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3 ways that I think you are using Twitter wrong

The way the people tweet can reveal a lot about their personalities. For me, it has been very good. I almost never have trouble talking with people because I treat people like I’d want to be treated.

For some people Twitter isn’t good because it reveals character flaws. There are definitely some creators whose use of Twitter has actively hurt their careers. Unfortunately, they aren’t the ones who would read a post about Twitter, but I felt the need to write this anyway because there may be people who want to know. (To learn how to use Twitter the right way, click to How to Use Twitter to Promote Your Comic Without Inadvertently Looking Like an Ungrateful Jerk and 10 tips to get a lot of quality followers on twitter.

Here are 3 ways that I think you are using Twitter wrong:

1. Don’t follow many people back:

See this follow ratio?

I’ll give you the possible English translations:

– “I am already making all the money I would ever need or want. My career is never going to get better than this, so other people don’t matter that much to me.”

– “I really hate people, so don’t bother trying to talk to me. I’m probably difficult to work with, too.”

– “Go away.”

Twitter is a social networking tool. The key word there is “Networking”. The image that you see above isn’t networking. It’s like going to a party and locking yourself in a room with a few people. A crappy follow ratio signals to people that you aren’t there to network. I often go around Twitter and follow new people who seem fun. if I see a ratio like that I just keep moving.

I have to wonder why these type of people are even on Twitter. It makes sense if you have a locked/protected account and are using it just with your friends, but I’m not talking about that here. I am talking about public accounts run by creators who are ostensibly there to expand their audience.

Following people back allows people to send you Direct Messages. Sometimes even people I work with don’t follow me back. Coincidentally, many of them also suck at replying to email. I get really frustrated when I have to resort to publicly tweeting information that should be kept private at them because they are too herpa derp to follow me back so I can at least reach them there. If you are needing to sort your personal friends out for easy reading, you can use the Twitter “lists” feature. Or just sack up like I do. I have close to 3000 people I follow – I interact with every single one of them. If Neil Gaiman with like a million followers can reply to many of them, you can at least follow some people.

2. Don’t reply to or start a conversation with anyone you don’t already know:

Same as above – if I send a tweet to someone and they never absolutely ever reply to me, I start to ignore them and assume they just followed me to inflate their numbers or I drop them. It’s the same as real life. If people take the time to reach out to you and you just stare at them without a reply, people are going to assume you aren’t there to talk and leave.

3. Tweet only about yourself:

Twitter is not an RSS feed of your blog’s posts. We have RSS feeds to be RSS feeds. Twitter is more like a universal chat room that lets your readers get to know you as a person. Just like real life (again) if you go to a party and only talk about yourself, people will think you are a pompous ass and leave.

I personally look at Twitter as a great way to meet new people. I just treat people like I’d want to be treated and grant them the same politeness I would in real life. So far, it’s worked for me and even helped me found and run an entire convention.

6 Comments on “3 ways that I think you are using Twitter wrong

  1. Hmmm… I don’t use RSS feed and I follow some bloggers on Twitter. I am actually glad when they tweet that they have published a new post and add a link, so that I don’t miss anything… :)
    But I agree to the rest – I don’t like people who don’t follow back.

  2. I am so tired of people whining about those who don’t “follow back”.

    I use Twitter to follow accounts that I find interesting; news, tech, humour, and a few celebs. I couldn’t care less if they follow back.

    If someone follows me, I assume that they find me interesting. I’ll check out their tweets, and if I find them interesting as well, I’ll follow them; if I don’t, I won’t. Following me does not mean that I HAVE to automatically follow you.

    And looking at follower/following numbers only when deciding who to follow is just stupid. Personally, when I see someone following 100s, or even 1000s of people, that’s a turn-off. That tells me that they only follow people because they think they have to. That person following me would be pointless, anything I tweet would be lost in the 1000s of tweets they get in their timeline everyday.

    I will only follow those who I find interesting, because I read EVERY tweet that comes up in my timeline. And I refuse to succumb to this childish “I-followed-you-so-you-have-to-follow-me-back” mentality. If you want people to follow you, BE INTERESTING! Whining isn’t going to do the trick.

    1. A key phrase in this post is, “accounts run by creators who are ostensibly there to expand their audience.”

      You aren’t wrong for your purposes if you are just doing whatever, but like I said above, in my case the purpose is to network. In that case it’s always better for me to reach out, just like I would at a party. If you aren’t concerned about networking, then my philosophy doesn’t apply to you. On a personal level, I don’t care if people follow me back or not, but I do care about interaction in cases within my industry.

  3. I agree. Seeing that kind of ratio is a turn off, but here is the other side of that equation is that everything you read on building a twitter audience says to keep the following ratios low in comparison to the follow numbers. Maybe some people are just taking it too far. It’s good you pointed it out!

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