Monday, May 23, 2011

A Not So Delusional Guide to Twitter

I have read so many posts on how to get on Twitter and get connected, many of them offer fantastic advice and yet some of them keep reiterating how it is all about following.  Follow one person, and then see who they follow, and then follow them, and soon you will be following so many people you will feel like the most popular kid in the school.  Except you don't.  Instead you feel like the kid who came to prom only to take pictures of all the cool people there.  So I offer up these tips instead for those trying to figure out Twitter.

  1. Follow one person, or even 10 but then stop.  Let yourself process what Twitter is and how these people are using the tool.  Don't mass follow, you will find enough people to follow, just take your time.
  2. Connect.  Once you have a couple of people you follow, reach out to them.  Tell them you are new, tell them your story, and comment on their blogs.  Open up about yourself, start a conversation, and give them a reason to connect back.
  3. Don't give up.  Sometimes I felt like the biggest loser when it came to Twitter; no one thought I was witty, no one rt'ed my posts, until I realized that this is not what Twitter is about.  Twitter is about the connections (I know, I sound like a broken record) so it is not about the retweets or single comments but the dialogue you get involved in and the people you meet.
  4. Who cares about Klout?  I didn't realize I had a klout number until my husband asked me what it was.  Then I had to look it up because that little number meant nothing to me; it still doesn't.  If you are asking whether Twitter is worth your time you probably haven't connected with the right people, so keep connecting.
  5. Don't worry about the popular kids.  One thing for ongoing discussion has been the grades of popularity Twitter educators seem to have.  Sure there are people with massive followings, but guess what?  They are normal people and they probably have that many followers because they say some really great things and they are good at connecting with others.  It is okay to reach out to them as well, no one is off limits.
So there you have it, my small piece of advice on how to get something out of Twitter.  Of course, you can follow as many people as you want, but think about what your true goal is: numbers or connections?  I for one count my connections just as much as I count my blessings.

6 comments:

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

Thanks for the reminder on this one. I think you hit the nail on the head by saying, "no one is off limits". There are great people on twitter and I have yet to be turned away or shunned. These are real people that are on here because they like to share and connect. Cheers!

Mr. Francik/@kyfrancik said...

I couldn't agree more. I started off pretty uninvolved in my first couple of weeks on Twitter. Now that I have been participating in Twitter for a few months, I frequently comment and take part in chats. I enjoy the interplay and find colleagues who are open and willing to engage. Like Josh, I haven't had any personal negative experience so far.

Mary-Lynn Wilcox said...

Thanks for your emphasis on building "relationships". Currently I'm a tech learner who has been getting a ton of awesome information and ideas by following but not really getting involved. Time to move in that direction. Thanks for the push!
:)
M-LW

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Nice informative article.

Teach42 said...

I like most of your suggestions, but I disagree about mass-following. I believe most people should start off following about 100-200 people. Why? Because a certain percentage of those people WILL follow back. And then when you say something, there's a better chance that someone will see/hear it. If you follow ten people, you have almost zero chance of anyone else seeing your tweets when you post something. There needs to be a critical mass of friend/follow before you have any chance of having conversations that aren't direct messages or specifically targeted replies.

That said though, love the rest of your suggestions. In particular, that 'nobody is off limits'. The vast majority of the people I follow nowadays are the people that send messages to me and actually converse with me. I don't auto-follow at all. But if someone makes a personal connection, I'm in.

Mrs Ripp aka 4thGrdTeach said...

Hi Steve,
Thanks for your comment, I do see some merit in your idea to follow more people as you then can connect more easily with one or two of them. I just found from my own experience that once I followed that many, I couldn't keep track of who I connected with and who I didn't. There are still people that pop up in my home feed that I don't even remember following. So perhaps my advice on just 10 people should be expanded to whatever you feel comfortable with, my point was, you don't need to follow a lot of people for Twitter to be effective.
Thanks again.

Pernille

 

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