Resolve to Tweet Better in 2013

Photo by Milena Mihaylova
Photo by Milena Mihaylova

The purpose of my Twitter series on Writer Unboxed has been narrowly focused since the beginning. First, I wanted to help you come across as an interesting, nuanced person  (as opposed to a salesperson). Second, but no less important, I wanted to help you connect with other interesting, nuanced people. With those two goals in mind, I’m now suggesting some resolutions to help you get the most out of Twitter in 2013.

 

Four Twitter Resolutions for the BEGINNING/INTERMEDIATE Twitter User:

 

#1. STOP FOCUSING ON NUMBERS

Numbers do not matter whatsoever. In fact, I intend to write an entire post about the insignificance of numbers later this year. If, however, I can’t convince you to put the numbers obsession aside, then at least do your followers a favor and resist the urge to tweet about those aforementioned numbers with tweets like this:

“I’m close to 800 followers!”

“Welcome to my newest followers!” (Repeated every time there are new followers.)

“5 more followers and I’m at my goal of 1000.” 

“I got 10 new followers in the past hour. A record.”

You get the idea. The people already following you do not want to hear about your stats.

 

#2. FOLLOW A VARIETY OF PEOPLE

Yes, you are a writer, but hopefully your approach to life and Twitter is more layered than that one qualifier. Consider branching out this year. For example, you might want to follow local restaurant reviewers, or other local characters. Find political writers if you’re passionate about politics. Find people who write about faith or a certain religious denomination if that is important to you. You may still end up following writers for the most part, but you can vary the types of writers in your Twitter stream.

Perhaps you have already discovered the need to diversify after reading tweet after tweet about the revision process and point-of-view. The words #free and #Kindle also pop up too often if you’re only following fellow novelists. You have the power to make the tweets you’re reading more interesting simply by following a wider range of people.

 

#3. SEND A VARIETY OF TWEETS

We’re still on the variety theme here. There are several kinds of tweets. You can tweet links to good articles. Tweet random observations about life. You can have conversations back and forth, answer questions people pose, or ask questions with the hope that others will answer. If you tend to only tweet one way, then mix it up. You will end up engaging with more people, thereby attracting quality followers.

One final note on variety: I imagine you have already figured out that tweeting about your book or about your blog posts and nothing else is not going to work on Twitter.

 

#4. SET TIME LIMITS

This is perhaps the most important resolution of all. You do not need to spend ridiculous amounts of time on Twitter to make an impact. Take Twitter breaks. Do not worry that people will forget you, or that all your previous efforts were for nothing if you spend time away from all the social media outlets. If you tweet well (variety, not too much about you, not about numbers), then you will find your followers are happy to see you when you return.

 

Two Twitter Resolutions for the ADVANCED Twitter User:

These are my personal 2013 goals for Twitter.

 

#1. BECOME A CONNECTOR

Now that I’m comfortable on Twitter, I would like to spend time helping some of my favorite Twitter friends find each other. This is something I do often in “real life,” but I could do it more online.

 

#2. RE-ENGAGE WITH THE PEOPLE I AM ALREADY FOLLOWING

When I first joined Twitter in 2010, I was better at interacting with a variety of people. (Variety! Again!) But after two years I have definitely slipped into some cliquey tendencies by having conversations with the same people all the time. I don’t plan on ditching my favorite Twitter buddies, but I would like to dedicate some of my Twitter time this year to getting to know new faces.

 

Come back in February when I will explain step by step how to make and use Twitter lists, a Twitter trick that will definitely save you time and enrich your experience in 2013. 

What questions do you have about using Twitter that might help you use it better in 2013? Any Twitter resolutions you’re willing to share with the Writer Unboxed community?

Photo credit: Milena Mihaylova via Flickr

 

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About Nina Badzin

Nina Badzin is a writer and blogger who lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, as well as the Huffington Post's books, parenting, religion, and technology pages. In a strange turn of events, Nina has become the go-to gal for Twitter advice. This confuses her parents and her husband to no end. She tweets at @NinaBadzin and blogs regularly at http://ninabadzin.com. You can find her on Facebook, too.

