Learning to Tweet

twitter symbolI’ve been learning to tweet for months now, and I’m still not sure why.

For a Friday Fun post back in 2011, NHWN bloggers answered the question, Love It or Hate It? Three loved Twitter, three were less thrilled, and I wasn’t on board.

Now I am.

I decided to join when I started my personal blog, back in December. I blundered around for a while, experienced the great time suck of reading lots of great stuff as well as junk, made tepid forays into posting tweets, inadvertently irritated someone I follow, and gave up.

But every Wednesday, my posts for Living in Place go out on my Twitter feed, and The Tao of Twitterlately, that’s generated some traffic. So I buckled down and reread the first half of The Tao of Twitter by Mark Schaefer.

It was Jamie who recommended this book to me a few years ago, and the first time I read it, I might as well have been reading Sanskrit. Mind you, I didn’t even have an account back then.

Now I do, so I cracked the Kindle and took another stab at what Schaefer has to say.

According to Schaefer, Twitter is good for Targeted Connections, Meaningful Content and Authentic Helpfulness. This all sounds good.

Next, he outlines the basics of setting up an account, lists 22 ways to find followers, and devotes a chapter to finding relevant and targeted audience – what he calls your tribe.

Mark W. Schaefer

Mark W. Schaefer

When I reached Advanced Twitter Concepts, which begins, Believe it or not, your Twitter journey is just beginning, I took a break – which is exactly what Schaefer recommends.

This is what I’m learning so far:

I’m not particularly interested in celebrities, and I’m not really that interested in strangers who just want to sell me their books or services.

I’m a people person, so I’m looking for people who share my interests in literary fiction; living in Vermont; interesting ideas, especially where culture and politics meet; making the most of middle age; homesteading and local foods, hiking, biking, skiing and generally being outdoors. Recently, I’ve decided to learn how to hunt so I really can step off the beaten path. And finally, there are connections to people in the medical field who need a writer to translate medical research for general readers.

Schaefer recommends spending twenty minutes a day on this platform. I’m not quite there. Some days, I get lost on Twitter, and other days, I simply don’t log on.

I’ve been experimenting with his advice to Tweet three different kinds of tweets: one about something of general interest, one about industry news, and one with an opinion, news or humor. I haven’t yet his mark of three tweets a day; I’m still aiming for three days in a row – at least while I’m finding my footing on this particular platform called Twitter.

Do you tweet? Do you love it or hate it? How do you use it? Please let me know in the comments below or @debluskin

Deborah Lee LuskinDeborah Lee Luskin is a digital immigrant. In print, she’s the award-winning author of Into the Wilderness; on radio, she’s a regular commentator for Vermont Public Radio; and on twitter, she can be found @debluskin.

60 thoughts on “Learning to Tweet

  1. I love twitter but I was an early bird (as a writer and artist) so I learned the ropes from my geek friends. Which helped me in getting a Shorty Award (that’s twitter’s annual award.)
    Twitter is what you make of it – it is a great place to meet writers but it’s also important to meet people who aren’t writers (writers aren’t the only ones who read books.)
    If you are not willing to help promo others, than twitter is never going to work for you.
    Happy Tweeting!!!

      • Thanks for the hint. I put a live link to my handle in a more obvious place – as well as in my bio.

    • Thanks for all your comments here. I’m certainly not adverse to promoting other people’s work, but I want to do it in a way that is more organic than I’ve discovered on Twitter thus far. If I’m going to endorse something/someone, I want it to be genuine, and the reason for my endorsement has to grow out of something that makes sense to me and my mission of advancing issues through narrative. I’m definitely willing to promote ideas, links, people and books if I know about them, but not simply because they’re following me. There has to be a connection.

  2. I like Twitter a lot but it took me a while to figure it out. Like you, I like connecting with people with common interests, and I do get blog traffic from it. It’s kind of fun and different and while it can be overwhelming, it’s fun to chat with people you wouldn’t otherwise!

    • Yes – I agree on all points. But I also have trouble finding time for those I know and love in real time! Still figuring it out. Thanks for your comment – and for reading the blog.

  3. I love twitter a lot. I tweet about: Ideas (book ideas, poem ideas, song ideas); also When I love a blog post, I make sure to promote it on my account; to promote my blog, and; to write my opinion. Twitter also helps me to be concise since it only allows 140 characters. 🙂

  4. Thanks for this informative post! Went to follow you on Twitter, but didn’t see a link here. I’m new to blogging and twitter as well, and found the 3 tweets a day advice to be a great idea.

    • Thanks for the comment. I just put my twitter handle in a more obvious place to make it easier to find me there!
      Glad you found the three tweets/day a good idea. It’s my eventual goal!

  5. This was useful, especially the bit about the three Tweets a day.

    I confess, I only joined to follow a celebrity who does not have a Facebook :-/

    • I’m fascinated that it was a celebrity lured in to Twitter and here you are, making something of it for yourself. What a metamorphosis! Thanks for your comment.

  6. I love twitter but sometimes I don’t have time to log in and out of it, so when I know in advance of the lack of time I schedule some tweets for the days when I won’t be able to use my phone. It helps, a little.

    • Learning how to schedule tweets is another steep pitch in the learning curve. I may decide to learn how to sift my feeds first, so I have the best food for thought to reply to. And something I didn’t have room for in this post: I don’t have any social media apps on my phone. Gasp!

  7. I have a twitter account that I don’t use much. Mostly I just post notices of my blog posts. I tried using daily a few years ago, but just never found it adding anything important to my life so I’ve not been using it much lately.

