I joined up on Twitter in late 2007 and I love it, but it took me a few weeks to get wrap it around my brain.
Soon though it really took hold with me, and with the new job making me too busy to blog all the time I haven’t really had time to blog, but I do have time to twitter. Twitter has almost killed my personal blog, one that I’ve until recently posted to sometimes more than 3 times a week since 2001.
I’ll explain really quickly in case you live in a cave: Twitter has been called a Microblog. I like to think of it more as public short attention span text message everyone in the world can see. You can only use 140 characters as the limit on text messages for phone is roughly 160. This allows you some space for a username and since many people twitter from phones etc thus the whole character limit thing. It’s meant for short messages. “I’m at The bank, and this teller is taking foever. Bury me at Wounded knee” or to ask for tips or link to find things etc. It’s actually quite addictive.
But Twitter is being abused by crafters who are filling it full of spam who don’t understand what it is and what is frowned upon. In the past on the talk on Twitter has been about how Etsy sellers are the new spam villain there because of the (etsy staff suggested) spamming twitter with all their listings, relistings and bullcrap.
This all came after a day in early 2009 that Etsy supported called “Etsy day”. It mostly consisted of thousands of members tweeting about them, and made #etsyday go to #1 in twitter trends (that means hottest topics), while I’m sure many learned about Etsy that day it annoyed people about 1000% more people.
The thing is Etsy had been telling it’s sellers for months before this to join Twitter as it’s a “great way to promote your items!”. It’s sellers are mostly middleaged aged females, many of whom still find the whole social media thing largely a mystery – but they want to sell, so they do what the 20-somthing Etsy staff says without regard to what is appropriate or frowned on. They don’t learn the customs or culture of Twitter. They constantly relist items and dutifully tweet every last one of them like instructed. Their feeds are filled with nothing more than “check out my crap!” and links to their shops – stuff no one wants to see – and just fill Twitter with spam. If the would learn more about Twitter, and how to be a better Twitterati, some of this blatant link whoring spam would slow down.
So as a avid Tweeter, one that now “gets it” let me pass on what I know to folks out there:
- If you don’t understand Twitter, stay off it. Seriously.
Really I mean it. It’s not a hard thing to get. If you really want to ‘get it” follow some people and learn about it before you start posting. Learn what the protocols are, how things are done. Observe then try later.
- Don’t follow everyone who follows you. This isn’t kindergarten. Do you bookmark every site you go to? You should only follow people who you enjoy reading. If someone replies to you and you like their tweets, sure go for it. Maybe it’s a start of a beautiful friendship! But if you follow 1000 people you won’t know or be able to read any of them.
- Don’t get into how many followers you have. It’s no an indication as your worth as a person. Just means you have that many people who think you suck less than other people. Don’t go trolling for followers. The ones that will follow you blindly aren’t reading you anyway, they want you to follow them, so THEY can spam YOU. It’s better to have 200 followers who like what you say rather than 2000 who don’t see a word.
- No one gives a crap what you sell. Really. I mean it. NO ONE. I am not saying you can’t promote your things but don’t flood the twittersphere with them. Keep them to a few a week, tops. Show more what you are proud of than what you have and have more to offer than what you sell.
- Not everyone uses twitter as you do. That means Twitter wasn’t made for you to spam, It was made to connect people not hawk products to them.
- It’s a conversation, with or without people. I said it in a tweet once to someone about all the celebrities that are on Twitter now: “They don’t get that it’s SOCIAL media, not LOOK AT ME-dia”. Most don’t reply to anyone, ever, but just blather about their day as if it’s the word of god from on high. Most ordinary twitter people don’t get that either. Many sellers think it was invented to be text advertising, and it wasn’t.If you talk to people more than you talk at them and you’ll likely be a halfway decent Twitterati.
- People who are funny are better tweeters. If you are missing the humor gene, STFU. Really. There are enough crotchety killjoys out there already.
- Don’t tweet everything you do, less is more. And by extension: Random is more fun that minutia. I’ve been known to just tweet that “I Like Fruit Punch!” or “I just ate ham with my fingers because I’m a fancy lady!” the like and I’ll get people replying how they do too! It’s weird but funny in it’s own way.
- Find those who do what you do. I like to tweet during TV shows I’ve found some great other fans that way! (Run a search for your say a TV name while it is showing or a band, or your crafty art, and you’ll find some new people who enjoy it too. It really is a great way to find people.)
- Ask the twittersphere. It’s a great place to ask for advice, tips, links… give the same to others too. Find a funny link? I wanna see!
- More than your “followers” see your posts. Many people use various apps for Twitter and many like to view (at least sometimes) tweets by everyone along side the ones they are following. So if you send out those tweets on your items for sale you ARE spamming everyone indiscriminately without meaning to.
Okay, that’s the basics I think. Just some tips to keep in mind, but again – if you don’t get it, you don’t have to. Many of us do. Shrug it off as a mystery of life and move on.