After being on Twitter for about eight months and having nearly 7,000 worthwhile people as my followers – I have given a lot of thought to the question of how much time should I spend on Twitter – and what do I have to do to GIVE valuable INPUT into Twitter. What is a TWION? It is a Twitter Open Networker.
These are my basic five basic concepts for using Twitter.
Every day I look to have 20 genuine, non marketing, non threatening ways to interact with my Twitter Twibe.
- Answer questions and offer help
Answer 4 questions or offer help when someone has asked. We are all newbies in the beginning and if it is really embarrassing, I will do it by DM (direct message) to that person.
Embarrassing? It might be personal; it might be that they just don’t know how to do something that is very simple – when you know how. – and it would be embarrassing to them to have it answered in your public Twitterstream. Be discreet.
- Be original and be yourself
Post 4 original tweets of my own, so that you have some idea of how I think and feel about things and whether life is good or bad. I need hugs sometimes, too.
Remember the concept of Twitter is “what are you doing?” Let’s use Twitter to celebrate, congratulate, commiserate, and accelerate.
- Retweet and share your friends
RT 4 others, because I read, appreciate and love to share. To be re-tweeted is a great compliment. It is also a great way to expand your own followers.
It is quite likely they will click on your avatar and check your Twitterstream, too.
Are your tweets to your friends and lots of answers to questions?
Is your Twitterstream interesting?
Do you look like a TWION?
You are far more likely to get other people to follow if they can see that you a good member of Twitter than if you constantly just Twitter about yourself or your product. If you RT me, I will always thank you and I always give attribution if I am Re-tweeting a quote.
- Say “Thank You” to your Twitter friends
Give thanks to 4 others for help received, because I have had lots of great help on various projects through Twitter. Twitter is closely aligned with LinkedIn, Facebook and other web based sites – where there is a wealth of knowledge, help and genuine friendship. You can never say “Thank you” too often, when the thanks are genuinely deserved. Not all your Twitter followers will use LinkedIn or Facebook – so remember that and say “Thank you” in your Twitterstream as well, with reference to your other connection.
- Welcome some of your new followers and acknowledge them all
Welcome 4 new followers in my public time line – because that gives others a chance to check them out and see if they would like to follow too. Some days it’s more. Sometimes, less.
But that’s the daily target. I check the profile of every single new follower and follow back unless there is very good reason not to do so – you may not be of enormous interest to me – but you like me enough to follow, someone else in my follower group could well fall madly in love with you and your tweets – who am I to judge or deny?
Understanding some Twitter outcomes.
Protecting my Twitter Tweetstream
Blocking some followers is OK and, in fact, recommended.
I block all porn; phony accounts; anyone who gets over 300 followers in less than twelve hours or uses an obviously fake avatar. No exceptions. If it turns out you are the alter-ego of one of my regular Twibe, sorry, but it’s your brains I am interested in, not your boobs or bikinis.
DM (direct messages) – What, when and what else.
You can’t DM anyone; (including me) until they follow you back – because DM’s are only allowed between those who are directly connected. An automated DM is the automatic message sent by those you have followed, when they have a system set up to send you back an automatic message that acknowledges they are following you back.
Usually, it just points you to their website or commercial offering and is never personal. So, most Twitters ignore automated DM’s. – However, once they have followed you back (even automatically) it does allow you to DM them personally.
If you have acknowledged my follow with an automated DM – I don’t care. I will already have looked to see who you are, what your background looks like and maybe already looked at your website. I don’t need your link to your product offering. If it is interesting, I will “favourite it” to go back and have a more detailed look at another time.
I answer every personal DM. That means you (not some computer programme that you have set up or paid to do it for you) have sent me a DM that is genuinely meant for me, personally. The more often you answer a genuine personal DM, the better you bond with your followers.
Some on Twitter have so many followers that it is really impossible for them to answer every single DM – so, they may chose to have DM’s turned off. That’s reasonable, too. None of us can spend our whole lives on Twitter – so, we have to be realistic about this.
DM’s can be deleted, when you have too many, if they are obviously automated and you don’t want to keep them or if they are old and you have established good rapour with your friend on Twitter.
