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Posts Tagged ‘don’t get twitter’

The 5 Stages Of ‘Getting’ Twitter

In her seminal 1969 book On Dying, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first introduced what would become commonly known as The Five Stages Of Grief (and professionally, as the Kübler-Ross Model). Based on interviews with more than 500 patients, Kübler-Ross’s research describes the five sequential stages by which people cope with grief and tragedy – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance.

Kübler-Ross’s study originally applied only to those suffering from terminal illness, but this was later expanded to include any form of ‘bereavement’ – for example, the loss of a job, income or freedom – as well as major life-changing events, such as drug addiction, relocation and divorce.

I believe that we can also apply this process to Twitter – specifically, the concept of ‘getting’ it.

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Making A Habit Of Twitter

Twitter’s high drop-out rate for new users is well documented and has been an issue for some time. People hear all the hype, excitedly sign up and expect magical things to just happen, instantly. Of course, it doesn’t work like that. Inevitably, they’re underwhelmed and confused – a horrible combination at the best of times – and after an initial burst of enthusiasm they give up, and head back to Facebook.

Twitter isn’t for everybody, but it is for almost everybody. Certainly anyone who has something to say, lives any kind of life that isn’t completely and utterly devoid of events or wants to follow the lives, thoughts and events of others. And despite what a lot of folks think, very few individuals fit that description.

(Although given the amount of tweets about food intake – and outtake – this might not appear to be the case.)

So, Twitter can and will work for the majority. The trick is to make a habit of it. Here’s how you do it:

How To Make A Habit Of Twitter

  1. Swot up – it’s worth spending some time reading about what Twitter is and how it works. My Twitter 101 tutorials are a great place to begin.
  2. Be yourself.
  3. Learn the math.
  4. Use the right tools – is much better than it used to be but you need to be able to monitor your streams easily and effectively, and software like HootSuite is better. The same goes for mobile usage – do some research on what is accepted as the best mobile client for your brand of phone and install it. For example, Twitter For iPhone, Twitter For iPad, UberSocial (Blackberry), Twidroyd (Android), etc. Try others, but the market leader is usually the leader for a reason, and typically the best place for the new user to start.
  5. Twitter isn’t Facebook. The platform, experience and audience are completely different – and will expect different things from you.
  6. Check at least the latest tweets on your homepage 2-3 times a day, spaced apart, seven days a week. If you have more time to spare, then great, but you don’t have to become obsessed for Twitter to have value. 30 minutes a day is more than enough. It shouldn’t feel like work, and it also shouldn’t be something you want to get away from. Checking Twitter on your phone when you’re queuing at the Post Office should feel second nature and normal – not something you have to do.
  7. Pay very close attention to your mentions folder – always reply promptly and courteously. While your network size is small, use push notifications on your phone if they’re supported by your software as these work as a great prompt.
  8. Follow people that YOU find interesting – if Twitter seems ‘boring’, you’ve only got yourself to blame.
  9. If nobody is following you, there’s probably a good reason.
  10. Don’t protect your profile – it will only limit the experience.
  11. Figure out where you fit in the Twitter social space – for example, your timezone and the timezone of your audience might not be the same.
  12. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you don’t have to actually tweet at all to still get a ton of value from Twitter.

Follow these guidelines, and pretty soon you should start to get a solid feel for how Twitter works. It’s generally accepted that you need to invest 30 days in something to make a habit of it, so give Twitter a good month before making up your mind. I suspect that things will click a lot earlier, but if you’re reading and engaging each and every day for four weeks (and a bit), you’ll definitely be in a great position to decide whether Twitter is for you.

And unless you’re one of those very few, I can almost guarantee that it will be.

Five More Tips For Twitter Newbies (And Veterans)

Last week I wrote a post that gave advice to people who were new to Twitter and wanted to get off to the best possible start. The article has been quite popular and follow-up conversations I’ve had with readers led to me thinking a little bit more about the subject.

Here are five more tips that I think will help anybody who is using the platform for the first time. If you have friends who ‘don’t get it’, or are finding Twitter disappointing, then please share this with them.

And if you consider yourself a veteran of Twitter, there’s still plenty of value to be found!

1. Twitter Isn’t Third Person

Remember the old days when Facebook status updates were always third person? The status box used to come with a fixed ‘is’ before each message, which encouraged you to always be doing something – i.e., Jack is eating his dinner, Jill is going for a walk, etc.

Because it was so limiting, Facebook eventually dropped the ‘is’ part of the status box, but the majority still updated in the same way. Recently, likely in an attempt to emulate (and keep up with) Twitter, Facebook has almost entirely abandoned the third person status update, and most people (certainly those with whom I interact) update in a similar way to Twitter (albeit with less character restrictions, and significantly less reach).

Twitter has never been third person. Each tweet is a standalone piece of news delivered in 140 characters or less. It is not your name doing or saying something. It is not an action. It’s a message.

Hence, you should NEVER write tweets such as:

Twitter isn't third person

I see this all the time with new Twitter accounts (and many established ones). This is partly Twitter’s fault – by specifically asking of us, “What are you doing?”, they encourage people to think of their tweets in the same way they used to think of Facebook status updates.

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Have Friends That Are New To Twitter? Five Tips To Help Them Hit The Ground Running

Remember the first day you signed up to Twitter? It was new and a little strange, and may have become overwhelming. Conversely, when you don’t know what you should be doing, all that hype can actually have the opposite effect – Twitter felt like a bit of a disappointment. What’s the point?

Because you persisted, eventually the penny dropped, and Twitter suddenly seemed a place of enormous opportunity. You started to recommend the service to your friends, and then watched the process repeat itself through their eyes.

  • “I don’t get it.”
  • “I have nothing to say.”
  • “Who are these people following me?”

Back in April, I wrote an article entitled, “10 Quick & Easy Ways To Maximise Your Twitter Experience“. The content is still surprisingly relevant but a lot has changed in the last 4-5 months and I felt it needed a bit of an update.

Here are five tips that I think all newcomers to Twitter should read and implement to help them get off to a good start.

1. Use Your Photo For Your Avatar

Twitter recently updated their default avatar, and while the new image is an improvement it still tells veterans of the service one of two things: you’re either a newbie, or (worse) a spammer.

Your choice of avatar is one of the most important decisions you will make. It’s the first thing most people see when deciding whether to follow you – hence, it should represent what your Twitter account represents. It should tell us a little bit about who you are.

Ideally, your avatar should be a recent photo of YOU. At a pinch, it can be your brand’s logo but if you’re the only person who will be using the account a photo is still better. It’s more personable and people will warm to you and become familiar with it.

A common mistake that many make is to follow similar practices used on bulletin boards and MSN and use a cartoon, a picture of a celebrity, or a character from a movie or TV show for their profile picture. Twitter isn’t a bulletin board, and it isn’t MSN. People like, and expect to see, your face. It makes you seem real.

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