@Robin_Weeks--haha I can't believe you said that!
Will only broadcast to your followers who also follow me.
.@Robin_Weeks--haha I can't believe you said that!
Will broadcast to everyone who follows you.
Did you know that? Well, I didn't before I read Nathan's post. :)
Anyway, I just have a few tips for using Twitter that have really helped me enjoy it and make the most of my time there. If you've been using Twitter for any length of time, you might know these tips already. If not, read on.
On Getting and Keeping Followers
There are these incredible apps you can use to generate thousands of followers fast. They work on the "follow back" premise--that most people you follow will automatically follow you back. These engines will search out people with similar interests and follow them. Then you can just unfollow those who don't follow you, so your following/followers numbers don't get too pathetic. I've seen accounts with literally tens of thousands of followers and they've only tweeted a few hundred times. These accounts and the engines which drive followers to them are also known as SPAM. They must constantly switch techniques to avoid getting shut down by Twitter. They are not interesting and they do not add to the conversation. They are interested in the numbers, not in talking to me. DO NOT DO THIS.
Instead (wait for it)--just follow people you like. Authors, writers, librarians, rock stars you can't help but like. The famous people probably won't follow back unless you actually know them in real life. But really, we don't usually follow famous people because we want them to talk to us (though that is awesome when it happens) or because we think they'll enjoy reading our own Twitter feed (though we can dream). We follow some people because we're voyeurs. We want to see what they say.
Most of the people we follow, though, will want to follow us, too, if we really do have common interests. If they don't follow back automatically, try saying hello. Reply to one of their tweets. Start up a conversation (TWITTER'S MAIN PURPOSE IS TO HAVE A CONVERSATION).
When I first started out, I scoured my friends' twitter friends and followed the ones I also thought were interesting. Today, I'm following almost 400 more people than I have followers. And that's okay.
- Auto-Direct-Message new followers with a link to your blog or an impersonal welcome message. That's extremely annoying and some people will unfollow you just for that. They followed you because they thought you were unique or interesting... now they know you're not.
- Dump people who don't follow back. Did you follow them to increase your numbers or did you follow them because you thought they were interesting? Are they less interesting because they take a few days to decide if they want to follow you? Nothing is more annoying than getting a new follower notice, then, a few days later when I have time to see who they are, find that they're not following me anymore.
- Worry about who is following you. Just don't. You'll give yourself a complex and that's not interesting.
- Exclusively use your feed to plug your books, or your blog, or your whatever-else-it-is. That's like asking people to sign up to watch a commercial. Would YOU volunteer to watch commercials? You'll want to plug your stuff, of course, but use care. Twitter shows the most recent three tweets to most people who click on your profile name. If all three are about what they can purchase from you, they'll run away. Make sure at least one (better if it's two) of your last three tweets is something real. A witty observation. A book recommendation (not yours, not a good friend's, just a book you really enjoyed). Something to prove you're a real person and not a spam-bot.
If you haven't experienced the joys of lists, do yourself a favor and start now. Following 1500+ people gets to be a lot like trying to pick gems out of a rushing river. Lists help filter the river down to a very manageable stream. You don't have to make your list public. No one has to know who is on what list--or even that you HAVE lists.
That said, I have a couple private lists that I urge you to create for yourselves:
- Favorite Writer People: These are the people in the writing world whose tweets I don't want to miss. They aren't the thousand people who I followed because they're writers or because I stumbled on their blog. These are people I regularly talk to, or who I've found tweet things that make me laugh. People I'd love to be friends with in real life. I'm VERY selective about who goes in this list so that I don't have to be selective about who I follow.
- Favorite Writers: These people I'd still love to be friends with, but I follow them because I love their books. If they never follow me back or even reply to me, that's okay. I just like to know what they're up to.
This is a program you download to your computer that holds all your lists, your contacts, and your direct messages for you. You get to have your lists side-by-side with your regular stream, DM's, and you get to pick which ones are on which screen. You can even have a column with a favorite hashtag, like #YALitChat or #askagent.
That's all for now. Do you have any favorite Twitter Tips you want to share? What bothers you about Twitter (or about the Tweeps on Twitter)? Do you use it or are you still resisting?