Friday, December 11, 2009

Survival Guide for the Successful Use of Twitter

In the spirit of fostering goodwill, I present these helpful tips on the successful use of Twitter:

1. Choose a unique photo for your Twitter account. I cannot stress this strongly enough: your followers will come to know you by this photo, and a unique photo will make it easier for them to skim through the timeline to ignore you. Or read your tweets. Whatever.

2. Use an attractive photo. If you are unattractive (ask yourself, "do small children run, screaming, at the sight of me?") use a photo of someone who is attractive. Preferably of the same (predominate) gender as you, but this is optional. [See also, @frankhinton.]

3. Tweet. You can’t create a Twitter account then tweet once every three weeks. This isn’t using Twitter, this is having an account and being a Twitter wallflower. No one will ever notice you this way: the timeline moves fast and gets busy in a hurry.

4. Make sure your tweets don’t suck. Like #1, this is critical. For example, chances are your followers will let it slide if you post one tweet about how you can’t get your toilet unclogged. But nobody wants to read your daily struggle with an overfull potty. [Buy a plunger and use less paper, by the way.]

5. Don’t be an ass. If you are, by nature, an incorrigible ass, ask yourself, “What would a polite, or even kind, person do under these circumstances?” and then pretend that you are polite, or even kind, and tweet accordingly.

6. If someone follows you, don’t immediately freak out. Read their tweets, and if they appeal to you – or you find them merely tolerable – follow them back. This is social media, not a bulletin board. (Celebrities, I’m looking at you.)

7. Find something complimentary to say to your new Twitter friends, on a regular basis. For example, you might want to tweet, “Hey, @taylorhicklen, are those new shoes? They look nice.” He'll likely appreciate the courtesy.

8. Never tweet with your mouth full. Trust me. You’ll see what I mean.

9. Every Friday, people recommend other people for their followers to follow. If you follow 1,427 people, and every single Friday, you recommend each and every single one of them, you lose credibility. We get that you like the people you follow, we assume that is why you follow them.

10. Sometimes, if you tweet something really witty or helpful or interesting, some of your followers may “retweet” your tweet: this lets their followers see what you said, and you get credited. This is an honor not to be abused. When you retweet something, take the time to make sure it doesn’t suck.

11. When @inkyelbows retweets one of your tweets, you’ll know you’re getting the hang of it. If she promotes something you've written - on your blog, for example - then you've made the big leagues.

This list is illustrative, and not exhaustive, and I hope you find these tidbits useful. If nothing else, I hope you’ll join me in saying “tidbits” aloud – tidbits. There, don’t you feel silly?

Your humble and obed’t Serv’t,
B. Freret


Nikki said...

All good advice, but you left out the people who tweet the lyrics to every song that comes on their iPod. ...whoops, is that ME? =P

Taylor Hicklen said...

These ARE new shoes, FYI. And thanks ;)

finnegan flawnt said...

can i write this with my mouth full? no?
here's a piece from my early twitter days: ... doesnt seem so funny now though. i suppose if anything it shows my ambivalence towards twitter (which i've maintained, it's precious to me).

quillfeather said...

Good advice, indeed. Full of 'tidbits' :)

Frank Hinton said...

Ha Ha! The female form is the highest peak of art.

Marisa Birns said...

Well, from your photo I can see that you are very unique and attractive, so that's a plus for you.

Everything else here is damn good tidbits.

No, I didn't feel silly saying it.

I would call a plumber. Last time I tried to repair anything, I had to move to a new place.

You're correct about inkyelbows. She thanked me once, so there's that.

And your friends call you Booger...


Thank you for your amusing Tidbits!

B. Freret said...

My mother's maiden name is Boudreaux, sort of the Smith or Jones of where I'm from.

For reasons known only to them, my parents chose to give it to me as my first name. To soften the blow, they dropped the "x" - can't say it helped any.

My friends started calling me Booger because Booger was actually less embarrassing than Boudreau. I appreciated the relief.

Thank you - all - for your comments and kindness!

This Cat's Abroad said...

"...and then pretend that you are polite, or even kind, and tweet accordingly."

Damn ... I wish I had these guidelines before I joined Twitter.

Better late than never I guess.

You have a photo on Twitter?

Anonymous said...

12. Avoid the word "wipenis".

Anna Lefler said...

Oh, dear. I think I need to work on my "not sucking."

I'll get there!

:-D Anna

Swirl Girl said...

I am gonna #10 this!

B. Freret said...

Anna, Anna, Anna. [Sigh.] has the least amount of suck to word ratio on the intertubes.

And you tweet smart, to boot.

Thanks, S.G.!

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Hey Boud-Baeu-Bootr- well, you know what I mean. How 'bout I call you Booger?

Anna Lefler told me to come over here, so I did. And I love your tips. I was just nodding my noggin like a head-banger agreeing fervently with everything you said. Thank you saying these things.


- Margaret

Sara McClung ♥ said...

This is the best post on twitter I've read yet :-)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Finally, a useful guide to Twitter.