    • Clearly, Twitter is not for everyone – and I may turn out to be one of those who turn the program off in time. But I felt this way about Facebook when I first signed up, and now I use it all the time (though I skip over all cat videos). I’m also on LinkedIn, which I use but don’t love. I’m curious about Instagram and Pinterest, too, especially since I’ve renewed my interest in photography and have been shooting all the photos for my blog. But I’m on the computer all day writing, and there comes a point in the day when I want to stretch out on the couch and read.

  8. This is a good article for people like me who think there’s something wrong with me because I dont want to spend time with social media and neglect real human beings. I know that social media is good for my blogs but I’m feeling so much guilt about time management. I’m addition, my writing time is retting sucked dry.
    Mmmmm … What to do ???
    I will definitely read this book as I think it could answers many of my questions and frustrations. 😳

    • I have to say I love this part of blogging: conversations with readers. I’ve been told that Twitter enables conversations. I’m keeping my ear to the ground. . .

  9. Reblogged this on Shewrite63 and commented:
    I follow Tweeps with interesting stories and a sense of humour. I follow and engage with authors I have read and enjoyed. I unfollow people who continuously sell and over-promote. Portion your time online wisely.

  10. Hootsuite has me liking Twitter more, I schedule retweets of interesting articles throughout the day. Still learning though so this was really helpful! I’ll have to read the book too! Roar!

  11. I love technological advancement, and for me, Twitter is not one of them. I used to have Twitter, but I hated the whole thing. I got rid of it so fast…. Mine was @tweetstreet101…

    • Sounds like we’re in the same boat. I’m hoping for an “a ha” moment – before the end of the third quarter. By October first, I’ll cut my loses and log out.

  12. I must admit I’m not a huge fan. I also tried it a while ago purely to follow a few celebs but now I’m writing my first novel I have so far stuck to Facebook and my blog as social media outlets to promote its forthcoming. So far so good. It seems to be working! Thanks for the post though. I may just give tweeting another go.

    • I’m finding it more interesting as a way to discover other people’s blogs than a marketing tool, and I’m hoping I’ll eventually make real connections, define a tribe I’d like to belong to – if such a group exists.

  13. My first reaction would be to say I hate it! But really, once you get used to the frustratingly short 140 character limit and the never-ending list of useful hashtags, it’s really not that bad.

    • The 140 characters actually appeal to me; it’s the purpose of the whole enterprise that still has me slightly baffled . . . but I’m starting to figure it out.

  14. Yes. So I’m waiting to discover if it’s worth the time and effort, or if it’s another of those popular culture phenoms that just leave me in the dust.

  15. I wrote three blog posts about my love/hate relationship with Twitter. I still don’t get it. Twitter makes me feel kind of like I’m standing against the wall at the Junior High dance, waiting for someone to ask me to do the Macarena. Only I don’t know how to do the Macarena.

  16. I understand completely, but I have to say that the one really positive thing I’ve discovered about Twitter is how it points me to great posts. A relationship of “just friends” and not a heavy romance, for sure.

  17. Hello,nice blog and very helpful!I have had a very short experience with twitter and quite honestly get confused at times.My biggest complaint is the limited number of characters you are allowed to comment with.But I have decided to purchase the book you talked about-The Tao of Twitter-To help me with more exposure since I am writing an eBook on SS Disability.Thanks again and good luck!

  18. It’s a whole new world out there in twitterland. I think many of us are still learning the many avenues to connect there. I think many are also just learning the importance of sharing good posts by hitting the twitter button to give us all some added exposure to our writing. Hashtags are important to get to the proper eyes we want on our work.

    • Thanks for these insights – and for sharing my post on Twitter. Because I’m such a newbie, I’m wondering why you chose to copy it rather than “Retweet”? Is there a rationale for that? Hashtags! Trying to learn it all bit by bit! thanks for your comments.

      • Hi Deborah. I’m not sure if I’m understanding the question correctly, but you have your ‘share’ buttons on your post. When I liked your post and chose to share it, I did so by clicking on your ‘twitter’ button. This automatically creates the link to your blog and adds my handle @pokercubster as the person who tweeted it. Does this help?

      • My inability to be clear is an indication of how muddled I am about this platform. Your explanation sheds light. I get it now. Thanks so much for taking the time – – –

  19. I use it. As of today, after about two weeks, I have a little over 1000 followers. I go through my list to make sure there is no undesirable elements on there. It’s useful.

    • That’s a lot of followers in a short time! I’d love to know more about how you find it useful – because I’m not there yet, but I don’t want to give up until I’ve given it a fair shot.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • It’s useful in the sense that you’re building a following on there like you’ve done on here. Like other platforms, if the person is not exposed to you or your work, then they will not support you. I thought it would be difficult at first, but after engaging a few people and building relationships with them…they began to retweet things and when others see it…it’s like our blogs…they either like it or they don’t. I honestly don’t think the approach is much different than how I approached FB as well.

  20. I’m one who has an account, but keeps wondering why, though I think I need it for work connections. That “Tao” may well help. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • I’m starting to see the Tao of it, but I’m still far from being a convert! Do let me know if the book helps. And thanks for reading the blog!

  21. I’m still trying to route it out. I’m not even tweeting every day. I personally get annoyed with people who Twit too much, makes it too difficult to dig out worthwhile info.

  22. I know exactly what you mean about people who tweet to much. I feel the same way about people who keep their houses too clean!
    The way I figure it, we each have to figure out how to make the platform work for us – and deciding that it’s just not a good fit is also okay.

  23. Pingback: I Love Twitter | Live to Write – Write to Live

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