Blogs are passé.
Twitter’s where it’s at.
Which means you’d better learn, fast, how to write on Twitter. How to promote your brand. How to put your message across. How to make sure your voice is heard above the crowd.
Or does it?
I admit it: I love Twitter. But Twitter is nothing like blogging.
Blogging means: thinking before you publish. Working as editor, manager, publisher as well as writer and author of creative thoughts. Blogging means thinking, hard, about your readers. Adding value each time you post. Creating something that will last, and that you’re proud of.
Whereas Twitter means…
Well Twitter defies definition. Twitter means jumping in and chatting, laughing, playing, sharing, linking, listening, letting down your hair. Twitter means being up, down, successful, worried, happy, frustrated, exhilarated, wondering, sad, anxious, proud. Twitter means being willing to go with the flow.
But how do you learn to let go, and let the river Twitter stream carry you?
Here are 21 suggestions to help you do just that.
21 Non Rules for Tweeting with Confidence
1. Don’t obsessively study guides to using Twitter. (There are a lot.) You’ll drive yourself crazy and waste valuable tweeting time
2. Don’t edit out your tweets about the weather. I talk about the weather a lot. It’s not deliberate, maybe it’s because I live somewhere wild and wet, but it’s a great ice breaker and way to get to know people in other parts of the world
3. Don’t edit out your tweets about what you’re eating. You’re sure to find someone who’s interested in or revolted by your food choice, or needs a translation. (Haggis, neeps and tatties anyone?)
4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You don’t need to know it all on Twitter. Ask good questions and you’ll get a flood of witty, helpful responses in return
5. Don’t stick to one time of day. Your Twitter stream will vary according to time zone, who’s awake, what kind of mood they’re in. You too. Experiment and see what suits you best
6. Don’t go so fast you miss your @ replies (replies sent to you). Invest in replying to those who reply to you and you’ll start to make friends, not just pick up followers
7. Don’t follow people you think you ‘should’ follow. It’s pretty dull following a whole lot of social media A listers. Twitter’s full of interesting, quirky people. Leave room in your stream for people who aren’t ‘anyone’, just someone.
8. Don’t forget to share pictures. People enjoy clicking on a link to a picture. It’s quick, easy and doesn’t require any mental effort to read another blog post. Plus it’s a great way to share another part of your world.
9. Don’t stick to talking about your core brand. Share something of yourself. Talk about things you’re interested in. You never know where it might lead. Apparently I’m to lead a Twitter class on beginner’s Gaelic. What does this have to with this blog, with Confident Writing, with my professional reputation? Not a lot. With me? Mucho.
10. Don’t worry about the numbers. And don’t tweet about your numbers: it’s really not that interesting to anyone else. Focus on the conversation.
11. Don’t worry about unfollowing people. So what if they’re clocking your clicks with Qwitter? We’re all following and unfollowing all the time. It’s one of the reasons I like it: the realisation that there’s no such thing as Twitter because everyone is enjoying a different conversation with a different pattern of people
12. Don’t worry about leaving Twitter for weeks at a time. ‘Twitter’ won’t care because Twitter doesn’t exist. Most of the 100s of people following you won’t notice either way. Your friends will – and will be glad to see you back.
13. Don’t forget to be yourself, whatever that means
14. Don’t think about the fact that the world can read your Twitter stream. (You have remembered it’s open to all to read haven’t you?) It might just cramp your style
15. Don’t thank your followers for following. I mean really: how much effort does it take me to click a link on your name? I don’t expect thanks for following. And I don’t expect you to mind if I click away later.
16. Don’t reread your own Twitter stream: it might scare you
17. Don’t post your Twitter stream to your blog. Unless you’re stuck in broadcasting mode your stream will make no sense to readers of your blog. It might just make sense to people following your stream, but it really makes no sense at all out of context.
18. Don’t try and follow all the links you find in your stream. It’ll make your head explode. (Apparently Twitter serves up a new post every 2 seconds.)
19. Don’t broadcast all the time. (It’ll sound like you’re not listening.) Or reply all the time. (It’ll baffle the people who follow you.) Or try and find the perfect balance between the two. (You never will.)
20. Don’t follow my rules – or anyone els’es. But you might want to set some of your own. (Mine are: Don’t talk about clients in an identifiable way. Ever. Don’t drink and tweet. Don’t DM anything I couldn’t cope with others reading if something scary happened to the system. Don’t be unkind.)
21. Don’t worry about how to Tweet. There is no right way. Only your way.