Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Twitter 102, aka You Are Your Twitter Stream

Today I had the pleasure of reading a ridiculously sensible post about Twitter use by Christine Pilch of Grow My Company. Ironically, the post was inspired by something I said on Twitter, and today's post is inspired by something Christine says on her blog:

Go ahead and take a look at your own twitter stream. If you don't see any @s, RTs and DMs to your followers, chances are you're missing the point

That line really resonated. I had just found a Twitter account that was >this< close to being the single best business use of Twitter I have ever seen. It had humor, it had relevant, unique content, was personal and fun. The only thing it was missing? Talking with people. There were no @s, RTs or, I'm betting, DMs in their stream. How frustrating, because otherwise it was a gold standard of the platform. The simple truth is You are your Twitter stream.

It's not just what you do (or don't) talk about on Twitter - what your contacts talk about also affect how you look. In a sense, your Twitter stream is what you wear in public. You might be dressed in a nice suit to go the office, but if your friends are wearing ripped jeans, it'll surely affect people's opinion of you and your choices.

Before you start RTing every quote or link that floats by, you might want to consider what that Retweet says about you and your business. Inspirational quotes can be inspirational, but what does a never-ending stream of platitudes express about your business? And those tips and news links - check 'em out before you RT them, because they might not reflect what you actually think.

Direct Messages (DMs) are a great way to initiate private business, or conduct a sidebar conversation away from the public eye. They aren't really a good way to initiate a conversation with a stranger, or to introduce yourself. Imagine yourself at a cocktail party, talking with a bunch of people, when someone drags you off to a quiet, private corner just to say, "Hi, I'm Barb! How can I help your business today?" Save the DMs for people you really need to talk to privately.

And then there's @. "@" on Twitter means you're talking with someone. They said something and you've replied, or you are saying something to them. It's the first thing I look for in someone else's Twitter stream. Why? Because a lack of "@" means a lack of conversation. I know that Twitter started as a microblogging tool, but it's more of a chat tool now. No "@" means that person is talking to themselves. And who wants to listen to someone talking to themselves?

In conclusion, I hope you'll be inspired by Christine's comment and take a look at your own Twitter Stream - because that's truly who you are on Twitter.
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