1. Why do you do tweet?
Answer: I tweet because it’s enjoyable and it gives back. Twitter helps you find friends, learn things, keep up with news and share what you find useful. I’ve also used it to boost my own profile and gain more clients; a nice side benefit, but not the main purpose. Twitter can make me laugh, smile when I’m down (cue the violins), alert me to a new opportunity or way of thinking, inspire me and invigorate me. Why wouldn’t I use it?
2. What do you tweet? (Aka: Who cares what you’ve had for breakfast?)
Answer: I try to focus my tweets on certain themes. One theme is my career and specialities (so I tweet about social media, mainstream media and PR). Another theme is my personal life – I share how my day is going, things that I find funny, news from my own backyard, and occasionally frustrations (though I intentionally try to keep this minimal. I don’t like reading whiny content, so I try not to produce negative content). Finally, an important part of tweeting is having a conversation with others – so often, tweets will be led by what my friends are talking about.
Some of my tweets might be about a world crisis and yes, other tweets will be about what I had for breakfast. We all need a bit of fluffy buttermilk pancake in our lives.
3. How can you even read tweets? I don’t understand them.
Answer: There are some abbreviations and well-established hashtags which may make tweets difficult to interpret on the first look. But just as you’ve learned that NSW stands for New South Wales, you will absorb that ROFL means ‘roll on floor laughing’. It’s not impossible to understand, otherwise millions wouldn’t be using it.
Ironically, Twitter.com itself isn’t the best platform to use to read tweet conversations. If you can’t read conversations, then tweets can look strange and inpenetrable. Use tools like Hootsuite or even search.twitter.com to view people’s Twitter conversations, to really get a feel for the two-way nature of Twitter.
4. Where do you find time to tweet?
Answer: I tweet an average of 29.4 times a day. Where do I find the time? Well, it comes down to your phone. When I’m waiting for the train, I’ll send a few tweets from my iPhone (and Echofon is my favourite Twitter phone client). When I’m waiting for friends or clients at a café, I’ll tweet. When I’m sitting on the armchair during a TV commercial, I will tweet.
Twitter can nimbly fit into your life and needn’t be a time drain. If you’re committed to wringing the most out of the network, you’ll dip in and out during the day.
I’m not saying you have to tweet 30 times a day or even five; use Twitter as you see fit – but I find plenty of time.
5. Who ARE the people you’re talking to on Twitter? Aka: Aren’t you scared of stalkers/strangers?
Answer: Good Twitter connections quickly become friends. Amazingly quickly. Maybe it’s a result of my years on Twitter, but I don’t feel like I’m engaging with strangers. It’s like we’re at a party and I’m happily meeting people.
Lots of my Twitter connections live in the same city, work in similar industries, and are interested in similar things. We get each other’s jokes.
Other Twitter friends are interstate or overseas, and tend to work in similar fields to me. We share information and ask each other questions.
On Twitter, you can build up a community of like-minded people, just as you do with your ‘real life friends’. You can also engage with people who challenge you, with alternative views and values.
And yes, I’ve left the confines of my house to meet a ‘stranger’ in real life. Lots of times, these are done via larger ‘tweetups’ and then develop into individual friendships. I haven’t met a tweep yet that I’ve been disappointed with, or surprised by – they all have been true to their online personalities.
So – the people I’m talking to? They’re mates that move around in similar spheres to me; whether it be geographical or professional or cultural.
What about you? What’s the question you’re asked most about Twitter? Or, if you’re not on Twitter, what would you most like to know?