Saturday, 23 March 2013

A thousand thanks

I passed a personal milestone on Twitter this week: one thousand followers. It took me a little under five months to achieve. I don’t know if that’s fast or slow, but I’m happy with my pace. Of course, I couldn’t have done it alone – literally – so thank you all for following me. I have spent many interesting moments with you that I should have spent doing other things. I’ve learned new things about tweeting, too, since I wrote about it last. 

© Photographer Jinyoung Lee | Agency:

I have found Tweetdeck and I like it. I can follow all my lists at the same time and I can schedule my tweets too. I was reluctant to try scheduled tweets at first, fearing that they would seem impersonal. But, as I wrote the last time, not many people react to tweets as it is. So I gave it a try. I schedule five or six tweets for each night, mostly links to blogs or articles I’ve found interesting. I select them every day especially, which gives me an illusion of at least some level of topicality. So far, there hasn't been any increase in traffic to my sites that I know of, but I like to do it anyway.

I’ve also learned to react to conversation openings by others. Not very often yet, but the couple of times I’ve joined in a conversation started by someone else has been enjoyable. I intend to cultivate that skill further. And I've learned to write tweets shorter than the allowed 140 characters. I still tend to find it a waste of a tweet if I don't make it as long as possible, but I try to get over it.

I’m still not very good at getting people to react to my tweets. That’s something I definitely have to work on. And I haven’t found the balance between making sure my message is seen and being a spammer. I’m perhaps too cautious. One little tweet gets lost in the multitude so fast that without repetition it’s basically useless. But so far I haven’t been able to bring myself to change my habits.

I think I even have a piece of advice to offer:

Constantly cultivate the list of accounts you follow. You’re only allowed to follow two thousand people until you have that many followers. Don’t let the gap between how many you follow and how many follow you to become too large. I’ve noticed that I don’t follow people who have reached their limit but who have hundreds of followers less than what they follow. Most of the time, the only reward I get from following someone is them following me back. An account like that won’t offer it so I'll give it a pass. Personally, I try to keep the difference in a hundred, and about fifty of those are accounts that will never follow me back, institutions or celebrated authors. I prune those that haven’t responded to my following them once a week; in the fast-paced world of Twitter, I think that's sufficient time for people to react . Then I select a new patch to follow – at least for a week.

That’s it for now. My next goal is to reach two thousand followers. To make things interesting, I hope to achieve that in half the time it took me to reach the first thousand. I’ll let you know how that goes.

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