Twitter for beginners
Twitter. Enabling people to chat rubbish 140 characters at a time.
The last time so much rubbish was written with that many characters was when King James published his version of the Bible, and that led to the majority of the Western world believing in a magic man who lives in the sky.
Yet with as many as 12 million Brits using Twitter, half of whom doing so on a regular basis, there is a still a huge swathe of people that use it badly. It may be passé to refer to it as “Twatter”, but with a large number of twats tweeting twaddle, it seems rather apt.
So, rather than sit here and moan, I thought I’d write the brief (perhaps too brief) A Tweeter’s guide to Tweeting, aka “Twitter for Beginners”.
Let’s start with the basics. You’ll often hear advice like “Be yourself”, “be interesting” and the old favourite “don’t tell everyone what you’re having for breakfast!”.
Ignore it all.
With Twitter, you can be who you want to be. Don’t get me wrong, follow me and you’ll get the everyday Dan, but in a concentrated and sarcastic way. Strictly speaking it’s me being myself, but giving volume to the silent mutterings and asides that are normally merely whispered.
You don’t even have to be interesting. What you find interesting may bore millions of others, but guess what? It may interest just as many too, and you’ll find you end up following those that interest you and vice versa. Tweeting what you’re having for breakfast is fine too.
Personally, I’m more likely to find it interesting if you are having something unusual, or if something weird is happening while you’re eating.
Sometimes people will unfollow you. That’s fine. Don’t take offense. Here’s a secret: You can unfollow them too. And if you want to find out who has unfollowed you, do it. Just don’t then tweet about it.
The website in that example, by the way, doesn’t make you tweet the outcome. He chose to tell everyone that information.
Retweeting praise about yourself is boring and big headed, especially done all the time. Done sparingly - whether due to infrequent compliments or just because you’re a decent person that doesn’t want to bore the Twitterverse - is fine. Let’s be honest, it’s not just the wankers among us that like self-love.
This next one is confusing. Relax, there’s a picture example underneath it. Retweeting somebody who is recommending you as someone to follow means that all you’re doing is telling that very thing to people who follow you already. It’s like Twitter Alzheimer’s. Stop it.
People generally follow companies or products that they like. If you are a company then tap into that market with Twitter promotions and offers. Don’t alienate your audience by retweeting praise about your product.
Lastly, if you want to refer to another tweet, comment and then RT to save me scrolling down my timeline to look for your “last retweet”. No pictures for this one, but trust me, in a fast-flowing timeline, it makes things so much easier for people reading your tweets.
I’m sure there must be plenty more to go here. Any suggestions?