Warning: When you delete an inward DM, any response that you have sent to that specific DM will also be deleted in the DM Inbox of the person to whom you responded. So, just remember that, when deleting your replies to DM’s. Your original responses will stay in their DM Inbox view until they close their browser session and after that, the original DM you sent is gone from their DM Inbox. It will, of course, stay in your own Sent DM box, until you choose to delete it yourself. And then the reverse is true: If you delete a DM you have sent, any response received will also disappear from your DM Inbox.
Automatic DM’s: An automated DM is the automatic message sent by those you have followed and they have a system set up to send you back an automatic message that acknowledges they are following you back.
Usually, it just points you to their website or commercial offering and is never personal. So, most Twitters ignore automated DM’s. – However, once they have followed you back (even automatically) it does allow you to DM them personally, read their Twitterstream, see their responses to others and post your messages to them in their Twitterstream.
Their real purpose is that it opens up YOUR Twitter universe to them, without them having to do any work to respond to your follow and it builds the numbers of their followers. Every message they send will appear in your PRIVATE Twitterstream and their Twitter ID will appear in your PUBLIC Twitterstream, if you respond to any of their messages.
There is no requirement to send a DM when you follow back – manual or automatic – I like to send a DM because at least then, you know that I know you have chosen to follow me and I have agreed – personally – to follow you, too. I like to think that adds more value to the Twitter relationship between us.
Automated DM’s inside Twitter: Twitter itself does not provide that facility. What I do is write a nice informal message (up to 140 characters) and copy and paste as a DM for each person that I want to follow back.
I choose four or five each day and reply to them in the public Twitterstream, which acknowledges them, lets my other followers see them and keeps me on track for part of my daily Twitter routine.
It also means that I look at each person before I follow back – if you hover the cursor over their name in the follower stream, you will get a highlight of their written profile (a good reason to make sure you have one). With their avatar and the text, I can pretty quickly decide if I need to look further – or follow, open their profile, and copy paste into the DM box. Occasionally, I make a mistake and find I have sent a “Thank You” message to a porn site or someone else that I do not want to have access to my Twitterstream.
If it is porn – I just BLOCK – IMMEDIATELY and also delete the “Thank You” message from my Sent Box. Why? Because that way, my Twitter ID is removed from their Twitterstream and none of their followers will ever see it again. Helps to make sure your TwittID doesn’t get passed around to people you would not like to have following you.
If it is someone whose feelings might be hurt by an unfollow, I send a short message first and then UNFOLLOW them. If they then choose to stay as a follower, that’s fine. But, once I unfollow them, their Tweets do not show up in my Twitterstream and they cannot DM me, either. However, they can contact me by putting a reply to one of my own Tweets in my own Twitterstream and occasionally that’s not a problem. If they become too pushy, they can just be blocked, too.
Get Your Own Personal Copy Of This Post – For Future Reference!
And What else
Understanding your Personal and your Public Twitterstreams
Every Tweet posted by you and by everyone that has followed you AND you have followed back, appears in your PERSONAL Twitterstream. This is what YOU see when you log on, to Twitter.
If you want to see your PUBLIC Twitterstream, click on your own avatar. This is what anyone – including your followers – sees. What you have posted and the replies you have made to others that are following you.
If you want to thank a new follower, in your public Twitterstream, you could post a message like this:
@lesleydewar Thank you for the follow. Welcome to my Twitterstream. My blog has been updated http://notallpoppies.wordpress.com Pls stop by.
This message will be seen by all your followers and they will also see the Twitter ID of your new follower.
But if you posted this in your public Twitterstream, even acknowledging your new followers, twenty or thirty times in one day – you could be considered a spammer. Why? Because you are using your welcome message to also promote your own blog (or whatever other link you include in the message), posting the message more than three or four times in a short space of time is really frowned up.
So, choose three or four of your new followers for your public time line and then you can copy and paste the welcome message to all the other new followers as a DM to them, where you feel so inclined. So many DM’s are just automatic repsonses, you can afford to be choosy.
Never fail to post an open thank you message to all your new followers and invite them to DM you or respond to your Tweets. If you have a blog, you could post a message like this:
Thanks to all my #newfl today –appreciate your company. Please read the Twitter Guide in my blog if you are new to Twitter http://tinyurl.com/oaw22q
… then your Tweet is read by all your followers, including the new ones. Only do it once or twice a day at the most – and have something interesting in your blog for them to read.
