Well, 12 hours is too much!
Quoted online recently, Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone responded to “claims that some users are finding Twitter addictive, and spending up to 12 hours each day logged into the platform. ‘To me, that sounds unhealthy,’ he said.”
I’m sometimes asked “how much should I tweet”?
There are no hard and fast rules – you bend social media to suit you – but I’ll take a leap and say 12 hours on Twitter a day requires intervention.
I’ve been accused of tweeting too much, and with more than 45,000 tweets under my belt I can see why people might make a case for that. I’ve had one young man approach me to say he’d unfollowed me on Twitter because I tweeted too much.
[Segue way: everyone’s Twitter experience is different. Your Twitter experience has been set up by you, and can be tweaked and changed if you’re not enjoying it. If you’re only following a handful of Twitter accounts, and one is more active than others, it will stand out like a child having a tantrum in a silent supermarket aisle. If you’re following many prolific accounts, they balance each other out and your stream doesn’t tend to focus on one person].
I’m happy with my level of tweeting and with the many things I use Twitter for, it makes sense.
I use Twitter for:
- Business tweeting – promoting myself, sharing knowledge, reminding people of the work I do and what I can offer
- Friendships – chatting to ‘real life’ friends, arranging to meet, checking on how they are, having conversations with them
- Learning – reading, responding to and retweeting educational links
- Conversations – joining in on regular hashtag conversations like #commschat or #SMOchat to talk about social media, PR, communications, marketing and so on
- Keeping up with breaking news and sharing newsworthy items
- Sharing what I’m doing with other social media tools – sometimes checking in on Foursquare, sharing what I’m watching via Miso, sharing Instagram photos and so on
This means there are ebbs and flows with my tweets – and probably yours, too. For example:
- When you’re taking part in a hashtag conversation, you might send off 6, 8, 20 tweets on one topic within half an hour
- When you’re chatting to a few friends and trying to settle on a place to meet on the weekend, you might have quite a few back and forth tweets about that somewhat ‘mundane’ topic
- When it’s the working day and you’ve got a tonne of tasks to get through or a deadline to meet, you may be quiet (and even unresponsive to tweets) for hours and hours
The best Twitter connections, or friendships, are like the ones in real life. They stick with you, whether you’re in a particularly talkative patch, or whether you’re quiet and need to withdraw for a while.
Good tweeps will understand when you’re at a conference or other event and madly tweeting away on the hashtag. Good tweeps will understand that sometimes it takes 30 hours for you to respond to their tweet (of course, expectations of brands or organisations on Twitter will differ from the pressure placed on individuals). Good tweeps will be blind to your lengthy conversation with one pal.
That’s another thing that networks like Twitter have helped me to develop: speed reading / content filtering / tuning out skills. But don’t forget that social dashboard tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck also enable you to filter out a hashtag or topic for a period of time. So if you don’t want to know about #auspol or #respill any longer, you can block those tweets from appearing in your stream.
The best gauge of whether you’re tweeting “the right amount”?
The answer is whether you’re happy with your current Twitter experience. If it aint broke, don’t fix it.
If “it is broke” then consider joining more conversations, initiating conversations, asking people how they are, joining hashtag streams. Your tweeps will appreciate that – that’s part of why many join Twitter in the first place.