tweet me a river…

While i’m in the mood to explain things (see last post for Tips on Starting a Blog), here’s my take on Twitter. I joined it on March 14th (i think), and i enjoy it.

Twitter is not a chat room though it might seem like one. It’s like a river of words running past, or a big party/coffee shop/dinner party going on, and you’re there. Unless someone ‘protects updates’ (so you can’t see their Tweets), you can see anyone’s words in the Tweetstream, if you know their Twitter username.

When you join Twitter, they offer you some selected celebs and interesting folk to start your list. You can always access Twitter’s ‘Suggested Tweeters’ list using the Find People link later, but check some boxes and move on.

You can also UnFollow people – i’ve at various times added Al Gore, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, and Australian politicians, then removed them – they didn’t amuse meh. Oh – and you can block. I have Oprah on Block. Yeah, it’s an empty gesture, but i enjoy it.

Once you’ve seen the front page, click on Settings, and put up a pic -some kind of avatar. People don’t mind  you having a pic of something non-human, someone famous, (providing you’re not pretending to be the ‘real’ famous person), or a caricature, long as you have something they can recognise you by. Don’t put pics that will make people sick. (I”ve unfollowed 3 people because of stupid pics.) Put in a link to your website if you have one. If you’re with wordpress, don’t forget to put the http:// before your site name.

Once you catch your breath, you can experiment with new Twitter backgrounds, changing your text colours (there’s a reset button, you can always switch it all back), and as you look at other people’s Twitter pages, you’ll see the possibilities, and also the mistakes people can make.

Save your changes, and look at the front page again (click Home or Twitter). Click on someone’s name, look at their Twitter page, with their updates, and a button to click if you want more. It’s easy to unFollow someone. Two clicks under their pic.

The way Following works – unless i’m following you back, if you follow me then you see my updates, i don’t see yours, unless you put an @ in front of stinginthetail, or use the Reply option on the post, and say something to me. I may still miss it. It may be a day before i spot it, (though it’s easy enough to miss a post), and either, smile, frown, laugh, think, roll my eyes, and/or maybe, decide to answer you. Sometimes, there’s no need. (It’s not a chat room, remember?)

I like to acknowledge people, but i’ll also  ReTweet – this also shows you i saw you. I RT if your post is good in my opinion – but don’t forget, if i can’t reduce it to 140 characters including your username, it won’t get RT’ed.

stinginthetail RT @pressdarling How do you cure #swineflu? WITH OINKMENT!

Everyone knows, it’s not my post, it’s his, and i’m just sharing something. Sometimes, people will thank you for the RT, but not always – it’s not required but can be the polite thing to do. EDIT : to make it clear. I thank people who RT my blog posts – it’s not necessary to thank people for just RT’ing a funny/interesting tweet of yours. However, businesses thank people for every business RT.

Here we are at your first post – usually people say, well here i am on twitter, or is this thing on? or words to that effect. And you click that Update button. Your words are in the Tweetstream.Usually, you wish you’d said something else.

Meanwhile on Twitter, someone’s picked up the ReTweet post i did. I got a credit too, which is nice, you don’t always – when this happens, people (who don’t follow me, so can’t see me) get to see and they may follow.

SolidAltar RT @stinginthetail: RT @pressdarling How do you cure #swineflu? WITH OINKMENT!

You begin to learn a lot about marketing, particularly MLM (multilevel marketing), and PR. Quite by accident. Lots of marketing people have trends they follow – if you say words like sex, marketing, PR, MLM, or even beer – someone will click Follow on your profile to sell you something. Oh – try not to say God. Or religion.

When you finally get the courage up to talk to someone, don’t expect people to answer, to laugh at your jokes, to reply right away (if at all), if you laugh at theirs, or to Follow you back just because you follow them, send a post, or RT one of theirs. However, it does happen, a famous person tweeted back at me.

I nearly fell off my chair, secure as i’d been in the knowledge that by tweeting at celebrities, the rightfully famous, and the wannabes, i’d never be noticed. I managed to stammer something back, as it was a serious discussion subject.

That was it, so far (i talk to lots of others, just not him lately) – i haven’t had anything to say to him. Tweeting at people – when you don’t have anything to say, or you don’t show any signs of having been following their tweets, or have decided to sell them something – will get you blocked.

