Tweet. Tweet. If your first thought was of a real, live breathing birdie, this post probably isn't for you.
But if your mind instantly jumped to @'s and 140 characters? Pull up a chair. We need to talk. Let's chat about @'s and Dm's (read: direct messages) and if the word twitter itself is an actual verb.
*First of all, no. It isn't. In Pauline Land, when you are referring to the act of writing a 140 character bit of brilliance and then sending it out into the World Wide Web, you did not twitter. Nor have you twittered with so and so. While Google may have earned it's way into the modern lexicon of actual verbs (Go ahead, Google it) Twitter is (in my head) a noun. Nothing more.
An example using the word "eat" as an example.
Present tense: I am eating.
Past tense: I have eaten. I ate.
Now try saying "I eatered." Doesn't sound right, does it?
Let's use what we have learned with the word, " Twitter."
Present tense: I am tweeting.
Past tense: I have tweeted. I tweeted.
Now for the next lesson.
*While I get slightly pissy when calling anyone and getting the automated voice mail message with nothing but the phone number to make me wonder if I am leaving a message for the right person to call me back, I get even more pissy when following anyone on Twitter and get an auto DM (read: automated direct message) in return.
"Let's connect on Facebook!" (I don't think so.)
"So glad to meet you! Check out my blog at www.notgonnahappen.com!" ('Nuff said.)
"Please click here so I can verify that you are real." (Do we really wanna go there?)
Listen up, people. I know plenty of my own online friends use them, and I get the idea. "Why not instantly thank everyone who is nice enough to follow me! It's like a virtual welcome mat," you think. But really, it's more like a very real turn off.
Why? Because Twitter is about (or should be about) forging connections with the people you want to interact with. If you are a business owner, a writer, a blogger, a life coach, or a self-declared social media expert (keep reading because you have your own category) the whole point to to make the 140 you send out in the world reflective of yourself, your brand, or whatever else it is you are putting out there. And an auto dm is not the way to go.
People are busy. That's why the idea of summing up your thoughts into a concise little 140 characters is so appealing to so many. Tweet about your kid peeing in the bushes at the park and get a few tweets back from other moms dealing with kids who have totally been there. Tweet about that latest blog post and maybe get a few RTs (retweets) from people who like what you wrote. Or tweet and let it float off into nothingness because that's what happens when you let your thoughts go.
But under any circumstances, please avoid alienating your followers with an auto DM. They reek of impersonal. Instead, save the direct message feature for real conversation with those you have already established a connection.
*The first rule of Tweet Club? Don't talk about Tweet Club. Or rather, it's a numbers game that isn't a numbers game. Yes, having a higher number of followers can be impressive and used to your advantage for a variety of factors like platforms, business reach, etc., but I am on Twitter for real conversation. Which means? I follow you if you talk to me or because I find what you have to say interesting. Not just because you followed me (That would be referred to as an auto-follow, for those who arrived late to class). So please, stop with the Team Follow Back thing. Or keep at it. Just leave my name out of that tweet. Whichever floats your social media boat.
*I don't know about you, but the one thing that has always driven my utterly bonkers about movies and TV is the fact that no one ever says good-bye. They just hang up! Mid-conversation! I don't care if the script says that's when it's time to put the freaking phone down, if you want me to believe this is real then for the Love of God! Say Good-bye!
But guess what? Twitter? Is not a phone call. It's okay to walk away mid-conversation. It's even okay to not respond to every tweet. Instead, respond to the tweets you find interesting. And keep building relationships that have value. Or tweet-stalking The Bloggess like I do.
Gotta have a hobby, right?
*The last time I got a phone call from a telemarketer on a land line, the conversation went kind of like this:
Telemarketer: Is this Pauline Campos?
Me: No hablo ingles.
Telemarketer: (audibly puffing up chest in poorly accented pride) Esta bien. Yo hablo Espanol.
Me: Oh that's okay. I don't speak Spanish, either.
That's probably when his brain imploded from trying to think too much. But what else was I going to do? Twitter didn't exist yet and I didn't have a Block and Report for Spam option. Which means if I get all googly on twitter about my iPhone lust or happen to mention that I am in search of yoga pants that look good on my fat ass and you send me a reply attached to a half naked porn-star wanna-be telling me about your amazing deal on free iPhones and yoga pants for fat-asses?
*Wear your name tag. And by that I mean WRITE YOURSELF A TWITTER BIO. Even if it just says "Hi! I'm new here!" Write it. Why? Because the aforementioned bots are famous for not having them. And when an experienced twitter user does a quick check on a new follower to see if they want to return the favor, you may find yourself getting passed up just because you forgot to tell people you were real.
*Speaking of bios...if at all possible, leave the word expert out of yours. Especially if it follows the words (and I finger quote) Social Media. There is one exception, of course, and that is if you actually are one. New to twitter and feel the need to follow every self-proclaimed expert out there? Read this first and then decide. I didn't write it. So don't be confused by the lack of typos.
I did, however, do some informal research to determine what others think when they see the term "social media expert" in a twitter bio. And by informal research, I mean, tweeted the question and waited for the four people who actually talk to me to respond. This is (some of ) what I got:
@Pj_Kaiser: 97% of them are blowing smoke.
@TinaNguyen: Run the other way!
@Tyroneem: You self-centered jerk (not you. The social media expert.)
Now, if you are an actual social media expert who understands the Social part of that equivalent? Kudos. Carry on. There's nothing to see here.
*Did I just tweet that? And did you just unfollow me because I did? *shrugs shoulders* I understand that not everyone appreciates the use of an occasional F-bomb in their tweet stream. But I also strive to write as I speak (even in 140) and that means I sometimes say "fuck." I say it on my blog and in my book, too. So if you unfollow because of a tweet? It's okay. You probably don't want to read anything else I have written either. And that's fine with me. It's who I am. (Moral? Be true to the you that you have created online.)
And that, my friends, ends today's lesson in The Aspiring Mama guide to twitter. Live it. Love it.
And Tweet. Tweet.