The Inside Scoop on Why I Use (and Love) Twitter

The other day I mentioned to a real-life friend of mine that she should join Twitter. She obliged, and then asked, “What next?”

I realized I didn’t have a good answer for her. I explained a few things, but I don’t think they were all that helpful. So I thought I’d put together a short guide about what I’ve learned about Twitter the last year. This is for new users and current Twitter users.

The Only Two Reasons You Should Join Twitter

  • You find that you’re bored on the computer sometimes AND you enjoy interacting with people.
  • You have a reason to promote yourself AND you’re interesting, funny, and insightful.

That’s it. If you don’t match either of those items, don’t join Twitter. Simple as that.

Still here? Let’s move on to the nitty-gritty.

The Only Things You Need to Know About Twitter

  1. Write amazing things. Other than a 140-character limit, there are no rules for what you can post (“tweet”) on Twitter as long as what you write is interesting, funny, or insightful.
  2. Size doesn’t matter. I’ve discovered that I’d rather follow a few people on Twitter and actually engage in some sort of conversation with them then follow a lot of people with whom I don’t engage at all.
  3. You don’t need to know these people in real life. Facebook is for people you know in real life. Twitter is for people who you’d never meet if you didn’t connect on Twitter. This is a foreign concept, but there are tons of awesome people out there–why limit yourself to the people who happen to live near you?
  4. Don’t use This is one of the most confusing things about Twitter. I use Twitter, but I don’t use Instead, I use a program called TweetDeck that syncs between multiple computers and my iPhone.
  5. Favorite a few people. On TweetDeck (and other similar programs), you can create columns that filter the people you follow on Twitter down to a select few (more on who I choose as “Favorites” below).
  6. Search. On TweetDeck, you can have an ongoing search for whenever a Twitter user types a certain word or phrase into Twitter. So, say you own a restaurant called “Cool Beans.” You could have an ongoing search on TweetDeck for “Cool Beans”, and whenever anyone on Twitter writes about your restaurant, you’ll be able to respond to them.

People Who I Generally Don’t Follow on Twitter

  1. People who are following 100+ people but only have 2 followers (these are spammers).
  2. People who have thousands of followers and follow thousands of people (the likelihood of them actually engaging in any communication with you is very low).
  3. People who direct message me suggesting that I check out a suspicious link (these people’s accounts have been hacked because they clicked on a similar link and typed in their Twitter login/password. I immediately unfollow these people).
  4. People who don’t use a real photo of their own face for their profile pic. (I also prefer when people use their real name.)
  5. People who tweet too much (>15 tweets/day).

People Who I Favorite on TweetDeck

  1. People who engage me with @jameystegmaier replies to my tweets.
  2. People who retweet (RT @jameystegmaier) my tweets.
  3. People who directly message me (D @jameystegmaier) for private conversation.
  4. Again, people who are particularly interesting, funny, and insightful.

Join Twitter here. Then you should follow me on Twitter here.

What else am I missing? Are there any questions?

0 thoughts on “The Inside Scoop on Why I Use (and Love) Twitter”

  1. I still don’t get it. I think I have a subconscious learning block going on since I’ve been opposed to getting Twitter up until now. I can hardly understand what’s going on. I don’t know who’s talking to who or what the conversation is about. (we have conversations on Twitter?) AND THEN I get this email saying I have a direct message from someone I don’t know, so I go to my twitter home page to look at this so-called direct message–can’t find it. Shouldn’t I have some sort of inbox for this? 🙂

    • You can only get a direct message from someone who you are also following, so although it may not be someone you know, it’s someone who you decided to follow at some point. Go to your Twitter page and click on “Direct Messages” on the right. Although, the e-mail should have had the actual message on it (with a link for you to reply).

      Most Twitter “conversations,” though, are public. That’s why you use TweetDeck, and that’s why you use @ replies. That’s how the person knows you’re talking to them. If someone doesn’t use an @ reply, they’re not talking to anyone in particular.

  2. Much better synopsis than mine on Twitter use. 🙂 @krw, I second Jamey’s rec for using a stand-alone client for Twitter. The web has improved since adding “list” capability, but it’s still confusing when it comes to conversation tracking. Other clients will have better support for DM’s, too.

    Thanks for sharing, Jamey!

    • That’s pretty cool, and a brilliant strategic move, but also ridiculous that anyone would ask such a thing. Now that guy’s going to get all kinds of requests like that and he’s going to have to turn them down because he’s a mayor, not a snow-shoveler.

      The point is that he’s willing to listen to people, which is awesome. (I know nothing else about the guy.)


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