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Top 5 Ways NOT To Use Twitter


I have been Twittering now for quite a while – since November of 2007. In my 1583 tweets (at this time), I have learned a lot about how to use and how not to use Twitter. It has taken me a while to get accustomed to the flow of Twitter – it definitely requires a different communication style than chat, email, or IM, even though it is a combination of the three.

Here are my top 5 ways NOT to use Twitter:

5. Don’t complain/whine about personal matters – Complaining 140 characters at a time is not going to make anyone want to follow you. Instead, reframe your frustration and use it as an opportunity to poke fun of yourself/the situation, or better, tweet something inspiring/positive for people who may be in a similar place as you.

For example, Zappos CEO, Tony, recently locked himself outside of his hotel room in Mexico – on his porch, no less. Instead of tweeting about the situation in a negative way, he tweeted about it in a neutral/fun way and it ended up being an enjoyable conversation with his followers, while he waited 45 minutes for someone to rescue him.

Tony says that Twitter can make otherwise frustrating situations actually enjoyable. According to Tony:

I now almost looked forward to situations that would normally be frustrating, because I’ve learned that almost any situation can be reframed to be funny as a tweet, which then makes the situation in real life funny as well.

(original article)

4. Don’t use Twitter to endlessly self-promote.. Twitter is an incredibly powerful tool for getting your “brand” out to the world, but it is equally important that you engage other people and not just promote your agenda.

For example, by asking questions and posting links to interesting articles, you are taking the “me” out of Twitter and instead using it as a conversation-generating tool, which will be far more valuable to your followers. I always try to tweet or re-tweet interesting articles or topics that I believe people will have an opinion about. As a result, people respond to my tweets, thereby creating an ongoing conversation about a wide variety of interesting topics.

3. Don’t constantly tell the world what you are doing. As funny as this sounds since it is the default question Twitter asks of us, no one is interested in constantly hearing about the mundane activities of your life. I understand how a random tweet about what you are doing is innocent and can be fun, but Twitter is much more valuable for engaging an audience/starting conversations than for telling people about the otherwise boring activities we all partake in.

Instead of just telling people what you are doing, SHOW them. You can do this by using a service such as TwitPic to post pics from your camera phone. You will notice on my blog’s sidebar that I have a widget which automatically displays my most recent TwitPics. These are pics I took from my phone and uploaded directly to Twitter. Pictures tend to receive a lot of click-throughs, as people rather look at something than read about it.

2. Don’t use Auto-DM’s and Auto-replies. This is just as bad as spam. Auto-DM’s and Auto-replies are so common now that they are simply annoying. If you want anyone to take you seriously on Twitter, turn these functions off and manually engage your followers via replies or direct messages.

1. Don’t use Twitter to massively follow and unfollow people. I understand that people run auto-follow scripts on hundreds of people at a time in order to gain new followers themselves, but if you are going to do this, don’t automatically unfollow those people the next day; that looks disingenuous. If you are going to follow someone and they mutually follow you, it is kind of sleazy to automatically unfollow them the next day. Where is the appreciation for their reciprocal follow?

So, there you have it. Those are the ways I recommend using and NOT using Twitter. If you enjoyed this article, please consider re-tweeting this post by clicking here.

Do you have any tips about how NOT to use Twitter? Share them in the comments!

74 thoughts on “Top 5 Ways NOT To Use Twitter”

  1. @Free brushes , twitter bring traffic ” targeted traffic ” so it become easy for you to promote your affiliates or even bring traffic for your blog .

  2. It is odd that this article which was posted in January first has been posted again and is as valid today as it was then. Nice way of just squeezing it in!

  3. About Point #2, it is definitely something I hated on myspace, all of the automated posting, it came to a point where I just ignored it, and became quite sick of myspace.

    On point #1, I definitely think that going about twitter to “game it” is something that you shouldn’t do, it is definitely about the quality of your followers, and earning the followers at a natural pace and not forcing yourself upon others, that will only get you so far.

    -Randy

  4. Nobody cares about your personal complaints unless you’re famous. So there’s no point in twitting/bloggin/whatever about your personal problems – nobody cares.

  5. Definitely the best advice is not to use Twitter to overly promote. I’m getting a bit burned out on all the coverage of Tweeting myself, but it does have a time and place and is still a useful tool.

  6. In the first week of using twitter i didnt think much about it, but as i added more people who were interested and prefessionals in the same area that iam in, it became even more interesting as people post links to topics of interest even if they are not initially directed at you, im really sort of using it to connect with other professionals its always good to get some one elses opinion and any followers can also get good information from what you tweet about.

    Good post thanks.

  7. There are many who just try to spam around in twitter. trying to get more followers and follow people on massive way just to self promote their sites. i am trying to get real followers who are active and interesting ones

  8. I agree. To many people don’t ‘get’ Twitter. So many come over from Facebook and think it’s lame, they’re doing it wrong. Twitter is a communication tool, think of it as text messages for people who don’t have a phone. It’s not about ‘look at me’, nobody cares if you’re walking your dog. But for example, if while walking your dog you suddenly see something ‘important’ like a shop owner putting a closing down sale sign out the front and TVs were being sold for 20 dollars, well some might find that interesting and useful.

    There are no places to put a lot of info about yourself on Twitter, nowhere to upload photos (well there are ways but not as straight forward as Facebook) none of the crap apps (thank god). Twitter is about ‘communication’, real communication. Facebooks great for photos and banter back n forth between friends, and the games. Twitter is about short concise ‘worth reading’ information. If you are going to constantly tweet about avery little thing in your life (i call it spamming. And I think you’ll find all those little things you do in your day are the exact same things I do in my day, maybe just on different days) you become the boy who tweeted wolf and you will soon be ignored. When you do have something relevant to say no body will be reading.

  9. All the 5 points you covered are good. But I don't understand why you put them in reverse order. If point 1 is for the highest priority then I don't think because all the points have the same value. You rarely get much of the traffic even if you 10000 followers. Better you think to put the same efforts elsewhere.

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  11. I don’t use Twitter anymore, it is for me not usefull and twitter has changed in a wrong way, the most of the tweets that I read are pointless, I can only find things on google, besides that Twitter is not from myself so it feels that I have no control over it. Twitter is a kind of race, who has the most followers etc etc. I’m don’t want to be of a part like a hype, the same for facebook and other social network sites

  12. Besides that, what kind of usefull information can you type in 140 characters? Twitter made his own thing like the shortner url’s, a lot of spammy people abuse that to get their spammy sites behind the shortner url’s. If you Blog, than why you put the same info on twitter, it’s double and it cost your more engery. I tried Twitter many many times and I also deleted it many times, I feel myself not happy on those kind of network sites, and If you have no good feeling about it, than please don’t do it. That twitter is good for buseniss is also not true, I see twitter for buseniss is spam in any kind of way. The most of the company sites has no more followers than 50 or maybe 60, what a kind of great deal is it.

    My suggestion is if you want something to say, create a blog or a website, enable comments, you have more fun with that than get a twitter account and see that 80% of your followers are spammers, you feel like you are talking to bots. Besides that, what are followers .. everyone on this planet can read your twitter, so the counts of followers are nothing more than numbers what say nothing at all.

  13. Everyone has Twitter .. woo hoo … every blog has a connection to follow them on Twitter .. but why? is your life better now than 5 years ago when twitter was not excist? No so please .. be yourself and do not follow the hype

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