Whenever I mention Twitter in conversation to my friends or husband, they all kind of look at me a little blankly. It’s like I’ve chosen Swahili on the DVD language selection and they can’t quite work out what in the fuck I am talking about. As an aside, I wonder if anyone actually does choose a language other than English to watch a DVD in. You know, just for shits and giggles. Or just so they can hear Hayley Joel Osment tell Bruce Willis that he sér dautt fólk in Icelandic. Once again, I digress....
I don’t really talk about Twitter with my husband. Mainly because I think he perceives it to be a giant pickup joint. This of course is coming from the guy whose sole use of the internet is to Google tits, but if we do discuss it, the conversation goes something like this; “So, you are talking to strangers?” Um yeah, I guess I am. “And they are just there like right now, waiting to talk to you?” No, not waiting for me per se, they are just on line at the same time. “How do you know they aren’t serial killers?” Well, that I don’t. But I’m not entirely sure the mad woman next door doesn’t have a sharp axe with my name on it either, so we are taking chances everyday. “What do you even talk about?” Well everything. And nothing.
And granted, twitter is really hard to explain. The best I can come up with is that it’s the Watercooler of the here and now. It’s where everything and nothing happens. It is used to discuss issues that are happening right now. The television program that is on, right that very minute, can be dissected and debated. It is used to ask for advice and recommendations. It is the place I find out about breaking news, in fact, often before most of news organisations on TV.
It is also the best way to find your tribe, the people you have stuff in common with, whatever that may be. Writers, readers, scientists, people who knit, sports enthusiasts, atheists, mothers, labor/liberal/green/independant voters, people who live close by, you name it, you will find your like minded kin on Twitter in a way you never could have before. Twitter is always on. Something is always happening. And basically there is always someone there to make contact with no matter where in the world you are, or how alone you physically may be.
I have seen firsthand how it promotes authors and their work. How when they immerse themselves and actually get involved with their readers, it increases sales, respect and immediate feedback. Kylie Ladd (@kylie_ladd) made the comment today that when she released her first fiction novel, After The Fall, the silence was deafening. This time around, with her new novel, Last Summer she has had immediate feedback from buyers and readers. Kerri Sackville (@kerrisackville) is another Twitter success story. Kerri, a writer who started with a popular blog, wrote a book and through her on line presence, has used twitter to both connect with her readers and gain new ones.
And if Television networks are in any way smart, they will be paying attention to Twitter. The appraisal of a television show has never been more accurate. The reviews are immediate and honest. Q and A (ABC) and Masterchef (Ch 10) are two perfect examples of the media crossover.
The same applies to advertising. For instance, Coles, here’s an idea, check out the opinions on Twitter to see how you new Down, down campaign is coming along. Heads up, people freaking hate it with a passion and some are actively boycotting your stores as a result.
Politics are constantly being discussed on on Twitter and even though I dream of world where we can all just get along, I know by watching my twitter stream that is just me living in fantasyland. From what I can make out, right now in Australian Politics we have two major political parties governing by self-preservation. Changing and tweaking their policies to popularity and Polls and forgetting to actually just get along with oh, you know, running the fucking country.
And the mood of the voters is so easy to access on Twitter. In fact I know this works. I know when I wrote THIS, and it was tweeted, the Premier of QLD read my Open Letter and we corresponded directly by phone and email soon after. That would never had happened pre-Twitter. It just would not have.
Twitter has been the reason anyone has paid me for my writing. But, I guess more importantly than any of that, it has led me into legitimate friendships. Ones I truly count as very special. Which I know, if you are not someone who uses the internet, sounds naff, but it is incredibly true.
To be honest, if you are reading this blog, upselling Twitter is preaching to converted. I have found they go hand in hand. I started my blog very soon after I found Twitter. Some find it the opposite way around, but they certainly find that one compliments the other. And if I’m being completely honest I should tell you I signed up to Twitter and didn’t touch it for 12 months. I had no freaking idea how it worked. I looked at the blinking cursor and the empty box and wondered what on earth I was supposed to do. So I did nothing .
I’m guessing boredom is what brought me back. Or perhaps I heard someone talking about it. Either way, I signed back up, followed a whole heap of celebrities (you do this at first, but I’ve got to say, I much prefer the everyday people in general) and local radio/television personalities. Then I simply waited for people to follow me back. I “tweeted” funny observations. I “tweeted” people back when they asked questions or said something I could relate to. And just over 2 years later, I am unequivocally hooked. In fact, I recently appeared in this publication as one of the 500 people you should follow on Twitter. As an “everyday” person. That’s either really cool or really sad.
|I'iiiii am everyday people|
Best advice, give it a go. Don’t use it solely as a place to promote yourself as a business if you’re not willing to get a little bit personal and have some fun. Use hashtags. Hashtags, ideally are used for topical reasons. For instance #qanda at the end of a tweet will direct others watching this to find you and your tweets. The other way is to use them in a smartarse or comical way. Like this:
@Bern_Morley Text from husband: "Hey, want me to grab some shite for dinner?" Well, when you make it sound so appealing. #sure
I asked on Twitter tonight for some advice for newbies. Here are a few of their answers.
@RobertHoge Jump right in. It's easier to understand once you start having conversations.
@gilfer Don't believe anything you read. Swear copiously. Don't talk about work, your clients, or your employer.
@zoomosis 1. find funny people to follow, 2. celebrities are (mostly) boring, 3. don't expect to learn how to use it quickly
@YogaJG get tweet deck or some app that allows you to see everything happening on one screen...So the conversation makes sense
@Skip91 jump right in, it's the only way :)
@KerriSackville Don't tweet drunk. Except if you want people to follow you #loveadrunktweep
@nicmclachlan bio is more important than avi #ireckon
@MsPraxis learn what a hashtag is, how to shorten links and post pics
@Lisa_lintern and don't try too hard...just be yourself
@LovelyWife Talk to people!!
@TheaTweets Do some searches of your interests...follow HEAPS of people...follow the tweeps of your favourite tweeps! And, tweet a LOT! :)
@melkettle I wrote a blog post about using twitter for biz recently. Happy for you to use or quote or just get ideas! www.melkettle.com.au
@LozVox FUCK YOU COLES. HONESTLY
Any advice on Twitter? Need some advice?