Lessons from Twitter

– From Archived Site – 
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I was a Twitter skeptic.  I admit it.  How could 140 characters possibly convey anything of meaning?  Surely it was all superficial sound bites, designed to entice or inflame, with no real substance to absorb.  How wrong I was.  To say I love Twitter is probably an overstatement, but over the past month or so I have developed a deep appreciation for this surprisingly powerful communication platform.  There is so much I’ve learned from Twitter since re-engaging in October 2016 I thought it might be useful to share some of my key insights to date.  I’m limiting this first post to just five Twitter lessons.  If this first month of engagement is any indication there will be many more “Twitter Lessons” to follow.
  1. Embrace the 140 character limit: Seriously.  Do not fear brevity.  Conquer it!  Having such a limited number of characters to make an impression forces one to seriously evaluate every word, letter, punctuation mark or emoji.  Cut out the extraneous and focus on the essentials, the impactful.  Words to live by, in so many ways.
  2. Have a clear strategy and help will find you in surprising ways: Before I joined I thought a lot about who I wanted to be on Twitter.  I am not using my account for sharing cute animal pics (though I do love those), to collect recipes, or comment on society/pop culture.  I also don’t use Twitter to keep up with my personal connections (Facebook is perfect for that).  I set up my Twitter account to help find support, information and advice from new writers.  All of which is abundant on Twitter, as long as like-minded individuals know how to find you.  Describe yourself in the correct manner, follow relevant people, and Tweet or Re-Tweet useful content.  Do these things carefully and consistently and your community will grow.
  3. Master the Twitter basics: It’s so easy to set up an account and start Tweeting away that it’s tempting to ignore the features of the application.  DO NOT DO THIS!  At a minimum learn how to mute followers.  Otherwise your Twitter feed will be clogged with information that may not be the most relevant or helpful to you at this point in time.  I don’t suggest muting anyone too soon.  Take some time and read Tweets from your followers.  You’ll quickly get a feel for who is posting information that you can use versus who is not.
  4. Learn more about your favorite Tweeters: If you find yourself drawn again and again to a particular Tweeter read their profile.  Find out more about them.  Often times these folks have websites that provide a lot more information beyond the 140 characters that initially captured your attention.  Go to their websites or blogs.  Dive into their content.  Chances are if you like their Tweets you find a lot more to like on their site.
  5. Stay on point for the most part:  If you follow me on Twitter you’ll note that most of my Tweets have to do with writing, editing, self-publishing or finding an agent.  This is simply a function of where I am today.  Every once in a while though I like to send a off topic Tweet.  It provides my followers with a little more color to my personality and hopefully makes me feel more real.  A side bonus is you may attract a slightly different set of followers, many of whom could provide support and inspiration beyond your intended community.
When all else fails insert a picture of a cute baby, a video of puppies playing, or a salacious celebrity headline 😉.

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