Sunday, 16 September 2012

My first week on Twitter - A survival story

I did it. After resisting for years, I am finally on Twitter. I now tweet. I now retweet. I @mention. I do #followfridays. I am now completely and utterly addicted. Oh dear.

Okay, so I only have 26 followers (Oh...make that 27!) so far, but it's a start! And it is have the up-to-the-minute thoughts from heads like Stephen Fry. I get it now. I totally get it.

So why did I stay away for so long? My list of excuses went something like this:
"I don't have a's just so difficult to check them on a computer."
"I don't get how it works! Who's tweets am I looking at? Why are someone else's showing up in that feed!? Help!"
"Only people with constant, interesting thoughts use Twitter."
"Only people with constant, boring, irritating thoughts use Twitter."
"Who wants to hear about what I had for breakfast anyway?!"
"I don't know anyone on Twitter! Who will follow me? I'll look like such a loser..."

You get the idea. But in the end, of course it didn't take long to figure out how it worked. I just got started, and it went from there.

1. Set up account. Uploaded picture. Pretty simple. Phew.
2. Found one person I knew, clicked 'follow' and held on for dear life. Nothing bad happened.
3. Looked at people I was a fan of and found out who they followed and/or followed them. Stole them.

And then...someone I didn't know started following me. And then someone else. So I followed them (after checking to make sure they weren't some crazy sex-ad spam bot of course). And then some of their followers followed me. Wow. REAL LIVE TWITTER FOLLOWERS. And I was hooked.

A few things I've learned so far...

@ Mentions

  • They seem to work like links, i.e. you can click on them to see that person's profile
  • They work as a sort of tweet delivery system if put right at the front of the tweet, e.g. @YourName Hi there!
  • They make a tweet visible to others if you're following the person @mentioned. I think. Still puzzling that one out.

#ff #FF #followfriday
I found this fascinating (okay, enough 'f''s!). A totally viral way of doing a 'shoutout' to others to recommend they follow someone you're following. Apparently it's expanding from just Fridays to Thursday nights and Saturday mornings. Human beings really are attracted to ritual, and this is steadily becoming a Twitter tradition.

What NOT to do
  • Have every tweet be yet another ad for your book/blog/facebook page. Please...please just stop. Are you a real person? Is anyone actually in there? Are you so, so important that all you can do is spam me?
  • Schedule tweets with a tweet service. Again, I want to feel I'm following a human being, and when you tweet every 15 min right through the night I know you're off having a great time doing something other than paying attention to your followers! Shame on you.
  • Only ever talk about yourself in real time and never share anything of your own or of others. I have my own stream of consciousness to contend with let alone adding yours thank you!

There are some really cool people on Twitter!
I had no idea there were so many other writers out there. All reading, all writing, all talking to each other. It's fantastic, and I am meeting people already I would never have stumbled across on any other network.

So if you aren't already, why not follow me? I promise not to spam you. I promise to be a human being. I will do my very best to not be completely and utterly boring.


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