You know that sinking feeling you get when you are all dressed up for some event and realize that you are either dressed in the wrong gear or worse, you are horrendously late for the festivities?
You’ve made an effort to extract the yogurt from your hair, and even put on some makeup so you don’t look like one of the zombies you half expected to pop out of the ground on May 21st. Having your best face forward, you are ready to greet the world. But the world has gone by you already, the party already started, and now you have to run (in high heels no less) to catch up.
Thus explains what it must be like to drop into the social networking world today. You’d almost feel 3 years late to the party, and the overwhelming aspect of it all explains why 60% of Twitter users quit after the first month. But it doesn’t have to be scary, and although it does take awhile to build up a follower base (unless you are someone who is #bi-winning and has several Goddesses to tweet about), Twitter is worth the effort you put into it.
So how do you jump in feet first? By following these three golden rules:
- Talk to people – On the surface, Twitter may seem to be a “Follow me, I’ll Follow you” type of service, and it definitely can be. But what you do with the people you follow makes all of the difference. You can sit back and randomly watch their time lines, laughing silently to yourself as you eat another tub of ice cream, or you can actually attempt to engage them. Throw out the thoughts that you can’t talk to strangers. They wouldn’t be sending out these daily blasts if they didn’t want to engage other people and make friends.
- Don’t AutoFollow – This is a bad habit to get into. If someone follows you and you are actually interested in striking up a friendship, by all means, follow them back. If they are a nameless, faceless entity that so often pops up on Twitter (do a Google search for Porn Bots and see what comes up), do not follow them. People can and will look through your contact list, and if you follow Miss Hot Buns06, it can make you look bad.
- Avoid Spammy Direct Messages – When someone follows you, it opens up the portal known as Direct Message. Translation: You can send them private tweets and no one else will see them. I just received a nice direct tweet from Flynn Ryder after I followed him, which wasn’t totally unwelcome. However, most direct messages asking me to buy your book or your bottle of hair product isn’t just going to get ignored. It also makes me feel like you are a just a fake account, and that you aren’t worth my time or friendship. This isn’t the case with all direct tweets, just some.
Twitter can be part of a fun and fulfilling social networking life. In many respects, Twitter has replaced our need to pick up a phone and have an actual conversation. It can have a short conversation between changing a diaper or zone out while I am sitting at Go Bananas, again. Even if it makes you smile or connected once in awhile, social networking will have done its job.
Go forth and Tweet. You’ll be glad you did.