Comments

  1. says

    These are such great tips. I am going to try hard to remember #2 under the Advanced heading. It’s so easy to forget to connect with “old friends” outside one’s usual Twitter clique.

    Another thing I’d add to this list is whenever I link to one of my own projects/post, I’m going to make sure I RT tweets from two other people, just to remind myself I have to give a little to get a little.

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    • says

      Yes! Related to your tip, I also advise that instead of sending “Thanks for RTing” me tweets it’s more useful (when you can) to RT other people. It doesn’t have to be tit for tat . . . but it’s that kind of giving back that means so much more than a thank you tweet.

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  2. says

    I love this series and have been reading some of the older posts. I’m not on Twitter but my resolution this year is to get onto it. Can you add the links to some of your earlier posts, especially the Twitter basics, so we newbies could read those? I’d appreciate it so much as I get ready to venture into the Twitter world.

    Also, how much time per day should we spend on Twitter? I already spend over an hour a day reading blogs to connect and drive readers to my blog. I work full-time and have a family and want to write too. I’m trying to figure out the right balance.

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    • says

      Natalie, I am in the same boat re: the family, writing, reading other blogs and staying part of the blogging community. As for how much time to spend on each part of the social media aspect (commenting, tweeting, etc), I wish I could give you a magic answer.

      Remember that the writing comes first. That’s the best I can tell you. The reason I give these Twitter tips is to help people use Twitter efficiently . . . so that you can participate in Twitter and reap the benefits without watching all of your writing time disappear. My best tip for THAT is to remember that you can pop in and out. You can turn it off for whole days or weeks. There will always be people there when you come back.

      As for the basics: This is a good place to start!
      http://writerunboxed.com/2011/08/27/the-art-science-of-twitter-part-1-the-science/

      I also have a good basic series on my blog:
      http://www.ninabadzin.com/twitter-tips/

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    • says

      I think you’re going about it the right way, actually. Best to get a lay of the land first. You learn how to tweet and what “works” by seeing what engages you and what doesn’t. When you’re ready you’ll jump in. No rush!

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  3. says

    Thanks, Nina! I tend to think that Twitter is this strange new animal I’ve discovered and haven’t quite figured out how to make it like me. But the fact is, since I’ve joined it, I’ve fallen in love with it and the people I follow. It’s been such a help at this time in my writing sort-of-career. Best decision I made in 2012.

    Biggest challenge: to stop obsessing over my followers.

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    • says

      Really don’t obsess! All you want is an ENGAGED following, which doesn’t have to mean big numbers. Just because somebody has a huge number of followers it doesn’t mean that even half of those people are reading his/her tweets.

      I’m so glad you’re liking Twitter, Jillian!

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  4. says

    I’ll admit I’m tired of Twitter. Why? Because people are too concerned about their numbers, and I feel that’s the only reason some people are following me. Which is why I don’t follow them back. I’m not just some number. I’m a person. :)

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    • says

      I agree that there are too many people concerned with numbers. The best way to combat that is to engage with people and if you’re feeling “the love” in return move on. Unfollow and find others to follow. There are plenty of like-minded people out there.

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  5. says

    Nina,

    I love seeing you here. Twitter is my favourite social media app. I love it *because* I meet new people. Related to your lists, I have a column for new followers with interesting bios (in other words, who I think I’d like to connect with). This helps me meet new people (and move them into one of my private “fave” categories). Lists have saved my Tw-life. Can’t wait to read what you write about them!

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    • says

      I do something similar with the lists! Anyone new starts in a “new” list. I’m pretty type-A about it all, but it honestly saves tons of time in terms of staying in touch with the people you’re following. Lots to discuss next month with lists.

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  6. says

    Any tips for introverts? Everyone says, “Just think of it as like a cocktail party!” Yikes! I’m lousy at cocktail parties. I’m usually the one standing off to the side pretending like I’m not there and counting down the time when I can leave. With Twitter, it takes a lot of effort for me to have conversations, and I don’t particularly enjoy it. I’m currently taking a revision class, so I’ve toned down my tweeting so I can focus on the class. I’m finding I don’t miss Twitter at all. Yet, it’s one of those necessarily evils for writers.

