Kurtis’ Disclaimer: Bob misses 73.2% of the time, but this blog post has value 100% of the time. Its a good read to “pick up” and make some of your own professional statements with.
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NO SELF PROMOTION
Nothing will get someone to unfollow you faster than constant links to your appearances online, trying to bolster your brand. We already follow you, we believe in you, we want to bond with you, but when you keep selling to us it’s a turn-off.
NEWS WE CAN USE
First and foremost, Twitter is a news service. Informing your followers is the number one thing you can do. Turn them on to stories that give them insight into popular topics and expand their horizons. You’re a courier, your personal curation skills are your calling card. We’re all hoovering up information, we’re looking to separate the wheat from the chaff, if you come across a brilliant analysis, tweet it, if you stumble upon a story that fleshes out a popular topic, tweet it, we’re following your intellect, your curiosity, more than your shenanigans.
MAKE IT PERSONAL
We want to bond with you. In a cold world of endless messages we want to have friends. Just don’t tweet links, add some spin. Either your opinion or your emotional reaction.
HAVE A PERSONALITY/VIEWPOINT
Those trying to appeal to everybody appeal to nobody. Your edge is your advantage. Don’t worry about alienating some mythical segment of the population, everyone is never gonna follow you, there’s a huge tribe with similar viewpoints if you can just find it.
If you’re tweeting all day it shows you have no life, that you’re trying to become famous, and that’s a turn-off. If you’re at an event, feel free to go on a tweetstorm, as long as it’s informative and not just “look at me!” Otherwise, limit your tweets to four or five a day…certainly fewer than ten. If you’re thinking about your online life, about what you’re going to tweet next, you’re doing it wrong. You should encounter something, whether it be online or in real life, and be so inspired you want to tweet about it.
If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen. There’s someone who’s gonna hate everything you say, if for no other reason than you have followers and they don’t. In an anonymous world, haters just double down. Ignore them. Don’t even bother to unfollow them, that shows they’ve gotten to you.
Sure, post your cat videos, other heartstring-pullers, but know it’s a low, gutter activity, he’s who’s trolling for love is ultimately unlovable, because they don’t love themselves.
Only matter if you’re not trying to rally support. Twitter is very intimate. We want to know what’s going on in your head. If you’re trying to build a movement… That had better be your main goal of being on Twitter. And never forget, further fame for yourself, or furtherance of your artistic career, is not a qualifying movement.
EVERYONE’S A REPORTER
Jammed up in traffic? In the midst of a natural disaster? Tweet about it! Skilled users search for keywords. Forget hashtags, that’s for those looking for fame, a false enterprise. When I’m stuck on the 101 I search that highway and the Hollywood Bowl and I find out what’s slowing me down. As for those too ignorant or unskilled to do this? Forget about them. Online is for those who’ve learned on the fly, who are curious, who want more. Twitter is the land of power users. But you can enjoy the site quite a lot without being one, it’s just a different experience.
Yes, they can utilize Twitter to speak to their flock. But really, other sites are so much better for this. I’d start with Snapchat Stories.
Marc Andreessen gave up Twitter. He tweeted in the triple digits every day. But his business, his VC firm, Andreessen Horowitz, trailed its competitors in returns. He made himself a target, by being an endless expert online. Would the media have gone on attack otherwise? Probably not. And one had to wonder, was this guy working at all, if he was tweeting so much? Live your life in public and people will investigate your activities and try to bring you down. Either realize this and bring yourself down first, or get off Twitter.
Twitter is not Facebook, nor is it Snapchat. Twitter is a news medium. It’s all about information. Facebook has devolved into a sharing site. I went here and did this and look at the picture. It’s about your small community of friends, if you’re doing it to get ahead you’re doing it wrong. Snapchat is one on one and entertainment.
So, if you’re not dispensing news, you’re wasting your time on Twitter. All those people detailing the escapades of their life? They missed the memo. Twitter is turning into a hotbed of trusted sources. Either you’re somebody, or you’re nobody. Everybody should not be tweeting. But if you want to know what’s going on in the world right now, if you want opinions other than those given in the mainstream news, Twitter is the go-to source. It’s gotten a bad name because of its lack of growth, but those who open the app are ADDICTED TO IT! It’s where stories are spread, it’s the town square, it’s where we go straight into candidates’ heads.
If you have a public image, and your success is based on interaction with your acolytes, you should be on the service. It’s where we go to take the temperature, to find out what you’re thinking.
As for what you’re doing… We only care if you’re famous. Which is why so many people dropped out. They found out no one cares they went to the beach or the concert, that information belongs on Facebook.
And Twitter’s biggest problem is telling people who to follow. There are suggestions in the app, but they’re nonsensical. We need a Twitter Top 100, with individual statistics for each listing. The subjects they report on and the number of times they tweet. I don’t care who you are, if you tweet twenty times a day I’m unfollowing, you’re cluttering up my feed. Furthermore, there should be categories and subcategories…news, sports, you name it. Who should I follow for breaking news and who should I follow for analysis? Who do I follow for skiing? I want this information, but it’s so hard to find the right people to follow. As for the timeline… It’s totally comprehensible if you follow the right people and they don’t overtweet. You just scroll through and see what’s happening now. Of course you’re going to miss out on things, but no one is going to catch everything. As for the “While You Were Away” tweets… They need a better algorithm or they can forget about this.
Instant, citizen news is here to stay. It’s just that Twitter was advertised as social network and the story became about its growth or lack thereof. And in the middle we got the live-tweeting blip, as if we all wanted to hear what we all had to say about some fleeting event… Once again, we do want to hear what some knowledgeable people have to say about a live event, everybody else can just keep quiet.
It looks like Twitter will be sold. To a company that believes it’s a business tool. But Twitter is all about news. Either it goes deeper or it’s superseded by a company that has a better interface. Yes, Twitter might not be the last stop, it might be eclipsed just like MySpace, Facebook works so much better. Unfortunately, Twitter is married to its interface and 140 character paradigm. Should we even be getting real time news in an endless scroll? Do the posts have to be this brief? Maybe only a company with a clean sheet of paper can get it right. But right now, if you want to know what’s going on right now, Twitter’s the place.
P.S. I follow the “Washington Post” on Twitter because the “New York Times” tweets too much. And I’ve come to find the “Post” is vastly improved in the Bezos era, although it can sink to the level of linkbait. But the “Post” mostly tweets in a storm, late at night, upon publication time. I’m now used to this. I’m willing to scroll through and see what’s happening at this time. Or not.
P.P.S. Personalities count. I follow Liz Spayd, the new “New York Times” public editor, although I must say I prefer the old public editor better, Margaret Sullivan, who now writes for the “Post.” The “Times” is stuck in an old paradigm, it thinks it’s about the enterprise when we live in an era of stars. I’d like to follow “Times” stars, but so many have exited the paper, like Frank Rich and Nate Silver, because the “Times” wouldn’t accommodate them.
P.P.P.S. Speaking of Nate Silver, he owns the polling dialogue, even if he did get the Republican nomination/Trump phenomenon, wrong. Nate knows to tweet when his topic is hot and shut up when it’s not. Amp it up when there’s a story in your wheelhouse, it’s best to go silent when your area of expertise is dry. Or maybe tweet now and again just to show you’re alive.