I want to start by saying that I do not mean to call you a dummy in a rude way, especially if you do use Twitter to build relationships. I have just come across so many individuals that do not take full advantage of Twitter and its magnificent powers. Twitter is a social media network, this is true, but each network has its own individual characteristics. You use LinkedIn differently than you would Facebook and the same goes for Twitter. If you are using Twitter as a channel to quickly respond to friends without the message being as public as it would on Facebook, then you are truly underestimating what Twitter is all about.
Let’s get one thing straight, Twitter is not meant to be used in the same way as Facebook. It is not as visual and more importantly, each person’s individual network is not as exclusive. What does this mean? Well think about it this way, who are you friends on Facebook? They are most likely people you know pretty well with a few oddball acquaintances and one or two people that you were unsure if you had met somewhere or not. You have the power to choose who is in your friend group and who gets to see your posts. Facebook is basically high school.
Now when you look at Twitter, it is slightly different. You can choose and restrict who you want to follow but anybody can follow along with your tweets. This also means you can venture out of just following your friends and follow some celebrities or influential people within your industry. You could follow me (even though I am not all that influential…yet) because you find what I tweet to be interesting or insightful. Twitter truly is an open network where you have the ability to build new relationships from scratch. So don’t restrict yourself!
It is amazing how many people get random mentions or replies from unknown people and choose not to respond. This is not Facebook, you shouldn’t be “ew-ing” when you get a random friend request…or in Twitter’s case, a random follow or mention. You are bound to come across spam tweets and mentions, but it is all about using your judgement. It is usually pretty easy to tell which tweets are random promos or spam, and which ones are actually creating conversation with you. Stop ignoring them.
Your tweets are out there in the public eye (unless your account is protected) so people could come across them and respond through a Twitter search or just random profile browsing, and this could all come as an unexpected shock to you. This is somewhat understandable but it really irks me when individuals include #hashtags in their tweets and yet still choose to ignore those random people that reply to them. The whole point of the #hashtag is to make your tweet more searchable and include it in a community based conversation, it is not just #thecoolthingtodo. Actually, #thecoolthingtodo would be a pretty neat #hashtag conversation in which people can give their input on what the cool thing to do is…but that’s going off on a tangent.
The point is, #hashtags are not just cool tweet accessories but rather a tool which you could use to get involved with the Twitter community. If you use a #hashtag in your tweet, don’t be surprised if someone random does reply to it. They are most likely not trying to be creepy. Have you ever heard anyone say “Ew, he’s a Twitter creeper”? I’m assuming not because Twitter works very differently from Facebook. If someone replies to you with an actual thought out tweet, they are probably just trying to start a non-creepy conversation. Stop trying to be the cool kid on Facebook when you’re actually on Twitter.
For tips on how you can get more out of Twitter, check out my blog posts with Twitter tips and how to use it for personal branding. Which kind of tweeter are you? One that enjoys jumping into random conversations or one that prefers to ignore random people?