My 125,000th tweet: A newbies and oldies guide to Twitter
So, depending on how you count, I’m approaching my 124,995th or 124,989th tweet. Either way, I’m close enough to 125,000 that I can write the celebratory post right now. Last year, I auctioned my 100,000th tweet for charity to benefit the BC Cancer Foundation. This year I wanted to do the same, but unfortunately, I am a bit too talkative and I am literally at 125,000 and didn’t have the time to do a fundraiser.
So, what have I learned in the 4 years I have been on Twitter and what would be my advice for someone new on Twitter (and for anybody who is already on Twitter and considers him/herself a veteran or a social media guru). Here are 6 tips for newbies and not-so-newbies on Twitter. A few people have asked me “how did you get so many thousands of followers” or “what do you say that makes you so interesting?” or “why should I read your blog” (the two latter, recently told to me by someone to whom I answered “you don’t actually have to follow me on Twitter or read my blog – thousands of people CHOOSE to do so, but YOU don’t have to. It’s not mandatory.”. The reality is, I don’t know why so many people choose to follow me, but I’m glad and grateful that they are, because my online community makes me a lot stronger. I have been able to do a lot of good thanks to my online connections (be it 90 or 9,150). Whatever I do, I try to abide by the following 6 guidelines.
1. Be yourself.
Whatever you use Twitter for, use it to tell YOUR story. Twitter is nothing if a social tool. A medium to connect people through distances and spaces that ages ago were considered impossible to reach. I started using Twitter to connect with my friends, and I am still like that. A few of my own friends seem to dislike the Hummingbird604 persona, but the truth is, the Hummingbird604 and I are one and the same. And I love being who I am. Because online and offline, I’m always myself.
2. Be generous.
Retweet other people’s content. Share tips, views, opinions. Enable others to join the conversation. Be gentle and delicate with those who are just starting. Don’t just broadcast your own content, make sure to share other people’s. For a long time, I didn’t want to label myself as a community builder. I still don’t want to do it, but I can see the power that the size of my audience on Twitter can have. So, I try to always be generous. I try to harness my online power for good. I’m sure you can do the same.
3. Have your own style.
Don’t copy anyone. It’s not a good idea. People are able to spot fakes a mile away. Make sure that whatever you do online, it suits your style and your persona. Don’t think that by copying the way other people tweet, or behave online or offline, it will benefit you. Be distinct. I have my own style, and it saddens me when I see other people trying to copy me. Not because I fear anyone copying me, but because that means they haven’t found their own persona. I can tell you something: Your style will shine through once you find it.
4. Eschew drama.
Social media is an amplifier. It can enable good people to do a lot of good, the same way it can enable bad people to do A LOT of bad. Leave the passive aggressive behind. Make sure that your tweets reflect a positive attitude overall (I know there is a lot of angry people who have made that their brand – snarky is not really my brand – I tend to be snarky but trying to be ironic and funny). I have decided to let go of any online criticism. If I’m criticized, so be it. You can eschew drama too.
5. Be conversational and bidirectional.
Sometimes people ask me why I don’t retweet the content of others, when their own audience sizes are also substantial. I don’t support people who behave unilaterally. If you ask me to retweet something of yours and I have noticed in your stream you don’t do the same, you don’t build community, you can be sure as hell I won’t retweet you either. The conversation goes both ways, make sure to keep it that way. I am super busy all the time and I make the time to answer my @ replies. If I can (and my time is incredibly limited), so can you.
6. Lead by example.
If you want to be a social media superstar, make sure that whatever you do, is consistent and reflects your brand in a positive way overall. Be the first one to tweet at someone who is a newbie. Be the first one to follow someone with just a few followers. Encourage other people to be generous by being generous yourself first. I always try to introduce people who are new to Twitter (particularly my students) and encourage others to follow them because I know that I have a sizable audience and that they listen to me. You can do the same, regardless of your audience size.
I am not sure how long I will be on Twitter or what the next big thing in social media will be, but at least I can tell you – I have had and plan to continue to have a lot of fun on Twitter.
- Bid For My 100,000th Tweet (for @BCCancer) #b4hb100k
- On the Twitter 101 for Business guide from Twitter
- Reflections on Twitter, “grow your network organically” and #nofollow
- I don’t care about Oprah’s first tweet.
- Twitter has officially become mainstream – my civilian friends know all about Twitter