Dear All New People on Twitter,
First of all, I can’t believe people are still new here. But that’s only because I’ve been at this for a couple of years. And if you think that sounds like a long time, it’s not as long as most of the people I follow here. I still consider myself something of a rookie because of them, however (and they do too).
Anyway, welcome. I wanted to take a few moments to give you some insider info that may or may not help you as you make your way here. I’ll put these in a numbered list so it’s easier to follow along. Because, if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about what people tweet here, it’s that links with numbered lists are extremely popular.
1) Don’t fall for the numbered lists. Just because someone tweets the link to Five Steps to Social Media Awesomeness – don’t believe it. This is one you’ll have to learn for yourself, but it’s been my experience that 99% of all links with numbers in them suck. Basically people don’t know how to write, so they partition things in ways that they think you’ll think it’s easier to understand. It’s a trap. Numbered lists are really just easier to write and publish. There’s nothing magical about lists. And you’ll see that most of them are just the same old blather repeated over and over ad nauseum.
2) Don’t listen to the experts. They all want you to think that they’re the ones you should listen to. Sorry to break this to you, but the loudest people here are selling shit. They’re either selling books, static ideologies or numbered lists to pump up the ad revenue on their blogs. Sure, they might fly around the world to speak in front of hundreds of people who were sucked into the idea that the only way they could possibly know how to conduct themselves in social media, in order to make the most money possible, is to attend a conference where one of these gurus tells them things they already know. But anyone who positions themselves as anything like a master, in any capacity, of this evolving space is full of horseshit. That’s right, horseshit. Here’s the thing – when I first got here, no one was a guru. Everyone was kind of these cool, nerdy people who understood the connectivity of 1s and 0s better than they understood global interrelatedness. Then a bunch of advertising people came on board (that’s when I got here), and it was still cool for a while. But after that, the marketing people came. Naturally. And when the marketing people got here, all hell broke loose. The marketers decided that this medium was ripe for making money, and they’d exploit the idea of connectivity to do so. Sure, connectivity is important (they’ll say), but not as important as spinning themselves as experts in this space so that others would ‘follow’ and they’d work the numbers (all of them) in their favor until they’ve reached the proper level of expertness that can get them book deals. Also, most of the people with the gaudy follower numbers and who tweet mundane crap all day PAID A SERVCE TO GET THOSE FOLLOWERS – it’s pure deception. Don’t let these guys deceive you. If you do, you’ll eventually gouge your eyes out. Rather, learn how to identify these people. And when you do, take a long look at who they’re talking about and who they’re linking to, because they tend to travel in groups. You know, like how birds of a feather flock together. They didn’t name it Twitter for nothing.
3) Know how to spot an expert. There are some people who share very important things, some who share very cool things and some who ramble incoherently (guilty). And yes, there are a lot of really great people here who others consider expert, but if you notice a pattern of someone who only tweets things that make them out to be very important (more important than you), unfollow them immediately. And don’t get all caught up in trying to converse with these people either, because that’s exactly what they want you to do. If you talk with them, you’re hooked into their game. Why? Because it feels good to be spoken to by someone who you consider to be cool. You’re cool. Don’t worry about them. Be yourself here, and follow a range of people and styles – but don’t get sucked into the guru’s maelstrom.
4) Be yourself. There are no rules here. You can post pictures, videos, links to your writing. You can curse. You can tell someone you think they’re wrong. You can do whatever the hell you’d like. Just always remember that everything you say here represents you. This is not intended to scare you, but rather as a reminder that no one else can do what you do – you’ll never amount to anything if you go around trying to be someone else you think is cooler than you. Oh forget it, some people have no personality and have to mimic others. Skip this bullet.
5) Be honest. Honesty doesn’t mean having to tell us that you slept with your wife’s sister. Twitter isn’t a confessional. Just tell the truth – there’s a lot less to remember. If you don’t feel like telling the truth, then lie your ass off. In fact, make up a fake personality – it’s a very popular thing to do. And if you’re particularly clever, you may even end up with a lot of followers (if that’s your thing) who aren’t really following you, but rather the fake account. I guess my advice is to do whatever you want. Just don’t bother me with inauthenticity. I like the real. Mostly because that’s what I give.
Most importantly, just remember that this isn’t brain surgery. No one knows any better than you how to conduct yourself in public.
Ok, I’ve run out of things to say. Thanks for reading my words, and welcome to Twitter.
5 CommentsLEAVE A COMMENT
Mar 3, 2011
The crow standing on branch and Moon very powerful image.
Mar 3, 2011
Dig the writing, as always.
Mar 3, 2011
Excellent article, Jim.I noticed that thing about numbered lists. I also noticed that they are often accompanied by adjectives. I don’t feel the “number” of items has any significance, and I don’t feel the adjective is necessary, since you wouldn’t be tweeting about the items if you didn’t think they were worthy of sharing.So I have found that, when retweeting, if I delete the number & delete the adjective, the tweet is improved.E.g., “12 stunning photographs of waterfalls” becomes”photographs of waterfalls”.
Mar 3, 2011
Great article, Jim. I have a split personality on twitter, but am too lazy to monitor two accounts. I send impassioned tweets about politics and then a few about art and artists. Numbered lists are OK. Some researcher said that more people will click on things with numbered lists. I’ve been tempted to try it, but haven’t yet.
Mar 3, 2011
You say expert like it’s a bad thing: and you’re spot on. Newsflash: you’re the expert now. Thx for great words, better advice, and insights and laughs along the way. This is one twitter newbie emulating one of the best. thx.
My novel – Minor King
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