Thursday, April 4, 2019

How to Enjoy Using Twitter (No Foolin')

Yes, it’s possible to enjoy using Twitter instead of getting stressed, frustrated, and downright angry.

How?

I have four main suggestions for those who truly want to use Twitter to make connections around the world without tearing their hair out along the way.This post assumes a reader already has knowledge of how Twitter works and how frustrating it can be. However, if you’ve never tried out the site because of all the bad stuff you’ve heard, I can assure you there are ways to keep the monster under control and have fun.

Connect with people who share your interests.


If you're on Twitter because you want to see and engage in vicious political discussions, it will be easy to find followers who are willing to agree, fight, stalk, and threaten.

But if you want to avoid that kind of community and instead search for those who are more interested in knitting, cats, books, mountain climbing, etc., begin by posting tweets, liking, and retweeting the things you see that fit your interests. You can also use the search box to enter possible hashtag topics (#amwriting, #catlovers, #bookreviews, #adventure, #mountainclimbing, etc.). When you find folks who tweet what you like, follow them and see if they follow back.

The goal is to build a social network, not accumulate followers willy-nilly.

Connect with folks who are just getting starting as well as those who have a large network.


When checking a new follower’s profile,  look at how many people they follow, how many followers they have, and how much they tweet as well as the content of their tweets.

Famous people, for instance, have a lot of followers but they follow very few. And when they tweet, they usually tweet to the Universe, rarely connecting with individuals. It's fun to follow a few folks like that as long as you don't expect them to be part of your social network.

A word of caution: There are lots of creepy people out there with fake profiles, suspicious Twitter IDs, and strange messages. When someone new follows you, but their profile looks phony or out of your comfort zone, don’t follow back. In some cases, when it’s clear the person is trolling for the purpose of stalking or harassing you, block ‘em!

Always check a person’s profile and their most recent tweets before you follow back.

Avoid anyone who tweets about subjects or with words that cause you to feel uncomfortable, stressed or angry.


You don't keep toxic people in  your real life, do you? Then why would you consider it good manners to keep toxic people around on social media?

Remember that Twitter is not a fact-based source of information. Twitter is social media. Don't let anyone tell you it's important to listen to all points of view on a site that's full of fake profiles, manipulators, trolls, data gatherers, and other sneaky sorts. Pick your tweeps carefully and don't hesitate to dump the ones that pulled the wool over your eyes.

Control what you see in your timeline instead of what Twitter thinks you should see.


You can let Twitter decide what you’d like to see, but you’ll miss a lot of opportunities to connect with folks Twitter buries (accidentally or on purpose).

Or you can remove the Twitter-generated controls and let the timeline roll along so you get a wide sample of tweets from people you follow. The problem here is the probability you’ll miss a lot of tweets from favored friends.

There’s a solution. Use the List option to create a collection that you can call Friends or Tweeps or Agents or Breaking News (or Cat Lovers or anything else you want). Scroll through the unfiltered timeline when you have time and try to engage with someone new. Also, review the lists you created to make sure you don’t miss updates from your favorite tweeps.

Are you a Twitter fan? I certainly am. You can find me there at Twitter.com/PStoltey



Pat (Patricia) Stoltey is the author of four novels published by Five Star/Cengage: two amateur sleuth, one thriller that was a finalist for a Colorado Book Award in 2015, and the historical mystery Wishing Caswell Dead (December 20, 2017), a finalist for the 2018 Colorado Book Awards. This novel is also now available in a large print edition.

Pat lives in Northern Colorado with her husband Bill, Scottish Terrier Sassy (aka Doggity), and brown tabby Katie (aka Kitty Cat).

You can learn more about Pat at her website/blog, on Facebook, and Twitter. She was recently interviewed for the Colorado Sun’s SunLit feature that you can find at the Colorado Sun website.

Images via Pixy

15 comments :

  1. I'm just dipping a toe in, in terms of participating. I like that comments are longer and they allow photos. Still haven't figured out how to follow a specific conversation or how to follow hashtags.

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  2. I finally learned about the hashtag thing. If you search for #amwriting, for instance, you'll see a world of tweets from those who have used the hashtag. And then there's that #MSWL (manuscript wish list) where agents post tweets about what they'd like to see in queries. I need to spend more time there.

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  3. This is enlightening, Pat. A few years ago, I intended to learn tweeting, but somehow time got away from me, and it never happened. Will I try to learn it now? Maybe. At least you have me thinking about it. :-)

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    1. I've made some nice connections on Twitter, Linda. It's something to consider.

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  4. Great tips, Patricia! I am honored to be followed by one of those mega-huge Twitter people (RiffTrax) and I Tweet everything they send out just to stay in their loop.

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    1. I'll have to look at RiffTrax and see what they're about. Thanks for the heads-up, Alex.

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  5. This is a terrific post, Pat. I've been using Twitter for some time now but have only recently figured out how to use it to my best interests. I follow folks in the #writingcommunity and interact with them a lot. Then I also have a few followers that frequently share interesting photos, links, and of course cat stuff. :-) Your tips are most helpful as I consider how to narrow my focus on the site.

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    1. It takes time on the site to figure it all out, Maryann. I also love the cat and dog stuff, and darling little kids too. Anything that makes me smile or laugh draws me in like a magnet.

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    2. I think the important thing to keep in mind about Twitter and other social media is that the point is to meet people and have fun. In my post here at BRP some time ago, I likened it to going to a party. That appeals to me.

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  6. I used folders to keep groups organized - then I can see just specific people's tweets.

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    1. I'm working now to improve those lists so I can find people easier. Takes time but it's worth it.

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  7. I did Twitter for a while, enough to get over 5K followers, but I felt it was preaching to the choir. I'm sure I did it wrong, but I got bored with it. I have a friend who has 62K followers but that's not going to happen with me. I find it a time suck, and Facebook is enough of a time suck for me, but I have made lots of friends there. Maybe I should do my ON THIS DAY posts on Twitter.

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    1. My biggest Twitter goals are to connect with interesting real people and discover new authors and books to read. A literary lawyer I know (Susan Spann) used to tweet legal tips to authors every Wednesday under #publaw (but she has oved on to climbing mountains in Japan instead. You can find some very fascinating folks out there in Twitterland.

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  8. Good tips, Patricia! Do keep in mind that when you add someone to a list on twitter, they see it. So be careful what you call those lists - "Twitter creeps to watch out for and call the cops on" may be a bad name for a list, even if the list itself is warranted. :)

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    1. Excellent point, Holly. Now you made me think of the kinds of lists a writer might choose when doing research...but I won't go there. :D

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice.