2.02.2010

Getting in Twitter-shape: Week 1


Some of you may recognize the above image. It's Twitter's Fail Whale image that users receive when Twitter basically breaks down from usage overages, glitches, etc. It's a fitting photo for me since I basically fail at Twitter.

I'm not sure when I joined, but it wasn't that long ago. Maybe a year? I don't know. I got a user name (@tisworthwhile - because thisisworthwhile was too many characters) and started searching for real people that I knew. The first 30 people on my Following list are those guys (well, I don't really know @lancearmstrong, but he's the one who even got my attention turned onto Twitter so he's there at the #1 spot).

I'd tweet now and then and was really into all the pithy things my friends were saying. Then I started to "network" and that's when shit hit the fan.

I added all the bloggers I knew of. Then I added bloggers THEY knew of. I searched for terms like #Austin and #sahm and #feminism and I added everyone who tweeted about those topics.

Soon, I'd gone from roughly 65 people I followed to well over 300. The 65 had been manageable and fun. I'd interact and get involved in conversations. With 300 I was lost. Conversations whizzed over my head like so many criss-crossing telephone lines. And so I went radio silent.

How could I possibly catch up??

Luckily for me, before I'd become overwhelmed, I met Maria (of @boredmommy). She was brand new to Twitter, but had an impressive Following and Followers list. At the time, she was following roughly 600 and had nearly as many, if not more people following her. What really caught my eye was that she wasn't selling anything and she wasn't [over] promoting her blog. She was participating and getting out there and she seemed to really do it well. She was making friends. (Today she has over 3000 Followers and is Following less than half that herself.)

We struck up a friendship almost immediately (it's hard not to with her quick wit and virtual warmth and openness) and maintained contact via our blogs and email even though I dropped off the face of Twitter, so of course she was the one I turned to for help in getting back in the game.

Why do I even want to get back in the game??

Well, because I'm missing out on a wonderful community of bloggers and women. Twitter is a way of making connections and that's what 2010 is going to be about for me. Maria's ability to connect on Twitter has enabled her to create her own community of like-minded, funny women that frequent her blog, Bored Mommy, and it's also allowed her other writing opportunities (check her out at Yummy Mummy Club column, Phat Mummy, some time). How awesome is that?

Last Friday Maria gave me my first week's worth of Twitter homework. It looked like this:

JESSICA

@tisworthwhile

PEOPLE FOLLOWING YOU, THAT YOU ARE NOT FOLLOWING – BUT SHOULD BE:

Go follow these people asap:

Names removed to protect my lameness for not following them.

PEOPLE YOU ARE FOLLOWING THAT YOU SHOULD UNFOLLOW: Because they suck

Names removed to protect the sucky. (Ed. note: This list only had 3 names on it, one of whom I wasn't actually following and the other 2 I'd never heard of, but I guess they have a bad Twitter rep.)

PEOPLE THAT YOU FOLLOW, BUT DO NOT FOLLOW YOU – BUT WILL FOLLOW YOU IF YOU INTERACT WITH THEM:

Names removed to protect the ladies who don't waste their time (and rightly so).

PEOPLE YOU FOLLOW THAT WILL NEVER RESPOND TO YOU AND/OR FOLLOW YOU BACK NO MATTER HOW “HARD” YOU TRY:

Names removed to protect the too busy.

And all those famous people you follow – Lindsay Lohan? WTH?

PEOPLE YOU SHOULD FOLLOW, ACCORDING TO MOI (a work in progress):

Names removed because I'm too lazy to cut and paste, but I DID add all 50 names.
In addition, Maria's rules were simple:
  • use Tweetdeck
  • be genuine
  • log on to Twitter 30 mins every day - AT LEAST
  • add at least 10 people every day - look for conversations you like and add them
  • add tweet feed to blog sidebar
As of today, I have followed all of these rules to an "I" (not a "T" and you'll see why below). And let me tell you I was very sad to have to get rid of @AshSimpsonWentz and @KimKardashian. (But I'm still keeping @BarackObama and @MarthaStewart. Ok, and @JessicaSimpson, but it's because I love her shoes!) I'm as genuine as humanly possible, I'm logging on for at least 30 minutes (today has been well over an hour!). And I've added a Tweet feed to the sidebar of my blog.

The one area I've been remiss in is the adding at least 10 people a day. When I first cleaned up my lists I added about 120 new people and I've seemed to have lost my urge to keep adding. But I vow to do better this week.

I'm not sure what Maria has planned for me for week 2, but my guess is it'll take me about 4 weeks to really make Twitter a habit and for me to make some relationships. My Lists are a mess and my Tweetdeck columns are a jumble. Maybe organizing will be week 2's theme.

And to that end, my over all goals for this Twitter Bootcamp are threefold:
  1. Master Twitter, don't let Twitter master me - i.e., I log in, hook up with friends, engage in conversations, Retweet interesting info and posts, promote my writing, and then log off.
  2. Get organized - Pare down lists, beef up others as I become more comfortable. I hope that making connections will be easier once I have better focused targets.
  3. Double my followers - This is a completely random goal, but thought I'd see what happens. When I started this a day or two ago I had 340 Followers.
So if you see me on Twitter say HI! I PROMISE to say Hi back. And if you ever see weird Tweets from me logging my time now you'll know why!

What are some of your Twitter tips?? I need all the help I can get!
Twitter Glossary:

Direct Message - noun: a private message between people on Twitter; verb: to direct message (or to DM) - the action of sending a private message to another user on Twitter
Following - noun: a list of other people on Twitter that you follow
Followers - noun: a list of other people on Twitter that follow you
Hashtag - noun: the name for "#" which tags themes on Tweets
List - noun: a form of organizing Twitter users into personalized categories
Listed - noun: a list of lists you might be included on
Retweet - noun: a resent Tweet; verb: the act of resending another user's Tweet
Tweet - verb: to type in 140 characters or less and send information and messages via Twitter (also: tweeting, tweeted)






9 comments:

  1. You're so cute and this was awesome! Maria - that Twitter homework assignment you gave Jessica? I WANT ONE FOR ME TOO, please! Please? Thanks.
    Jessica, I'm so glad you're getting back on the whale, babe!

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  2. That Maria chick sounds like a GENIUS. You are damn lucky to know her, don't you think? I guess we know who will be buying the bevvies at BlogHer.

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  3. Eh- that Maria chick is aight.

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  4. Good for you! Man, I am such a neophyte when it comes to the twitter universe. It's so overwhelming... it scares me. I definitely applaud your efforts though.

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  5. I agree with pretty much everything Maria said, although I don't add people much anymore. I could, I suppose, but I'm comfortable with the number I'm following right now. If someone interesting follows me I'll follow back, but otherwise I'm not really seeking anyone out. Of course, I follow 790+ people.

    I think the big thing is log in, interact, and then log out. Groups in Tweetdeck can help you follow the people you really want to follow, or Twitter's list feature, but you can't possibly keep up with every tweet from every person when you're following more than 50 people. That's OK, though, I don't think anyone expects you to.

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  6. Those are good tips. I find Twitter can suck a lot of time if you let it so it's probably a good idea to set a time limit for oneself. I fail on the adding new followers. That's probably why the amount of followers for me has remained the same. Maybe BoredMommy should revamp my Twitter list too! (I kind of wish you posted the Twitter names)

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  7. I'm sorry but the whole twitter thing is beyond me! I found it way to confusing!

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  8. I have never tweeted, but can see its value. I am going to try to print your post for future reference. Thanks!

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  9. Great tips about tweeting - I have been on Twitter for a few months - it's still crazy to me, so I am so happy for the tips!

    Here from SITS!

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