Twitter has grown on me. So much so that I have embraced this social networking site wholeheartedly after initially holding it at arm’s length.
Like so many latecomers (I started using Twitter in earnest in January 2009), I have discovered a certain mystique about Twitter not found elsewhere. Sure, Google Buzz is making a gallant effort to get you to use its service, but I’m not convinced that the Big G has gotten it right. More importantly, fellow Twitter users just don’t seem much convinced of that either.
Lots of people write guides about Twitter in an attempt to prove some point about it. In my experience many of these tips are good, but they should be taken with a grain of salt—what works well with one user doesn’t always hold true for another one.
I’ve also discovered what may have been “tried and true” about Twitter months ago may not be so today. Therefore, always look at the date when an article was published; check to see if has been updated to reflect current information.
To that end, I’ve developed a short list of five commonly held Twitter beliefs and have tested them to see if they are hold true. Keep in mind these results are not scientific and only reflect my experiences. However, they may also cause you to do some testing of your own. In that case I’ve succeeded in helping you not take every Twitter mantra at face value.
Mantra #1 – Twitter trending topics make for great article ideas on your blog.
Fact – Take a look at the trending topics and on most any given day you’ll see Justin Bieber’s name trending. Well, if you write an entertainment blog, you may get some juice by blogging about him. More likely, your post will get lost in a sea of Bierberisms and fail to stand out. Consider NOT using Twitter trends for your story ideas.
Mantra #2 – The more followers, the better.
Fact – I can see where having a lot of followers can help you sell your brand. Trouble is, mostly all of the supposed power players on Twitter acquired these same followers en masse and have no idea who these people are. Mass following may work for Oprah, but I don’t see any evidence that anything other than a steady, but comparatively slow growth in the number of followers makes much a difference for anyone.
Mantra #3 – Abandon blogging for social networking, particularly Twitter and Facebook.
Fact – I actually like it when one of my competitors decides to leave the blogosphere in a quest to dominate social networking. That means I can go after their former advertisers for that part of the business! Facebook and Twitter may bring you the business, but now you’re wholly reliant on the success of someone else’s business model. I’m keeping my blogs and I’m using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and a handful of other sites as part of a united package.
Mantra #4 – Automated messages rock.
Fact – Actually, automated messages roll: they roll right past me. I hate them, I find them intensely impersonal and I see no value in sending a canned message out on what is supposed to be a “social” site.
Mantra #5 – Twitter must be used every single day.
Fact – This mantra can be a difficult one to refute especially if you have found a way to profit from Twitter as you would if you had a storefront and invited customers in every day. For some users, always being “open for business” is important, but for the vast majority of users there isn’t any need to be tethered to Twitter. Use is frequently or use it on occasion; just don’t go more than 30 days without tweeting otherwise I will cull through my list and remove you!
That’s it – a healthy list of five unhealthy mantras. I’m sure someone will dispute at least one of my points, but that is to be expected. Something could be a personal mantra, but that doesn’t mean it holds true for the entire Twitter community.