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    • says

      Linda,

      There are definitely many introverts on Twitter. With that said, if after some time of trying to craft tweets or retweeting others you really find that it’s not for you, it’s okay to NOT be on Twitter. It’s not something you have to do. It really isn’t! My advise is never intended to make people feel they “must” be on Twitter. The idea here, is, if you’re going to spend time on Twitter, spend it wisely.

      I also think it’s okay to be more of a listener if you feel you’re getting something out of seeing what others are chatting about. Maybe in time you’ll feel more like adding to the conversation. There’s nothing wrong with sticking around to listen, but you probably get more out of Twitter (in terms of networking) when you are tweeting as well. If you don’t want to write random tweets, you can also make a habit of responding to what other people are saying. Just an idea!

      Nina

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  7. says

    I love your tip about variety. I have found that much of what I tweet recently comes from those tweeters that aren’t writer based. They are, however, sources of information or fun tweets/links about topics I (and by default, the genre writer-tweeters who follow me) might enjoy.

    I also have been tweeting only once or twice a week. I was uncomfortable with that for a bit, but I got over it. It’s much more fun to use when there isn’t pressure to do something every minute of every day.

    Excellent twitter advice, as usual. You are my favorite Twitter mentor for that reason. :)

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    • says

      Lara, this reminds me of what you’re doing so well on your blog, which is to have some fun and not feel like you have to write about certain topics, etc. I’m so glad you mentioned being on Twitter a few times a week and still feeling it works for you. That’s exactly the right attitude. If you make it a chore it will feel like one!

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  8. says

    Perfect timing! This is one of my goals this year is to be more active on Twitter. I do have a variety of people, but should be a little more diverse. Twitter is probably the only place I do random thoughts that would appeal to a larger audience. Thanks for the reminder.

    Melanie

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    • says

      I need to take that advise to heart, too, as I for sure can use even more variety in the tweets I’m reading. I’m recently made a great list for the Twin Cities (where I live) and I’ve noticed it’s my most “diverse” list and probably the most interesting as well.

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  9. says

    As a Twitter virgin, I’m glad I found your tips for I am truly clueless on the subject. I like the idea of mixing it up – something I will practise.

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  10. says

    Great tips, Nina! I especially love the idea of becoming a “connector,” and the reminder to reach out to new people. I’ve made good friends on Twitter, and I’m sure there are more to be found.

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  11. says

    I like your advice to be able to step away from it all if we connect well in the time we’re on Twitter. My writing time tends to seep further and further into what time I think I’ll save for other social media interactions … part of the results of balancing real life and family with writing and then social media. Thanks for the excellent post, Nina!

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  12. says

    I don’t obsess about Twitter numbers at all – so yay!
    I do need to think about the connector thing, I love having people meet through me and Twitter, will have to set aside time to do this.
    Great tips as always, Nina.

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  13. says

    Great advice. Thanks!
    I am relatively new to Twitter and a little disheartened by how many authors tweet links to their books, every day, several times a day.

    I don’t want to be like that, although I have a brand new novel out and it’s exciting and the number one thing on my mind this week.

    But then I think, they must be doing it, because even though it’s kind of annoying, it must be working. Am I missing out?

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    • says

      Hi Mari,

      I think the week or two when your novel first comes out everyone sort of understands. The key is really balance!

      I want to emphasize here that just because you see a lot of authors overtweeting links to their book it doesn’t mean it’s working! Followers are probably tuning them out at this point. Major book sales aren’t happening on Twitter. You’re there to make some connections, have fun, and hopefully make some indirect sales. The constant tweets to the Amazon page, etc, are a big turn off. (As you’ve seen by being bombarded by them.)

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  14. says

    Nina, I wish more people would follow these simple rules! I hate when people tweet about stats, or their own books or blog posts.

    It’s also good advice to branch out and be a connector, too. My own stream has become very specialized.

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  15. Brooke Passey says

    What good advice. I feel like my twitter feed is a literary black hole sometimes. I love it, but it can be overwhelming at times. I think adding a little variety in there will add some much needed balance. I’m on my way to find some horse-tweeters :)

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