Though often useful, Twitter can be a strange place. For instance, I just discovered I’ve been blocked by a user who retweeted me. That was odd because I’ve never had a nasty exchange with them. What did I do? That bothered me for a few seconds.
No, that’s a lie.
It bothered me for about a minute. I hate a mystery, so I googled the user who blocked me and checked out their website. Into the second minute of cyber stalking I realized I was acting like a guy who should be blocked. I let it go and I’ll never know what terrible thing I did. (Cries into pillow, wipes tears, big breath…)
Besides, I was breaking my prime directive about Twitter. Twitter is for in-between times. It’s not a primary activity. Writing books is what I do. Everything else — bathing, childcare, self-respect — is secondary.
Tweet when you can’t do something more productive and keep it fun.
Here are ten more Twitter productivity tips:
1. I look at a lot of Twitter profiles. If the avatar is just an egg, I don’t follow back. The default avatar suggests a spam account or a lack of care or effort.
2. If, in an attempt to be humorous, the profile description sounds aggressively mean, I don’t follow back. Why people do that is a mystery. It can’t be that effective, can it? Is that how mean people gather into rage storms across the Internet? (But don’t be too bland, either. Gimme some salt and sugar, please.)
3. If a Twitter profile says your name and then simply, “Author”? I don’t follow back.
I don’t think that’s enough effort even if you’re a really famous author. At least tell me your genre because readers don’t read everything. Add to your description so I have an idea what I’m getting into.
4. When I decide to follow someone, I’ll often look through their Twitter feed first. I want to get some sense of the user’s personality and interests or at least see if they tweet and retweet useful information. Don’t follow back too randomly. What use to me is a huge following of cement mixer companies?
5. When I follow on Twitter, I don’t send DMs.
It’s not that I really see anything wrong with direct messages. Some people think direct messages to new followers are impolite or spammy. I don’t think they have to be. (You followed, after all. That implies a little bit of buy-in to me.) However, I don’t send DMs for a more practical reason: They rarely add value and my feed is overwhelmed with direct messages. It’s a time management thing and really, there are very few diamonds glittering under the outhouse.
6. Instead of sending a direct message to new followers, I generally try to retweet something from their feed. I’m looking for the helpful or humorous. If I see that and retweet it, that’s a way of acknowledging them without sending a generic direct message.
7. The favorite button is another way of acknowledging new and old followers. I used to think I’d use the favorite button as a reference to come back to the link. That doesn’t happen. I either read the link immediately or it’s somewhere far back in the rearview mirror. For time management purposes, I guess that’s best. I use it as a “like” button on Facebook.
8. Don’t just read your notifications feed looking for mentions of the magic that is you. You won’t get information or engagement that way. Just like a dinner party, if you are only interested in you, you’ll live alone in that fascination.
9. Don’t expect an acknowledgement for every retweet.
I read a rant from one Twitter user who got angry because she expected a thank you for each retweet. I’m generous with retweets of good material because I want to curate good stuff for my followers. Too many people retweet me for me to be able to thank them all individually. There are only so many hours in the day. (I do try to retweet or say thanks for devoted retweeters, but Twitter is a fast-paced assault of information so let’s not be too precious about it.) Share generously.
10. Don’t just curate good stuff. Generate sometimes, too. If I’m following you, it’s because I’m hoping you’re awesome. Let us get to know you. If you put out a decent amount of good information and make a few jokes, followers may even forgive you for the occasional plea to “Buy my book.” Just don’t use those exact words.
I use Manageflitter.com to manage Twitter, delete fake followers and delete those who don’t follow back.
If you want to follow me, I’m @rchazzchute. That’d be nice…assuming you don’t sell cement mixers.