7 awesome things you do on Twitter

by Ginger on November 22, 2010

in Blogging & Social Media

So last week, I wrote about ways to NOT annoy people on Twitter. You guys had some great additions and thoughts on my original list, too, so it was a post I really enjoyed.

This week, it being Thanksgiving and all, I’m going to try and focus on good stuff all week long. So, as an answer to last week’s snark fest, I’m giving you my list of 7 things you do on Twitter that I love:

  1. Share your stuff Despite the fact that I have a (very full) feed reader, more and more, I’m using Twitter as my reader. That’s not to say I don’t read from my reader any more, but something about the immediacy of a link on Twitter helps me some days. So I love when you make it easy for me. (just don’t overshare the same thing. We talked about this last week, don’t forget that lesson!)
  2. Share other people’s stuff I’m *always* looking for new and interesting reads–blogs, websites, news articles. I read a lot, but that doesn’t mean I read everything you read! So I love when you share what you’re reading/finding interesting around the web. I’ve found really great new content that way. Plus, to me, it’s one of the best ways of “giving back” to the people you read to share their stuff when it works for you. (I need to be better about this!)
  3. Be funny I am not funny, but I sure as hell appreciate those of you who are. Especially on a rough work day, sometimes your humor is what pulls me out of my misery. So funny people, keep the laughs coming.
  4. Answer questions I ask questions on Twitter, and I love when people respond. I read a lot of people’s questions on Twitter and I love when *those* get answered. Hey, if I’m going to go with Google anyway, I might as well be getting answers/opinions/feedback from my friends online, right?
  5. Talk about products you use and love I’ve said before, I don’t really have any local mom friends. So part of what I use the internet for is to learn about the mom stuff I wouldn’t know about otherwise, and get honest user feedback. So, for example, when I was looking for a new carseat, Twitter moms really helped steer me toward what we eventually got. I may not want to read nothing but product/deal tweets, but as my online friend, if you’ve got something you use and love? I’m stoked to hear about that stuff.
  6. Respectfully share your differences of opinion This one’s a little tough, because it walks such a fine line, BUT. I actually have loved seeing discussions that open my eyes to multiple opinions. Now, there are some things where you’re not going to convince me to change my mind (most politics come to mind), but if you’re having a polite, open discussion without name calling or anger, that can be pretty awesome.
  7. Talk! Of all my obvious answers, this is the most obvious of them all. Twitter to me only works when you engage with each other. I don’t understand the people who never talk to anyone else, or who only post links and never have conversations. I love the conversational element of Twitter, so please, keep talking to me!

So, how about you? What do you love on Twitter?


As always, you can find more lists every Monday over at ABDPBT!

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Perpetua November 22, 2010 at 9:43 am

Good list! I’m surprised at how much I’ve come to rely on twitter for quick questions, commiseration, etc., and how much it has made me feel involved, even to a minor extent, in the lives of my online friends.

I also feel like I officially have online friends, which means I have to stop making fun of my husband for meeting one of his first girlfriends “online” back in the day when the internet was just message boards and stuff. 🙂

Ginger November 22, 2010 at 9:58 pm

It’s only been in the last 6 months or so that Twitter has become such a hot spot for me, so I too find myself surprised by how much I turn there. But I really do love it.

Also, I love that you have to stop making fun of your husband now!

clara November 22, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I totally use twitter as my reader. I never even used a reader, I just used to scroll through bookmarks. I liked it that way, really! But now that I am on twitter, I find I never scroll through my bookmarks, in fact I went in and reorganized them and there were people I’d forgotten about. Because they don’t use twitter. So many links and blog posts on twitter, I don’t have time to do anything else. Which is OK, because it’s limiting – I open the tab and come back to it later.

Um, not sounding like an endorsement, really, is it. But – it is. And it took me a while to link to my own blog posts on twitter because I felt like it was annoying. Too pushy (even though I only tweet them once)(because I also hate that repetitive tweeting). Then I realized there were people whose blogs I would never get around to if they didn’t tweet. Figured there were people who felt the same about me. Moved along.

I like the like minds I’ve found, and the commiseration – especially around the kids, since that is my focus right now. You put out a “my kid is nuts” tweet and six people respond. It’s so much easier than picking up the phone and telling a friend and actually I have always hated using the telephone so the Internet is totally made for me. If we were having this conversation on the phone it would have ended ten minutes ago.

Ginger November 22, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Oh I don’t even bother with the phone anymore–I hate that damn thing!

And part of what I love about Twitter is what you mentioned–the minds and commiseration there. Again I go back to, I don’t have many local mom friends, so Twitter is my chance to ask all my first time mom/kid/is this normal kind of questions.

