If that little blue bird makes you flinch, this post is for you.
When you first set up a twitter account, you’re prompted: Welcome to Twitter! Here are some people you might like to follow. They’re usually celebrities, household names, or trusted companies. But where do you go from there?
With an average of 58 million tweets being sent every day (statisticbrain.com), it can feel like drinking from a firehouse. To help you get started the right way, here are three twitter issues to avoid.
1. Following because someone followed you
A new follower is always exciting, and you might feel an impulse to follow everyone back, just to be polite. After all, if you don’t follow them, won’t they leave? Hands off that follow button! Twitter is asymmetrical. Most people don’t expect you to follow them back automatically – they chose to read what you wrote. It’s up to you to be engaging and entertaining. If you do think you might want to follow them, this next step will help you.
2. Not Reading Their Tweets
Did you see a funny or interesting tweet? Before you hit the follow button, have a look at the rest of the content that person is sharing. Just like on Facebook, following someone on Twitter means you’re going to end up reading their updates. So, just like a certain uncle or cousin on Facebook, they might send out messages you won’t want to read. Before you follow someone, make sure their tweets are interesting. Avoid if they’re angry, rude, or you want to roll your eyes when you see their tweets.
When you check someone’s tweets, have a look at some other indications of what kind of user they are. Is their bio section appealing? Do they reply to people and retweet? If you’re looking for someone to have a conversation with, make sure you follow people who are conversational. There’s no ‘magic number’ of twitter replies, but for me, 1 in 5 tweets should contain someone else’s username.
3. Getting Snookered by Spam
It happens to all of us. Spammers come in many varieties. There are three main types of malicious spam you’ll encounter on twitter. The most obvious type just sends you a link without any text as a reply to a tweet. Direct Message (DM) spam is trickier because it looks like it comes from a friend, but is usually about weight loss or “OMG is it you in this picture?” (it never is!) Finally, more sophisticated crooks have set up twitter bots that actually take a real person’s tweets and copy them, while also sending out links to the seedier side of the internet.
Be cautious about the links you click, because they can get your twitter account hacked – and then you’ll be DMing all of your contacts about 1 weird weight loss tip. If you get a weird reply or DM, send a quick response asking if they meant to send it to you. Sometimes people don’t know they’ve been hacked. If you do get hacked, don’t panic. Just change your password, delete any strange tweets, and warn your friends not to click any suspect links that were sent out.
By avoiding these things, you’ll be on your way to following real, genuine people on twitter – the kind whose thoughts you’ll look forward to reading. When you follow people and companies that you’re interested in, I’m sure you’ll find it enjoyable.
Have questions about twitter? Reach Randy at @Kayak360