Twitter Can Be A Tool, But So Can You

Posted by By at 13 January, at 05 : 08 AM Print

Twitter Can Be A Tool, But So Can You

screwdriverI’m fairly certain I am not the only person that hates people selling crap at my door. When people in suits start walking up the driveway or parking outside my house I let out the dogs to keep them away. This is my home, if you want to sell me something then you need to get to know me first.

Twitter is like a home to many individuals in the Internet. Folks visit to socialize, some visit to market themselves and their brands while yet others come to find people with like interests. I have nothing wrong with people pimping their websites, dropping in a link on their 140-character post or otherwise conversing with the work that is social media. Hell, I do it all the time.

But, please, at least try to be somewhat human when socializing on Twitter. Some key turn-offs for me, things that usually get me to NOT follow you on Twitter is filling in the Real Name field with your domain name. You know what? If I want to know your domain I’ll ask. Or, better yet, be subtle and hand me your domain equipped with useful information, pictures or a funny video once you get to know me a bit. I enjoy a direct message saying “hi” and explaining why you started following me so that we can open a dialog and talk.

I socialize on Twitter as I would as an individual at the worlds biggest Internet conference. There are thousands of potential friends, leads, colleagues and associates – how would you handle yourself at a conference? Would you lead off by saying “Hi, I’m Derrick Schommer from EverydayDrinkers.TV, I have a great website that can help you out!” and run off to yet another person and repeat the same promotion?

No. You’d introduce yourself, you’d open a dialog and a line of questioning and, eventually, you may drop your website and a bit about your job. You may even lead off with a business card and then sit down and socialize to see what you and the recipient(s) have in common. You may find you have a lot in common and could work with each other to some common goal. Observe how you handled yourself, you were personal and friendly all while treating the other person as an individual sentient being.

For instance, I’ve followed and “friended” many folks that run drinking websites, reviews and wine blogs. Why? I love wine, I like to read, I like to drink and I’ve got something in common with them. If I’m nice enough they may even tolerate when I tweet my latest video podcast episodes on a weekly basis because they know I’m a human with a life, problems and have gotten to know me over a few “tweets.”

If you simply want to follow me in hopes I’ll follow you back so you can spam me with diet pills, SEO benefits, lines of haircare products and everything else under the sun you’ll probably notice you’ve got very few followers. Nine times out of ten, if a twitter user is following 5,000 people and only 25 have followed them back there is a reason.

Some helpful tips I’ve learned from observing and growing my own small social network of friends:

  • Be friendly and helpful. If a follower asks you to check something out, give them a few minutes and do it then send them back your thoughts.
  • Be a good Internet citizen and be approachable and friendly as you would in real life. Twitter can be a tool but so can you.
  • Post daily updates that can be useful or silly. Ponder a thought and send out a tweet with no other agenda.
  • Post links to other people’s sites, perhaps those that are following you to share the love. It’s a back and forth relationship – it’s not all about you.
  • Follow people you find have interesting things to say, don’t follow every single person just because the Twitter allows it.
  • Pimp your site on occasion but be modest, ask for comments/suggestions on how you could make it better.
  • Don’t be annoying, if you post every five minutes all day you’re going to lose followers (or at least me). Just because you don’t have anything to do doesn’t mean I don’t.
  • Use your real name or at least something that people think is your real name. We want to interact with people, not domains. Put your domain in the “more info URL” because, if I want more info I’ll go there, don’t force it on me.
  • PR people can be cool too. Lot’s of great PR folks are using twitter as a useful resource, such as Flying Dog Brewery, Comcast and Popcap Games. Many of them understand how to use the product the right way. Sometimes you can get to exclusive or less well known social events, parties and, if you’re lucky, free beer.

And, remember, you don’t have to have 20,000 followers to be a nice person. You probably have more useful information than some of the top-tier internet personalities anyway. Telling 20,000 people you had a steak and cheese for lunch is just darn silly.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be a good post if I didn’t ask for you to follow me on twitter:

That’s my shameless plug, but at least I gave you about 830 words before I pimped myself.

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content, etiquette, ramblings, social networks

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One Comment

  1. Nicely written! (And the title is perfect.)

    Krud, 11 years ago

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