ABDPBT November 22, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I am mostly not polite on Twitter. I use it mostly as a megaphone to yell at people who are annoying me, who routinely pretend to not listen to me. But then I also do some of the other things as well, and then I’m relatively polite. It’s tough though, when you get a ton of people that you’re following, to stay in conversations because unless I get an @-reply I almost always miss the general questions these days. There’s just too many damn people in my stream. I suppose that’s what I’m supposed to be using the columns in Tweetdeck for but I just cannot get that together.

Still, I agree wholeheartedly with this Twitter user guide you are creating here. It’s valuable. You should make it into a little ebook guide for your first time visitors, or make a button or something so they know where the posts are.

Ginger November 22, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Having found myself following close to 300 people, I can honestly say I don’t know how you even remotely come close to managing more than that without some serious lists/columns/something or other. I finally broke down and started some lists and columns myself, and I’ve got nowhere near the number you do.

And that’s a great idea about the button!

The Sweetest November 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm

I still feel like on Twitter it’s like I’m in a room at a party, standing off to the side, or in the corner, like I often do. And occasionally, one of the cool, funny people will stop by and chat with me, or say hello, and then I am observing again.

Ginger November 22, 2010 at 10:24 pm

I feel like that too sometimes, but since that’s kind of how I am at real life parties, I’m used to it. I also finally figured out that, for me, I have to jump in “unasked” a lot before people start to realize I’m a chatty tweep, not just a passive one.
There are still those people who never talk to me (and times that are better for talking than others) but I’ve finally started to catch some of the conversations.

Lisa Sunbury November 23, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Thanks for another helpful post about how to use twitter to connect with and not annoy people.I’m having fun playing with and trying out different ways of connecting with different people. The social aspect of twitter is definitely what makes it enjoyable for me- it’s no fun to tweet stuff into space, or to read other people’s tweets, but not respond ( or get a response in return when I reach out.)
I also like to learn, and to be helpful to others when I can be, so I appreciate others having conversations even if I don’t have something to add: This often leads me to check out new people, and interesting links. I agree with everything Clara said about using twitter as a “reader.”
I’m far from being an “expert” but I wanted to offer that I have found making lists really helpful in keeping tabs on certain groups and interests, because the info. stream moves so quickly. I can easily miss conversations/ people that I don’t want to, and just end up responding to what’s most interesting/right in front of me in the moment and/or @mentions. For instance, you and a few others are on my “Read and Love” list, so I check a few times a day to see what’s up with all of you who are on my list. I think lists might be helpful to my followers as well, when they are trying to get a sense of who I am, or if they are looking for like minded people to follow, and connect with.Lists are also like a way to “recommend” people to others. If we have a relationship and I’m looking for a good source of parenting info, and advice, and you’ve made a list of people you follow who give the best parenting about toddlers, I’m likely to check out the people on your list first, because it makes it a lot easier than searching for them among 2 million experts on twitter.
As for being “shy”, I am. You’d never know it by looking at my twitter profile though, because on twitter I am a little social butterfly. I regularly reach out and start conversations with people I don’t know but am interested in knowing, because we share interests or similar sensibilities. I answer questions for others even if I don’t know them, (if I feel I have something of value to offer.) I have found people to be incredibly responsive and generous, with one or two notable exceptions, and then I just unfollow those people- because I don’t like rude, egocentric people on-line, anymore than I do offline.
I have a question though, about not re-tweeting stuff. So far I’m mostly re-tweeting other people’s stuff, engaging in conversation, or making comments on other people’s writing. I think I may have been guilty of tweeting a few things several times- usually things I really care about, and hope others will notice or respond to.You say this is a no-no. I’ve read a lot of varying opinions on this. I really don’t want to risk alienating people, but my rationale for tweeting a message more than once has been because the info. stream moves quickly, and I know miss things, so I figure others probably miss things too. I’m more likely to “catch” something valuable if it’s tweeted more than once, in case I missed it the first time, therefore, I have sometimes tweeted or re-tweeted the same message several times. Is this wrong? Is there a way to do this, and not totally upset people? I’d love to hear more!

Ginger November 23, 2010 at 2:54 pm

I’ve just started getting into lists, and I agree, they’re HUGELY helpful. I’m just finding it hard to figure out how to categorize some people! But they are definitely a big help now that I’ve really figured out how they work…

To your question about re-tweeting: everyone is going to have different thresholds for what annoys them and what doesn’t. The rule I’ve kind of been going with is no more than 1 for the morning crowd, 1 for the afternoon crowd and maybe 1 for the evening crowd. That’s sort of based on my own tolerance level (what I do and don’t like to see), what my own Twitter crowd looks like (I seem to have some distinct groupings who are active at different times), and…well, just playing around.

So some retweeting is ok, but it’s the chronic, every 20 minutes or hour retweeting that I think pushes people over the edge. Of course, some people don’t like seeing a tweet more than once, period. But I think there’s a balance between those two extremes. Hopefully I’m hitting that balance ok!

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