From time to time, you should post a message like this:
Thanks to all my followers and I love to hear from you. If you have just come on line, click my picture and catch up with today’s events.
…. ..then your followers can have a quick read of whatever has been going on in YOUR public Twitterstream today and makes sure they have an opportunity to keep up with what you are doing. It gives them the perfect opportunity to respond and be part of the Twitter activity.
This is also a great way to give them something to RT to their followers and help build your Twitter profile, too. Or they may prefer to DM to you, themselves, with a personal message.
Understanding other people’s Twitterstreams
If you are following someone; they haven’t followed you back and you want to contact them, just click on their avatar. You can read their PUBLIC Twitterstream. These are the Tweets they have posted and you can see their responses to others. Do not post to them in response to their answer to someone else, because you do not know the context of that reply and you would be intruding into a private conversation. You could get blocked. But you can click on the Twitter name just below the reply and see the Tweet to which they are responding. That puts the question and their reply into context and you can keep clicking back and back to the beginning of the thread, if you wish.
You can respond to a post of their own in their Twitterstream. They will get your message, but it will NOT show up in your view of their Twitterstream – if they are not following you. Make sure your message is relevant to them – even if you are using one of their own posts to initiate the contact. Alternatively, just post their Twittername with the @ in front of it – and they will get the message. For example – if you wanted to contact me, just @lesleydewar and then your message. But only I will see it – until (or if) I choose to answer it.
It will show up in your own Twitterstream as a post, but it is not a good idea to try to “fluff” to your followers about being connected to someone famous when you are not, just by sending them one or two posts through their own Twitterstream. For instance, I do follow @stephenfry and occasionally I respond to one of his Tweets. That’s in my Twitterstream. He does not follow me – but should he ever deign to respond, you will see his reply in my Twitterstream.
The following example is about someone else, not Stephen.
Example: April 27th – I sent a message to XX (I am following) and gave a link to a photograph he would like. – My message does not appear in either my Twitterstream (he does not follow me) nor in mine (because I have sent my message inside his Twitterstream, not my own).
Response: May 7th – He responds to me (he still is not following) and his reply appears in his Twitterstream (with my Twitter name) and in my Twitterstream (with his Twitter name). So, now, on both sides, all our followers know that we have been in contact – but, for as long as he does not follow, we cannot DM each other.
Reply: May 10th – I reply to his response (he is still not following) and my reply appears only in my Twitterstream (with his Twitter name) BUT it does not appear in my view of his Twitterstream because he is not following. If he and I have mutual followers, they will see it. If we do not – then it appears only in his PRIVATE Twitterstream until (if) he answers again or decides to become a follower.
Sorry, but sometimes I have to unfollow you
Conclusion: Decide that there are some people you will follow who will not follow back but you are interested in their Tweets (for example Stephen Fry) – and if you want to know what THEY are saying, you will have to click on their avatar from time to time to see what’s happening. You can comment to them – only. Or you can decide to unfollow them. It’s your choice. You can also respond to someone you don’t follow, in the same way – but it is not good Twitter etiquette to Tweet to those you do not follow. (I did it once, as field testing for this research – but only once). Follow first, Tweet second and hope they respond to you.
Will they reply to me……
If you do choose to let them know you are following and that you find them interesting, make your post polite and interesting and relevant to their style – or you could find yourself being blocked.
They, too, are on Twitter for some interaction with their followers and many famous people will respond kindly to a single message from a follower, without actually following you back. Your Twitter to them will appear in your Twitterstream AND, if they do reply to you, their answer will appear in both their Twitterstream and your own. That’s good viewing for your followers. If they are really famous, it’s almost like getting their Twitter autograph – treasure it and don’t be a Twitter pest. Because you can be blocked, whether they are following you or not.
Remember – no one can send you a DM, unless they follow you and you allow yourself to receive DMs.
Who and What can I see in Twitter…
If you click on the avatar of anyone in Twitter, you can see their PUBLIC Twitterstream, who they follow and who follows them. This is open to public view – even the very rich and famous – like Stephen Fry or Oprah or Ellen. If you want to scroll through more than 2.2 million followers of @TheEllenShow, you are welcome to do so.
Ellen DeGeneres only follows 26 people on Twitter – whereas Stephen Fry actually has followed 55,000 – not that he responds to many of those – you can imagine what his PERSONAL Twitterstream must look like. He is a brave man!
