Monday, September 14, 2009

How and Why I Tweet

A journey into the dark underbelly of Janice L. Brown’s Twitter life

In my last blog post, I wrote about how I created my own Twitterverse to meet my business and personal goals.

Here are some of the ways that I have created my own private Twitterverse, and what you can expect from me if you are part of it:

I tweet about topics of professional interest to me: technology, healthcare, marketing, advertising, journalism, corporate communications, writing, language, social media, social trends, my clients' businesses, and the downfall of the American empire (a.k.a., secular degradation.)

I don’t tweet about things outside these topics. Why? Because these topics define me and my personal brand. Tweeting about only these topics creates a critical mass of opinion that helps other people – the right people – discover me.

I have started another personal Twitter account to cater to my other interests: food, wine, travel, films, music, books and the evolution of popular culture.

I tweet whenever I do posts on my blogs.

If I have to think too much before tweeting on a particular topic, then I don’t do it. This means it’s outside my span. My “blink” is usually right. (Although politics ever tempts.).

I try to limit my tweets to a few per day. But if I don’t have something valuable to say, I won’t tweet – even if I miss a day.

I un-follow people who tweet too much. Ditto people who use so many clichés and mantras that my teeth hurt: they are typically lazy thinkers and conformists.

I try to SEO my tweets and my profiles so the right people will find and follow me. Sometimes I succeed.

I try to be provocative but always relevant (not sensationalist). I also try to be polite and constructive (that's just my personality).

I re-tweet items of interest from people I follow. I often find interesting new people to follow in what my followers tweet. So my personal Twitterverse grows organically.

I usually don’t follow people who don’t use their real names or who lack robust profiles, including ideally a real photo (clothed). I stopped watching cartoons as a kid. What are they hiding?

I don’t block anyone except people pitching sex (or criminals or apparently crazy people). I have nothing against selling or buying sex. I just think it’s incredibly rude to make me look at your naked picture (or worse) if I didn’t request to do so. Particularly before I have had my second cup of coffee. Blocking seems…un-Twitter-like.

I report spammers. You wrecked email; please don’t wreck Twitter.

I get ticked off if I follow a business thought leader and all he talks about is baseball or trips to the dentist. I often un-follow – it just takes too much work to find the nuggets. (A few personal moments are ok, but I save mine for Facebook.) I know that TMS (too much sharing) is part of the social media game, but I need to protect my time and my sanity.

And I get really ticked off if I follow an organization or business, and the resident Tweep starts tweeting about her boyfriend or going shoe-shopping. Brand, people, brand! (Un-follow.)

I don’t thank everyone who follows me, but I appreciate those who do (except spammers).

I don’t automatically follow people who follow me – even if they are my offline friends or colleagues. They have to post content I am interested in. Otherwise, I will catch up with them the next time I see them in person. Or on Facebook.

I take highly personal comments offline – to Direct Message – but I can’t do this if you don’t follow me back.

I use hash tags sparingly. Great for events and established groups, but otherwise overused in my opinion. Except for #spam.

I never tweet while drinking. (Sorry for those of you who like the entertainment value.)

I value my followers and those I follow, and try to protect the integrity of these groups as much as possible. My followers and those who follow me, in a sense, define me and my brand. I know that I don’t have total control, but that’s just part of the organic discovery process of social media.

How and why do you tweet? Please comment below.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Janice, it is useful to see how you use twitter and compare it with my own habits. Some of them
    are really similar, except one: I will follow the most people following me, simply because I've made the experience, that some people start writing about something interesting, that I found boring at first sight. Mathias Will,