Jon looked at me and wanted to know about "this Twitter thing." What would be a good way to promote yourself on Twitter? What the heck can someone do in 140 characters? Who reads it? Aren't most Twitter feeds just mindless ramblings about things which no one cares about?
"Twitter is networking," I said. The screaming had stopped now and I had to change the bucket to capture the rest of the blood flow.
"Some of the people I follow on Twitter give me some outstanding information. They provide useful links on a number of subjects I'm interested in. I've been directed to outstanding informational pieces about writing."
"So what kinds of Twitter posts will you find and how do you get more followers or subscribers, or whatever?" Jon asked.
"Hand me the chainsaw," I said. "Well, Jon, there are basically four or five kinds of tweets and users sometimes tend to use a majority or one kind or another, but it's best to mix things up."
I had to shout to be heard over the chainsaw. "You got the people who communicate through Twitter. They tend to try and carry on conversations. People will communicate back and forth using the @ sign before someone's name to get that person's attention. For instance, one tweet might be: "Hey, @jonzech I'm at the mall. Where are you?"
People think chainsaws can cut through everything, but they can also make an incredible mess doing so. I wiped my face.
"Then you got people who share information. That's something I try and do. I find interesting links, things which I think my readers or followers will find of interest and post the hotlinks. Sometimes, I do it by "retweeting," which means posting someone else's tweet."
"What about if I'm just trying to sell something..like my book," Jon said.
"Well...lot's of people try and do that, but it can be pretty lame getting constant tweets saying "BUY MY STUFF!!! And trust me, there are folk who do that. I won't mention names, or even initials (J.S.) And there are people who just want to follow, they just want to watch things trending and learn things."
I paused, catching my second wind. "And then there are some people who just want to express themselves. They just want to say something profound, something artistic, or funny. I try and do that from time to time and maybe mix things up."
"Tell me more," Jon said. "I mean is there any sort of protocol? Is there something I can do to be more effective?"
The sound of a police siren made me look up. I hastily undid my apron and started for the door. "Maybe we should finish this later. Come, we'll talk more once we're on the road."
See As Tweet as Tweet Can Be...Part 2