Because social media fascinates me with its power to influence people and its global reach, I’ve flown to Twitter. Like everybody else in the Twitter flock, I dutifully got my account going, filled out my profile and uploaded my avatar. Since I didn’t want to be a Twitter twit (try saying that five times fast without fracturing your tongue!), I explored various Twitter channels before jumping in with my own tweets. I noticed that many Twitter users had built their own substantial nests and were busily tweeting away to their followers.
At first glance, Twitter resembled the Tower of Babel. Everybody was saying something, but was anyone listening? And then I began to understand Twitter’s structure. Some Twitterers create meaningful tweets that lead to interesting blogs or websites, thought-provoking news articles or funny videos. Others quote famous people, inform their followers about everyday activities or tweet newsworthy events as they happen. And yes, people were listening and reacting to other people’s tweets.
The more I use Twitter, the more captivated I become. It’s interesting to get a first-hand glimpse inside the minds of people I admire, such as social media experts Mark Ragan, Brian Solis and Chris Brogan, and to learn from them. It’s also fun to know that I can respond to the tweets of famous people such as Richard Branson and Ashton Kutcher (it really IS them on the other end, because they have verified accounts marked by a blue-and-white check mark). Not that I expect any of them to answer — they get hundreds of tweets in a day — but it’s entertaining to think that they might read my humble tweet one day.
I’m slowly building my own group of followers, which is exciting. But I’m careful to obey some of the Twitter basics, too:
1) Create compelling and original tweets. (And don’t forget to spell correctly to retain your credibility!)
2) When you can, point others toward useful content that could be helpful to them.
3) Be friendly and sociable in your replies to other Twitterers (rather like blogging!), and followers will gradually fly in.
4) Go easy on the self-promotion.
5) Keep time zones in mind when you send your tweets. To ensure that the maximum number of domestic and international eyeballs see your tweets, send your tweets at times when people are getting off from work, taking their lunch breaks or getting up in the morning.
I think social media sites, and especially Twitter, provide a great challenge to a writer’s skill. Because social media sites are seen globally, writers are now held to higher standards of perfection than ever before to retain the respect of their readers. And with Twitter, a writer’s thoughts are condensed to tweets of 100 to 140 characters, which is equally challenging. But that’s okay by me because I love challenges anyway.
Readers, what do you feel is the most fun thing about Twitter? Do tell.