.
- so don’t do that.
For those of you on Twitter, is there anything you would add to this list?
(This week’s song: Man, It’s So Loud in Here, by They Might Be Giants.)