If you select any one of his followers (or mine), you can click on their avatar and see who they follow, who follows them and what they have posted – in their public Twitterstream. You will also be able to see if you are following the same people, because as you scroll through who is following whom, if anyone you are following is there, the follow icon will have a tick on it. So, amongst Stephen Fry’s followers, I found several of my own followers.
Amongst @problogger I find many of my own followers, too and we share a lot of tweets between each other’s Tweetstreams – but only where we mutually follow one another.
However, you cannot see what those followers see in their private Twitterstream. You can only see their PUBLIC Twitterstream – whether you are a follower or not.
#followfriday and other #(hash) signs
I rarely do #follow (anyday) unless the person is really special. The (hash) #followfriday sign is becoming so prevalent that Friday is almost a good day to stay off Twitter, because it is becoming just a blur of red # signs. However, I acknowledge everyone who includes me in their list, because I appreciate their effort and I appreciate them putting my Twitter ID in their PUBLIC Twitterstream.
I nearly always respond to a “please follow my friend” direct request, especially when your friend is close to a critical mass number, unless you are both flogging the same automated “followme” Twitter tool.
If you use Tweetlater to endlessly send me RT and quotes at the rate of ten an hour, ten hours a day so I think you live on Twitter, you will be unfollowed. But I will tell you first – and why.
Who should you follow
The most important thing about who you follow on Twitter is finding people who Tweet about the things that are of particular interest to you. Are you a chef? Do you want to learn how to cook? Then a Twitterstream that only sends recipes could be exactly what you want. Try @Videorecipes
I select about 100 people a week (ten on each of five days) to follow and if they don’t follow back within ten days, I may unfollow them because (unless you have a great claim to fame) we have to keep our follow/follower ratios in balance. I am not Stephen Fry or Oprah. I use an application (app) called friendorfollow.com that helps me keep track of those who do and don’t follow back – we all have free choice here.
Using Twitter to promote business interests
I have no problems with someone in my Twitter Twibe, including myself, leveraging our time and effort in Twitter by making a commercial offer in 140 characters or less. I have bought excellent products and services on Twitter and expect to continue to do so. I expect that, in time, some of my Twibe will buy mine as well. You can easily drop a message like this
Thank them, too @shannonsprofits Thanks – I needed some new incentive to get back to learning to play my piano. into your Twitterstream and add some value to your followers. Be generous. It pays off in spades and you will get RTs for sure!
Searching in Twitter
Twitter has the greatest search engines and you should get to know how to use them, efficiently.
You can search people, by name or their Twitter ID. You can also search by a specific word (like “mice” or “mouse” or “twion” ) and find people who have Tweeted about a specific topic. You can search for a word by its # (hash) prefix – such as #followfriday
Being worthy of your Twibe
And I am chuffed – this is the first time I have invented a new Twitter word. TWION. I believe the time commitment is well worth it, given the quality of my Twitter Twibe.
This post will be updated from time to time – but I hope it will help you, especially if you are new to Twitter, to have a better understanding of how Twitter works. There are dozens of applications out there to help you use Twitter more efficiently, but knowing what happens when you do certain things on Twitter is something of which we should all be aware. It also means that when you use Twitter applications, you have a better idea of what is going on behind the scenes.
Please feel free to follow me at http://twitter.com/lesleydewar – I will follow you back.
and also on LinkedIn at http://linkedin.com/in/lesleydewar – where I am a LION.
Welcome to my world – whichever way you would like to connect with me.
#followfriday to be cancelled? Turned out to be a rumour (or else Twitter got so many complaints they decided against it)
#followfriday? How can my friends tell me about people they would like me to visit? How can my friends introduce me to new people they think are interesting to me? They still can.
The changes that were made do not allow your TwitterID to appear in the Twitterstream of anyone you are not following – unless they specifically reply to a Tweet you have sent them first.
One of the key benefits of Twitter is being able to click on the avatar of interesting looking people, follow them and then ‘reply’ to one of their own original tweets with a polite note that you are following them now and comment about their Tweets. If they choose not to follow back – that’s their choice. You cannot DM until they follow back – and this change relates ONLY to “butting in” on a conversation already going on between two friends – maybe it will prove to just good manners.
You can “reply” to anyone you are not already following, through their Twitterstream, but whether they choose to respond is entirely up to them.