Being “Good” at Twitter


Recently I feel I’ve been sucked too much into trying to be “good” at social media. What I mean by this is that especially around Twitter (my social media of choice) I’ve fallen into a number of traps but mainly I’ve been trying to be objectively good with social media rather than trying to get it to work for me. So I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on what I’ve done wrong and how I want to be different.

Don’t Be Good, Get What You Want

I feel especially with Twitter it’s easy to chase stats, follows, RTs, Posts etc. rather than actually using Twitter as a resource. I feel I want to be clearer what I want Twitter for in the future. For me this is learning about my interests of careers development, education especially HE, social media and lifelong learning and connecting with likeminded people. I find I used to be overwhelmed with getting through my timeline and reading every good looking article and then RTing. This is just about being “good”, having an objective marker rather than a pragmatic measure, read a bit, learn a bit. I want my learning to be more central so if I spend 30 minutes on twitter which involves reading 20% of my feed and one really good article I learn something this is a lot better than reading all my feed and skimming 10 articles I don’t learn anything from (which I used to do). Its easy to get overwhelmed by the mass of info on a social media site. My advice to someone else would be work what you want to get out of it and focus on that, don’t do it for its own sake and don’t just try to be “good” for its own sake.

Don’t “Magpie”, Create Content

What I mean by being a “magpie” is just sitting on twitter RTing others articles. I find if you do this eventually people push past you to your sources, get bored with your stream of RTs and never get to know you as a person. Just RTing projects no personality and adds no value, you just become other people’s views. People will be a lot less likely to connect with you or view you as a valuable source of content. It’s a lot better to have a voice and be unique in what you say, have an opinion. People will come to you because you have something to say that no-one else does, because you are a valuable resource for them.

Don’t Chase Followers, Create Relationships

Less is often more. Why have 2000 followers/ friends/ connections if you never actually contact them and you get overloaded with all of the information you’re given. I find its easy just following people in the hope of getting a follow back. But increasingly I’ve tried to maintain an upper limit on the number of people I follow. Next to that I try and actually connect with people. I push myself to respond to other people’s tweets, to ask questions of people in light of what they put out. I want to be seen as a friend and actually valued by others and as much as possible I do this by being genuine, investing in people and relationships. Though on this point I feel I have a long way to go.

Don’t Be A Perfectionist, Take Risks

Often I feel I hide behind a safe route on twitter, don’t have too strong an opinion, don’t take a risk in a relationship etc. but I’m pushing myself to be bolder. Being valuable means being unique and you only are unique by taking risks. Just being like others or just being a combination of other people will make it a lot less likely that people will connect with you. I’m pushing myself to take more risks in the hope of being more unique.

Anyone else out there got any tips? Would love to hear from you.

One thought on “Being “Good” at Twitter

  1. Hi Tom, I enjoyed this post. Its good to meet someone else who is against the idea of just making hundreds of contacts for the sake of it – I feel the same about Linked In – it is about building relationships to work for you. I also think you make a very valid point of trying not to be perfect, as I think I suffer from that fear – I worry if I do not do things perfectly on it then I will be seen as out of touch.

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