It would be fair to say I am a Twitter newbie. Maybe not a completely new-born type, but no more than a toddler – I am still figuring it out. I think I am beginning to understand it a bit, but it is happening in small, toddly-wobbly steps.
Having used Twitter for about a month now, I am proud to announce that I have learnt a few things:
– Cut out unnecessary waffle – there are only 140 characters in a tweet to get my message across. I may not be perfect yet, but I am trying.
– The purpose of the ‘tiny URLs’ – the URLs eat into the 140 characters limit, so the shorter, the better.
– It makes sense to have a short Twitter ID, because it is also cuts into the 140 characters limit. Anyone with a really long name would be well advised to use a short nick-name as a user ID. This includes me, hence @My1Penny. Short and simple.
– Hashtags – I now know that they are used as tweet search filters.
I feel so enlightened already!
There are still quite a few things I don’t understand, though. For example – I have a few followers who I don’t know at all. Most of them seem to be businesses looking for new opportunities on-line. Why did they choose to follow me? Is there some sort of ‘Twitter newbie arrival’ alert which tells them that a new person has arrived and started tweeting? I would be interested to know how this works.
Looking at various profiles among the tweeting community, I’ve noticed that some people not only have following in thousands, but they also follow thousands of other people. I can understand that an individual may have a huge following, but how do they manage to follow thousands of others? Can you really follow every single person out of, say, ten thousand? If it is possible, I would like to learn the secret, there must be some super-efficient way of doing it.
As for my own following, it has grown dramatically since I joined Twitter – by over 2,000%. Last time I checked, the grand total of my followers stood at 41, as compared to just two in the early days. I think I prefer to quote the percentage growth, it sounds by far more impressive.
Trying to figure out who follows me and who I follow (I should know that, shouldn’t I), I’ve come to a conclusion that Twitter has some scope for improvement. To begin with, all my followers and ‘followees’ (I made up that word) were listed on my page in chronological order. My friends and acquaintances were mixed up with businesses and institutions such as BBC, CNN, the Economist etc. I have discovered that it is possible to create a ‘friends’ list which should make my life much easier as it separates those I follow ‘properly’ from those who are there just for reference or quick catch-up on the news. I can’t find a way of doing a similar thing with my followers – am I missing something, or does it not exist?
So, dear Twitter, I have a small suggestion to make. Would it be possible to organise one’s followers into lists or categories, e.g. ‘those I really care about’ and ‘those who are just there’? I would like to be able to keep my genuine follower friends separate from those who follow me only out of hope for new business.
I don’t know whether you are fully automated and run by robots, or whether there are human beings in your organisation who actually read things, but if they are, please would you consider making it easy to sort followers into categories? Or, if such a ‘followers sorting’ facility already exists, please make it a bit more obvious, so that toddling Tweeter newbies like me can find it…
Happy tweeting, everyone!