It seems to me that people either love Twitter or can’t stand it. I am definitely in the former category, for several reasons:
- It’s direct. You follow someone? You see their tweets. You don’t follow someone? You live in blissful ignorance. My feed is full of creative, positive people and exactly zero politicians. It’s a great way to filter reality.
Everyone who follows me can see my posts in real time, without any interference from the platform itself. Twitter sends every tweet into the world without trying to make a buck out of me to do it. That in itself is a refreshing change among social media platforms.
- Retweets are brilliant for extending your reach easily and painlessly.. With one click, someone else can share your post with all their followers, too. Not only does this take your content further, it can also result in new followers and interactions.
- It’s brief. Say what you want to say in 280 characters, preferably less. And that includes your hashtags.
- Hashtagging is easy. Start typing a hashtag, and Twitter will actually suggest the most popular tags for you that start with those letters. It doesn’t get easier than that.
- Connecting with others who have the same interests is easy. Once again, hashtags ply a key role here. Searching for a tag you are interested in is a simple way to find people using that tag in their posts. I have found great people, interesting content, and some excellent books doing exactly that.
- I also like just scrolling through my feed and seeing what pops up. There is invariably something I want to respond to with a like or a bookish or bloggish post that I want to check out. I can spend as much or as little time as I have, put it down, and come back later. In that sense, it’s pretty cruisy.
- Lists. You can create lists of accounts you want to group together. I have lists for authors in different genres. I also have a list for my favourite accounts called “Don’t Miss a Tweet”.
By going to a particular list in my profile, I can see only the tweets from the accounts in that list. It is a great way to cut through the voluminous white noise of the Twittersphere, and saves heaps of time when I am busy, because I see exactly what I want to and nothing else.
Lists can be made public or kept private. While I keep my “Don’t Miss a Tweet” list to myself, I make my genre lists public so that if someone is looking for Fantasy Authors or Poets, they can find a ready-made collection in no time flat. I may not have every author of a particular genre in my list, but you may be sure that the ones on my lists are worth checking out.
That all sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?
However, no social media platform is without its pitfalls.
My dislikes include, in no particular order:
- Trolls and fake accounts. It’s easy for people to hide behind a social media account with a fake name and create mayhem. Whether it’s bullying or bullshit they are into, there’s not really a lot to stop them.
I overcome this by being very choosy about who I follow, and by making extensive use of the “unfollow” and “block” functions the minute my spidey senses start tingling.
- Direct messages. Some people appreciate direct messages, but I am not one of them. It seems to me they are all either spamming a product or creepers trying to seduce me into giving them money or naughty photographs.
I overcome this by never looking at my inbox.
- Tweeting can be hot-and-miss. The life cycle of a tweet is short, and I f followers aren’t online when you tweet, they can miss your content.
I overcome this by recycling my content, using different tweets on non-consecutive days so it doesn’t get repetitive or boring.
- Clickbait. This is the term for anything exaggerated or sensationalised to make you click on a link to read the story. Ugh.
Once again, the blocking function has proven to be really effective in getting rid of these accounts from my feed.
Overall, I find Twitter much more user-friendly than Facebook, but I doubt that I would if I hadn’t taken the time to learn how to keep my Twitfeed positive and focused, and free of politics, gossip and drama.