Guest Post by Nina Badzin
(Nina is simply a genius of using social media–for those who missed Twitter Tips Part One, click here.)
Today I’m focusing on 4 tips. The overall theme is CONNECTION.
#1. TWITTER IS COMPRISED OF REAL PEOPLE: Maybe you feel left out on Twitter or feel you don’t “get it.” Twitter only works if you participate. Even if you’re more reserved in “real life,” I suggest speaking up on Twitter. If you find someone’s Tweet informative or helpful, retweet it, @reply your two cents, or send a direct message with a note of appreciation. The RT is probably the best option though in the world of Twitter where spreading the word is king. (Note: You can only DM people who are following you.)
Some say they find Twitter impersonal and cumbersome. For me it’s been the opposite, which is why I’d like to help you feel less overwhelmed by the site. Making lists helped enormously (more on that later), as did reaching out to new people, and reaching back to people who’d reached out to me.
#2. THE FUSS: You’re still wondering what all the fuss is about. I can tell. Lists, RTs, DMs, reaching out, reaching back. UGH. Enough already, right? Please trust me–all of that “stuff” makes your Twitter experience human. But I can hear your doubts out there. Let me give you a taste of how Twitter has enriched my life since I joined exactly a year ago.
- I “met” @AnneGBrown. We had instant Twitter chemistry and became critique partners–exchanging stories and chapters online. Fast forward a year: I’ve had five short stories accepted for publication. Even more major–Anne now has an agent and a 2-book deal with Random House. What does that mean for our partnership now? Anne has a critique partner who knew her raw work and characters before she was the next Stephenie Meyer. And I get a partner who penned the next Twilight, only better.
- Twitter brought my name to the attention of Jenna Blum, one of the most generous and talented authors around. We finally met in person when she spoke in Minneapolis, and she’s been unbelievably kind to me ever since–RTing my posts and making sure I’m sticking to my 2 pages a day commitment. During the same event, I also finally met the lovely Jennifer Erickson, an early Twitter friend who wrote her own post about the power of Twitter after meeting Jenna Blum (and me) in person. Jennifer made me feel like someone other than my mother and my friends read my stories. She’s been cheering me along since the days when I had 30 followers. (See #3)
- As a writer with little formal training, I value Tweets including links to discussions on craft. Writing is a solitary experience–part of why I love it. But I also love the sense of camaraderie I feel with other writers and bloggers thanks to Twitter.
3. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE NUMBER OF FOLLOWERS: I’m talking about quality over quantity here. The good stuff I described above was in the works when I had a handful of followers. 40 true readers/RTers is better than 500 people who wouldn’t recognize your handle and avatar if they flew off the screen. In “real” life, you connect with some people more than others. Twitter is no different. If you’re reaching out and somebody isn’t responding, put your focus elsewhere. There’s no shortage of interesting, funny, informative Tweeps out there.
Jennifer, ME, Jenna: “Tweethearts” (as coined by Jenna)
#4. MORE ON LISTS: You asked and I’m delivering. Lists make Twitter manageable when you start following a lot of people. (Arbitrary, let’s call more than 100 “a lot.”) Using lists SIMPLIFIES your Twitter experience. I promise.
Here we go. (You might want to print this.)
- Log into Twitter. (Real Twitter, not Hootsuite, etc) I’m using New Twitter.
- Glance at the menu that goes across the screen right under “What’s Happening?”
- Click “Lists.”
- Go to “Create a List”
- Personally, I have several lists. All public. Create the list names now. For each new name, you’ll have to keep going back to the home page to find the “List” button then the “Create List” option. If you want to see my lists for an example of how I divided my Tweeps, click here and look to the right.
- When you’re done naming the lists, go to the “Home” page. Glance right and you’ll see the word “Following.” Click it. Now everyone you’re following is there.
- See the little bullet-pointed square next to the first name? Click it. Sometimes Twitter has a delayed reaction and nothing happens. I don’t know why. Yes, it’s quite painful. Once the box opens or “drops down” your list names appear.
- As you go down the page, put everyone on a list. I try to only assign people to one list so I’m not seeing the same Tweets twice. Sometimes it’s just too hard to put a person in one category. Do whatever feels right.
- Making lists creates camaraderie. For example, anyone on my “Twin Cities” list can glance at the names to see other local Tweeps.
- A note about private lists: When you choose “private” instead of “public” in the “Create List” option, nobody can see your list, not even the people on it. There’s a use for this. Maybe you want to put your favorite Tweeps on a private list and read that list when you’re in a hurry. Just remember when your list is private the people on it don’t get a chance to experience that “community” feeling.
- IMPORTANT: Once you’re accustomed to using lists, don’t forget to click around to see all your different lists or you’ll miss a lot of Tweets.
- Finally, if you use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck you can arrange the screen so all your lists are next to each other, which is one of the main perks of using those sites as opposed to the actual Twitter site.
I hope this post has been helpful! Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Nina
Nina Badzin is a Pushcart Prize nominated short story writer, aspiring novelist, and Twitter addict. She blogs about the writing life, married life, and motherhood at http://ninabadzin.com.