8 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Tweeting

by Jennifer Miller on June 25, 2009

in Social Media

Confessions of a belated Twitterer

Call me a late bloomer.  Long after early adopters claimed the micro blog Twitter  jumped the shark  . . . heck, even after Oprah, I started tweeting. Clueless as a newborn babe, here’s what I wish I’d known prior to starting.  Oh, and one other thing:  I don’t claim to be any sort of social media expert.  If there are technical inaccuracies or omissions, please accept my apologies in advance. 

It’s addictive.
I started out extremely skeptical but was immediately hooked with Twitter’s ability to link me with people from around the world in a real-time conversation.  Don’t be surprised to hear your family members saying , “Are you on Twitter again?”

Your friends will mock you.
Well, at least those not on Twitter. This is one of those times when you just need to listen to your inner voice.  If you are enjoying the Twitter experience, then continue. If not, then stop. But don’t let other people’s snide comments deter you.

It takes awhile to get your Twitter groove on.
It takes awhile to find the people whose conversation you’ll want to follow. One of my favorite Tweeps @thehrmaven lamented “am I only interesting to people who want to sell me something?” I know how she feels. Don’t get discouraged.  It took about a solid three weeks of tweeting get my footing.  Building a community of Tweeps takes time.  Be patient. After six weeks on Twitter, I finally feel like my community is taking shape.

Finding interesting Tweeps can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  At first, you’ll spend time looking at people your friends are following.  That’s fine to start, but very time consuming.  Once you get 10 or so followers, check out these third-party Twitter search services:  MrTweet, Wefollow and Twellow . They track people in your industry/areas of interest and point you in the right direction.

You don’t have to follow everyone that follows you. 
I’m not sure of the Twitter etiquette on this, but in my mind it’s not a given that just because someone follows you, you must follow them back.  This is an issue of setting boundaries and being clear about your purpose for Twitter.  You will soon figure out that there are many people on Twitter who are into the “numbers” game—“how many followers can I gain?” In my opinion, to make Twitter a fruitful venture, you need to be more selective. When someone follows you, when deciding whether to follow back, ask yourself,  “Will it be mutually beneficial to trade comments with this person?”  If only one of you gets the majority of the benefit, it may not be good to follow them back.

There are going to be spammers and creeps, but it’s OK.
You can block any weirdos that follow you.  There are also many “get rich quick” schemes (“get 1000’s followers NOW”).  Just block them and move on.  It’s not a huge deal and the majority of people on Twitter are legit.

Not everyone will find you interesting.
Don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t follow you back.  Keep tweeting relevant comments and it might be that eventually they will follow you.  Besides, there are plenty of fish (Twish?) in the sea.  If you’re diligent, you’ll gain followers that will enhance your Twitter community.

Your tweets are public.
Google indexes them. Seriously.  Google your Twitter user name and you’ll see your tweets pop up.  Just something to think about in terms of how private you want to be.


Let’s hope that my wanderings through Twitterville will help you should you decide to use Twitter.  Feel free to follow me @jennifervmiller. Happy tweeting!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Barbara Giamanco June 26, 2009 at 6:46 am

Way to go, Jennifer! Trying anything new can be uncomfortable, but just because someone doesn’t get it, doesn’t mean it has no merit.

I appreciate that you reminded people to have a purpose and plan. You don’t have to follow everyone who follows you and you shouldn’t. I believe that building a network is comprised of quality + quantity = access. Better to have 100 of the right people in your network than 1000 of the wrong ones.

Tweet on girlfriend & congrats on the new blog!

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