Tuesday, 21 February 2012

My Beginner’s Guide to Twitter 2012

If you are thinking of getting started on Twitter but aren’t sure or have been a user and have a few minutes to spare, just read on.  I’m going to assume here that you know what Twitter is and are thinking about signing up for the first time.  If you don’t know about Twitter I’m going to have to ask where you have been hiding since 2006!

Why Twitter is better 
Trying to be witty, funny or interesting in less than 140 characters is difficult and forces you to be creative instead of waffling on like people do other Social Network (SN) sites.  I find that the more intelligent social creature is very active on Twitter. 

Twitter is normally the first place you hear news flashes, long before the news stations or papers get them so you can be immediately informed on current events even if they are unconfirmed (that can come later).

Twitter feels like a game sometimes, you are constantly on your toes to perform to gain acceptance rather than ‘Friending People ‘ that you don’t really have anything in common with like you would on Facebook.  I like to be challenged and I feel that way every day on Twitter.  

Funny side of things
I heard a funny comparison recently;
Facebook is for friends you know but wish you didn't; Twitter is for strangers you think should be your friends but aren't..

Advice for Twitter Newbies
Upload a picture of yourself for your profile-Spammers normally use the Twitter default egg images and these are frowned upon. Try to use a photo of yourself (not a close up) to let others know you are real. I personally prefer an animated .GIF as I don't like being photographed.

Write a small bio and add where you live – This is vital to engage with the right people and lets other know what you are about and where your interests lie. For your location just use your town or country.

Follow people - Following others is the only way you get noticed initially so follow people who interest you, are similar to you, live in your country etc.  You cannot add everyone you find as Twitter has follower to followee ratio limits in place. Start slow and steady.  Using 'get follower apps' to gain loads of followers quickly is a waste of time as they are not following you because you are interesting.

Tweet everyday – Using the site daily will help you build a following.  Aim for 5-20 tweets daily if you are just a social commentator. Mix up your content to include; funny images, news stories, quotes, youtube videos, retweets etc.  You will get a feel for what others are doing to make themselves more interesting.

Space out your Tweets – Don’t cluster them, space them out every couple of minutes or you will end up annoying someone and then risk being 'unfollowed'.

Retweet good stuff - 'RT' Doing this is seen as compliment and shows a persons tweet as worthy of your followers attention. Spread these out as Timelines full of retweets don't look good at all.

Be interesting and current – Don’t talk nonsense and then expect followers, that’s just ridiculous. Nobody wants to hear about your daily bowel movements!

Engage with people - Try to write intelligent replies to other users tweets so that they can engage with you. Timelines are so fast that most cannot keep up with them so engaging with replies is a great way to get noticed.

A Tweet is forever – Like everything you do on the net, your Tweets are out there forever so don’t say or do anything that will get you fired, prevent you from getting a job or prosecuted by the authorites etc.

Be fun, generous and Kind – These are obvious ones but are often overlooked.  Funny people are easy to follow. Retweeting and mentioning other users tweets is seen as generous and will gain you followers.  Be nice, when you say something unkind or nasty about (or) to someone it can get you into trouble.

Check your followers daily – Report Porn spammers and block people who are obviously trying to redirect you to sites by false pretences. This is vital to keep Twitter free from ‘Bots’ that try to ruin the site.

Read Blogs and articles about Twitter – These will help educate you on Twitter etiquette and teach you the ins and outs that you need to know. 

Think how to Tweet things - Get into the habit of turning everyday things into Tweets. A boring task can be turned into a humorous event within 140 characters. It gets easier after a while.

My current take on Twitter
I have to say that I really enjoy using Twitter now.  I had set up my account over a year ago and then basically abandoned it because I just did not get it at the time. Returning to it sometime later and after spending a few days learning about it I realized that I had not given it a fair shot at all.  I now find that I can’t go too long without checking my account and engaging with people I follow and those that follow me.  

Twitter is totally misunderstood by most people who have never used it.  I hear from those people from time to time and the comments are usually all the same;  “Twitter is for  people talking utter rubbish” “Twitter is full of people updating their daily habits by the minute”  ie: “eating my Corn Flakes, mmmm” “Twitter is full of spammers” etc.  Yes Twitter does have all the above  but so does every other Social Network site out there. To those nay-sayers I say that you do not speak from experience at all and you should try it before you vomit out ignorant comments. Try Twitter today and make up your own mind.

The truth is that some of the most intelligent people I have ever met online have been on Twitter! 

If you want to follow me on Twitter click here

I am not in any way a professional writer as you will probably have guessed if you read his far. I am adding this article based on my own experiences only. If I have missed anything important or have huge grammatical errors then let me know but please be kind if you are adding comments to this article.

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