The more used to Twitter you get, the longer it’s likely to take you to start following people back. I decide like this. I see i have  more followers (i have my email set up to let me know – you can stop these reminders, but i find them useful, as i don’t have to read them, i just delete them unread), and look at their Twitter page. Nothing there? Do they have a website?

Do they Tweet? If they’re not talking, unless their site’s something i like a lot, i don’t refollow. Likewise, if all they do is crack jokes, and don’t engage with their followers, i’m not really interested either, no matter how funny they are – i’m not into ego-feeding on that level.

You can see if they talk back simply by clicking on their name – are any of their Tweets marked ‘in reply to’ with another person’s @username in it? This function is good, click the link, see what’s being replied to. Are any of their @ posts answered? I like to open all links in new windows/tabs, so i don’t lose the original person i was interested in. If you like what you see, click Follow.

If all of their posts are RT’s, likewise, you may find them interesting, to help you branch out into following new people, but it may get boring if that’s all they do. A lot of Twitter is posting off-Twitter links – people who send me to marketing sites get unfollowed fast. (Not all marketing people are incapable of interaction. Some are just like normal people.)

Before you know what’s happening, you’ll have lots you follow, and some who follow you back. Some people Follow everyone back, and instead of looking at the Twitter home page, use various searches (and separate programs) to filter the Tweetstream. Twitter’s just brought in their own version of this – with searches on the front page, trending topics, and hashtags # – which is another way of showing a topic.

You can’t force Twitter to pay attention to you. Usually, don’t RT yourself. I tend to unfollow those who retweet their own quips or post the same post over and over. However, if someone’s in a band, say, i don’t mind them RT’ing themselves to promote the band – i’ll even RT to help out.

I tweet that i’ve done a new blog post. If i do it late at night, i’ll do another in the morning – which covers most timezones. I need to cater to Australian and USA waking hours – they’re more than 2/3 of my blog visitors and my Tweetstream. I warn my followers if it’s a blog post i’ve promoted before, “this is the one about nipples” say, so they should remember if they’ve read it.

On the main page, other options on the menu are @stinginthetail which shows me tweets using my name – when i remember to look. Next is Direct Messages which shows me my DM’s – Twitter’s version of the private message. You can only DM someone who is following you.

Then Favorites, which shows you posts you’ve clicked the Favorite link on – (i don’t use this much so far, but it adds to their popularity). All posts have Favorite and Reply links – and your own posts will also have a Trash button. You can delete, but someone’s already seen it. I’ve never deleted a post. I figure bad typos, and things which in hindsight are stupid, are par for the course and let it stand. Someone may already be RT’ing it.

If you have a business name, or want to get your own name, then join now, you don’t have to use it yet. Watch the Twitterverse flow, follow links to other people, the web, and find more people to Follow.

You’ll find a person who laughs at a joke you make, or says, hey, i do know where you can find one of those. You’ll make friends and what i call VA’s – Valued Acquaintances. These are people who i ‘know’ but am not close to. They may retweet my funnies, be part of a crowd I follow many of, but may have never talked much, corresponded privately, etc.

Amongst them are people who don’t follow me back and have never shown any signs of noticing i exist. I’ve cracked jokes/been helpful/said something cool @ them, they’ve ignored me- even if other people have retweeted. They’re not my mates in any way, shape, or form. I’m just stalking them. I’m hanging around them at the ‘party’ and listening. They don’t hate me, they just don’t want to follow me.

I mentioned, Twitter’s not a chat room. You don’t tend to get the unending streams of helloes and goodbyes – in fact, anyone who does this much is a quick Unfollow.

Once you get more than a few followers, you’ll start thinking, omg, i can’t keep track, who are these people  -are any of them following me? Who’s following me who i haven’t followed back that i might like to?

I recommend Twitter Karma – easy-to-use site that makes it easy to see all Followers on one page, and Unfollow or Follow, just by checking a few boxes then doing a bulk action. They have a direct ‘sign in with Twitter‘ link (that only Twitter-trusted companies get) but that may be down – this is due to Twitter rejigging their sign-in process to prevent hacking, not because they don’t trust Twitter Karma.

For such a small thing, Twitter takes some explaining.  I’ve cut over 2,200 words down to about 1,800. Arrgh. Next post is going to be back to simple subjects, like world domination, religion, politics, and sex!



About stinginthetail

On Twitter as @stinginthetail. I write as Lee Abrey. Free copy of my top-rated book Polo Shawcross: The Birthday Dragon at View all posts by stinginthetail

3 responses to “tweet me a river…

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