I Think You’re Wrong

by

Marc,

photo2You know I love you more than my luggage, but I think you’re wrong, wrong, wrong about Twitter. I can see your point.  It does seem silly and tedious.  But once you dive in and get going, it really is quite cool. I’ve been a user since July (thank you BlogHer!) and just recently started to use heavily. If I make it sound like a drug addiction, that’s because it kind of is. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

It takes work – Twitter isn’t a one-way thing.  You can’t go on there, start following a few friends and then expect thousands of people to begin conversing with you.  You have to work at it.  You have to be engaged with others.  It’s like relationships in the “real” world, you can’t expect people you just meet to want to be your friend.  You have to charm them, bring them into your fold, show that you have things in common.  The fastest way to make friends?  Make them laugh.  A targeted joke or barb sent directly to one person can go a long way.  Also, reply to people.  If they’re asking a question and you have the answer, give it!  However, don’t reply just to reply.  Make sure you’re adding something to the discourse, otherwise it’s a waste of effort.

Some people suck – Just like in the “real” world, some people aren’t worth having a relationship with. Remember that creepy guy I went out with who owned the cleaning company?  Right.  I went out with him for a couple reasons; 1) He asked at a time when I was free  2) He OWNED the company. 3) He seemed to like me A LOT and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.  All bad reasons! My spidey senses went off the moment he walked in the room, but I ignored them.  Never ignore your spidey senses!  That’s why we have them. People on twitter are the same.  If someone seems off, they probably are.  Too needy? Unfollow.  Too boring? Unfollow.  Too loud? Unfollow.  You get it.  Don’t be afraid to unfollow someone who sucks and don’t ever keep people around just because they follow you.  If they dump you too, so be it. You’ll make more friends.  

Look for new “tweeps” – Following your real-life friends is fine.  More than fine, actually!  You always know what they’re up to and it gives you a quick lifeline to them if you need it.  Plus if you are actually friends with them, it means you probably already like them.  No vetting to do. With that said, I think the most important thing to do on twitter is find new people.  Look at the most engaging people you follow, see who they track and follow them too.  Look at @replies from your top friends.  Are there people they are consistently replying to?  There is probably a reason.  Go 4,5,6 degrees of separation away and see what you find.  Some of my best tweeps are ones I found that way.

Make it your own – Use twitter however you feel most comfortable.  You don’t have to be like the next guy.  Some people use it as a clearing for really great links and blogs.  Some have it as a way to make personal commentary about their lives.  Some post photos exclusively.  Some like to crack jokes and mock people.  Which is right?  All of the above.  You know my personal motto? “Like it, love it or don’t look.” Same applies on twitter.  If people don’t like what you’re up to, they will do something about it and that’s OK.  

Network! – Twitter is a social tool.  Just because you’re doing it from your computer (or phone) doesn’t mean the connections can’t be real.  I recently attended a conference for work and at least 25 people I “knew” from twitter where there.  I was instantly at ease with everyone because we had already built up a rapport online (also: drinks were involved).  Look for people in your industry.  You never know, your twitter friends might be great contacts to have for business. The same goes for personal contacts.  I’ve met countless people on the road that I’ve only had short encounters with, but thought, “I wish we were friends”. Now we are…over twitter. 

Marc, I don’t know if any of this helps or I’ve changed your mind, but I think your twitter potential is extraordinary if you really give it a try.  

XO 

Jamie or @jamield

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