For those of you who enjoy Twitter, here are eight quick tips to make the experience better.
Got something to share, sell, or communicate? Pin a tweet!
People will glance at your profile before they decide to follow you. Take advantage of that moment by pinning something important at the top of your feed. My current “pinned tweet” is a link to my latest book. Yours could point to your website, your newsletter, or a charity you want to support. Use that prime real estate!
Choose a follow-back strategy.
The advantage of follow-backs is that people appreciate reciprocity, and you’ll build a following more quickly that way. The downside is that follow-backs can clutter your home feed. So ask yourself: Is having lots of followers useful to you?
If yes: Follow most people back.
If no: Follow only people you want to follow, and keep that home feed tidy.
Do the two-step. (No retweets. Add to list)
When I follow someone, I immediately turn off retweets on their account. Retweets are basically chain letters, and most people overuse them, filling Twitter feeds with crap. Only a handful of people I follow on Twitter get “retweet privileges.”
Next, I add each person to a list by category. My lists include, writers, journalists & politicians, and friends. Make your lists private, unless you want people to know they’ve been sorted.
Doing the two-step takes a couple seconds. But when I log into Twitter, I rarely look at my general feed. Instead, I choose a specific list to view. When I’m in the mood for news, I check my journalists and politicians list. When I’m in the mood to talk writing, I view the writing list. Thus I’m viewing conversations by category most of the time.
Choose your muted words and phrases
Examples of words and phrases I mute in my feed include “I hate” “fuck you” “problematic” “cuck” “republican” “democrat” “white people” “snowflake” and “cultural appropriation.” Note that while I’m politically liberal, I mute both conservative and liberal partisan keywords because I find Twitter toxic when it comes to political discourse, and I prefer to spend my political energy elsewhere.
You’re under no obligation to read tweets you don’t want to read. Mute em!
Block bullies without remorse.
When I see someone being cruel, mocking victims, participating in an online mob, or triumphing in the suffering of others… that’s an instant block. Some people prefer the mute button, and that’s a fine option too, but I prefer to shut and lock the door.
Twitter may be the world’s largest dinner party, but I don’t allow bullies at my table. There’s this misguided notion out there that if only we listen to the trolls and speak to them rationally, they’ll come around. But I’m not on Twitter to be a therapist, a priest, or someone’s momma.
Ignore Trending Drama
Twitter loves drama. Attention-seekers wanna get you riled up, by making ridiculous statements or by being mean. Don’t bother! Scroll on by.
Talk to People
Twitter is the one place where you can talk with people all around the world about a book, or a TV show, or a topic that interests you. For me, this is what makes Twitter uniquely fun and valuable. A rookie mistake is to tweet your own stuff and then wait for others to respond. Instead, politely engage with someone else who is talking about your interests. Be encouraging! There are plenty of friendly introverts on Twitter, sharing their art, their hopes, their goals. Jump in and say hi. Give em a like.
I’ll suggest that your Twitter activity be 60% engaging with others and 40% your original tweets. Otherwise you’re the guy at the party who is talking to themself in the corner.
Keep it Brief
Twitter is really fun in 15-20 minute stints and kind of unpleasant if you dig around for an hour. I don’t know why this is, but it is. So I suggest you limit your time there. Dip in. Don’t hang out. That’s probably a good rule for social media in general, right?
That’s it! I hope you found this list helpful, and feel free to let me know if you have important twitter tips to add. My handle on Twitter is @cheribaker; come by and say hello if you’re so inclined.