Skip to main content

How to put off Twitter followers

If you haven't a clue what Twitter is, read the bit in italics at the bottom first!

Most users of Twitter want more followers. I won't say it's quite an obsession, but they watch the number of followers as assiduously as authors track their books' Amazon rankings. However, a surprising number of Twitter users don't seem to think through how they tweet to make sure they are encouraging potential new followers.

Whenever someone starts following me - or I see an interesting comment retweeted - I take a look at that person's recent tweets. Two things particularly put me off following them. One is if their recent tweets are dominated by replies. A few replies are interesting - it gives the reader a chance to check out new people. But a whole string of replies starts to become a barrier to getting any feel for the person's twittering. Secondly I'm put off if the majority of the tweets are just 'I did this' or 'buy my stuff'. I don't mind the occasional bit of self-promotion - we all do it - but too much and it becomes tedious.

So get the balance right. If you've done a couple of replies, slip in an interesting link or a spot of wit or a great observation. If you've encouraged people to take a look at your product, tell them about something completely different. You only have a few seconds while I (and other potential followers) scan down your recent tweets to capture our attention. And because you never know when a new follower is about to check you out, you need to keep this pattern going. Of course you might not want followers, and that's fine. But if so, you're in the minority.

You can follow me - I'm @brianclegg - if you like what you see.

Twitter is often described as 'micro-blogging'. Like a blog it's posted to the world - anyone can read what you say - but you are limited to 140 characters. Despite this restriction it is proving a powerful means of communication, more open than a social network like Facebook, and providing a continuity through the day that isn't possible with a conventional blog. Twitter really takes off when updated from a mobile phone.

Broadly twittering splits into three types. 'What I'm eating' - an update on what you're up to, only really interesting to friends unless you are a celebrity twitterer like @stephenfry, 'witty observation' - something interesting or amusing that strikes you (here a camera phone can be particularly effective as you can link to a picture), and 'interesting finding on the net' - with a suitable link.


You can get a Twitter account (it's easy and free) at www.twitter.com

Comments

  1. Ah, Twitter. I'm there as HPRW, but I still haven't properly got to grips with the whole thing, and everyone else seems so very GOOD at it.

    I shall follow you now, and leave you a whole trail of messages to read about my day, and what my dog did, and what I think about what you've said. That'll teach you.

    (I'm here from my pitch party, by the way. It's working surprisingly well again.)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Mirror, mirror

A little while ago I had the pleasure of giving a talk at the Royal Institution in London - arguably the greatest location for science communication in the UK. At one point in the talk, I put this photograph on the screen, which for some reason caused some amusement in the audience. But the photo was illustrating a serious point: the odd nature of mirror reflections. I remember back at school being puzzled by a challenge from one of our teachers - why does a mirror swap left and right, but not top and bottom? Clearly there's nothing special about the mirror itself in that direction - if there were, rotating the mirror would change the image. The most immediately obvious 'special' thing about the horizontal direction is that the observer has two eyes oriented in that direction - but it's not as if things change if you close one eye. In reality, the distinction is much more interesting - we fool ourselves into thinking that the image behind the mirror is what's on ou