The other night I couldn’t sleep at 2am so I got up and went on Twitter. And there was this guy, a novelist, who’d written a lot of books. And he tweeted promos for them. One after another. With nothing else in between. With only seconds between one tweet and another. I got so sick of it that I almost unfollowed. And then he quit. And another author started. One book promo tweet after another. Until I wanted to unfollow him, too.
Chasing off your own Twitter followers is no way to sell your books or your blog or anything. Tweeting things that feel like an ad with nothing personal about them is just asking people to ignore you. Doing it three to five times a minute will get them to actively hate you. If you want to actually be effective on Twitter, you need to learn some rules.
The 9 to 1 Rule
An older rule in social media is to share 9 things about other people for every one you share about yourself. Because sharing nothing but ‘me, me, me’ makes you look selfish. Now, maybe you are selfish. Maybe that’s your lifestyle choice. But you don’t want other people to know that.
Retweeting DOES NOT COUNT for all of the 9 items you need to share before you can tweet about you. Because retweeting doesn’t take any effort, and it turns Twitter feeds into echo chambers with everybody retweeting the same stuff. Actively seek out some other-centered material. An author might share a book by some other author, or share a book-blog or writing-blog not their own. A blogger might share posts from all the blogs he reads— you DO read other blogs, don’t you? Other Twitter users can share things from online about their major topics of interest.
What about the 1 out of 10 things you share that can be about you? They shouldn’t ALL be impersonal promos that feel like ads for your books or blogs. Social media is supposed to be SOCIAL! And this can be hard, especially for people like me with Asperger Syndrome/Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you don’t have social skills, it’s harder to be social online.
Some of your me-posts should share things about you. ‘I have a new cat.’ ‘We are on vacation in Antarctica.’ ‘A dragon crushed my car.’ And your promoting-something posts might have a personal touch. ‘I wrote a blog post about restoring monarchy to the United States, what do you think?’ Note: most of the time someone who reads ‘what do you think’ about a shared blog post will NOT read the blog post, and just tell you on Twitter what he thinks of the topic. Interact with these people anyway!
The Twitter Echo Chamber
Once upon a time, I found new people to follow on Twitter by clicking on interesting hashtags and seeing who was tweeting about that. Now when I do that, I find mostly the Tweets using the hashtag made by people I already follow. I’ve seen another person complain about that and speculate it’s a new form of shadowbanning. I’m thinking it may just be a way to keep people in their isolated ghettoes of a few like-minded Twitter users.
What I do is experiment with hashtags. I search new ones all the time. I sometimes find new people. And then there is the oppositional-trick. I don’t care much for politician Nancy Pelosi. So I go on her page, find something of her to politely disagree about, and do so. Other non-fans of Nancy see it and I may make new contacts that way.
Once I do get those precious new people, I have to cultivate them. I retweet their stuff, or I comment on something of theirs politely. I care about them, if only for a few seconds. Because it means something to me when someone responds to me. OK, it also scares the heck out of me because I have Aspergers and poor social skills, but at least I’m not being ignored.
Why Hostile-To-Conservatives Twitter Matters
Twitter, like Facebook, is actively hostile to some people. Conservatives, or people they think are conservative. Catholics and other Christians. Religious and/or conservative Jews. They ban or suspend people over something so mild it’s silly, and they ignore your complaints about death threats and virulent hate. And even doxxing, sometimes. (Doxxing is revealing your personal information so non-friends can call your home or workplace or threaten you at home.)
I prefer to use Gab or MeWe, actually, but they are smaller communities and not as active. Plus, it’s very common for people to start an account, follow people, and then just quit using it— for a while or forever. Twitter and Facebook, sadly, are where the eyeballs are.~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Learn More about using Twitter
Twitter in 30 Minutes (updated 2018) I just bought this book on Kindle. Since I live in a rural area, I have to drive to the local library to use their wi-fi to download the book to my Kindle since I can't download books to my Kindle over USB cable with my newest Kindle. Which replaced an older Kindle that stopped working. But I'm hoping to learn more about using Kindle better with this book.