We’re all laughing at you behind your back. It’s true. I know that’s pretty rude of me to say but I couldn’t hold it in any longer. If it makes you feel any better, I’ll probably get in trouble once everyone else finds out that I told you. We had a pact.
It’s nothing personal. I’m sure that you think that you are a Twitter ninja. That you pretty much have everything under control. That you’re a pro. After all, you have over 500 people following you! That’s a lot of eyeballs! And that’s what makes this so hard.
We’re not following you. We’re using you. Some of us follow you simply because you follow us. Others follow you because you have a large following that we want to tap into. And the rest don’t even realize they are following you.
We all have one thing in common. We’re not listening. And it’s not because there is so much noise out there. Or even because we’re not that interested in what you have to say. It’s because we think you are dumb. At least that’s how you come across. Deep down inside we know that you aren’t, but the things that you say and do project an overwhelming stench of dumbassery.
This won’t go away on its own, so please allow me to share some of the things that are the worst offenders. Stop doing them and hopefully you will be able to pick up the shattered pieces of your Twitter reputation.
There is a very special place in hell (right next to the guy that wrote the “Hot Pockets” jingle) for those who send out auto direct messages to each new follower.
Direct messages are a great tool to use. But not abuse. They are meant as a way to privately Tweet someone that you already have a relationship with in an attempt to build a stronger relationship. The keyword phrase in that sentence is: someone that you already have a relationship with. Just to give you an idea as to how important that phrase is, I am going to say it again only this time in all caps because I can’t physically grab you by the collar and shout it:
SOMEONE THAT YOU ALREADY HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH!!!
And that does not include someone that just started following you in real-time. Sending a direct message to a complete stranger asking them to follow you on Facebook or check out your blog is the digital equivalent of walking up to someone you are attracted to at a bar and asking them to buy you a drink without even introducing yourself.
You are only to use Direct Messages to strengthen relationships that you already have. Period. And if you do continue this charade of sending out spammy DM’s, just know that we will be forced to hunt you down and bitch slap you well into next week.
Thanks for the Follow
This one comes in a few different flavors. You have the “Thanks for following”, the “Thanks for following, check out my blog” and then of course for those that can’t actually spell the word follow or are just too lazy to try, you have “Thanks for the flw!” This half-assed attempt at being grateful to someone for following you shows absolutely zero effort or originality. And it gives no reason to remember who you are or have any interest in what you have to say. Ever.
Instead, take a few seconds out of your incredibly important day and read their profile. Check out their website. Learn something about them. Anything. It shouldn’t take more than 5 seconds. And then thank them for following you by making mention of it. It’s just about being interested in what they are doing instead of expecting them to magically be interested in you.
Guess what happens when you do this? You stand out like a green hat with an orange bill (I have no idea what that means, but thanks Eminen). While everyone else is sending group thank you’s, you are making an attempt to get to know them. And when you show an interest in someone they will almost always respond by showing an interest in you. It’s human nature. It’s what we do in person. Why would Twitter be any different?
Thanks for Sharing
The same exact rules apply here so I won’t bore you with a repeat of the previous section. Just make your thank you’s specific. Use their name. Compliment them. Ask them how you can return the favor. Figure out a way to give back to them. If all you do is take, eventually they are going to move on to the next blogger…yeah, that’s right there are other bloggers out there.
Follow Friday could be a pretty cool concept if people actually did it right. Unfortunately they don’t. When you post #FF and then a series of usernames, the only people that care are on the list. What good does that do you? It makes you feel warm and fuzzy for a few seconds. Woo hoo!
Why not pick one or two people that you really like to follow instead and send out a separate Tweet for each and tell us why we should follow them? For example:
Yeah, you can Tweet that right now if you want to. I won’t be mad. Even if it isn’t Friday.
Anyway, a couple of good things come from doing it this way. First, you are actually adding value to your followers by helping them determine whether this person is someone they would find interesting. Second, you are adding value to the person you mentioned because they are likely to increase their following. And third, they are likely to Retweet your post since you said something really nice, thus introducing you to their followers which could likely increase your following. It’s a win-win-win.
And for those that don’t play nice? I suggest we start #UW for Unfollow Wednesday.
This has got to be the stupidest thing I have ever seen. If you don’t know what TrueTwit is, it goes something like this. I follow you. But instead of following you, I get a direct message from a third party asking me to confirm. I click on the link and get sent on some wild goose chase in order to have the luxury of being able to listen to what senseless drivel you bring to the conversation. So not only are you breaking the first rule of sending out an auto DM but you are making me jump through hoops in order to follow you. So guess what I do? I delete your DM and forget that you ever existed. And so you have officially lost a potentially valuable follower. Congrats!
Why would you do that? Who cares if people are following you? If you want full control over who follows you, get the heck off Twitter and go back to Facebook.
Tweet Link-less and Quote-less
I’m pretty sure there are other options besides Tweeting either a link or an inspirational quote that you found in a fortune cookie and pretend to live by. You could actually say stuff too. Interesting stuff. Funny stuff. Sarcastic stuff. Or even just state the fact that you have nothing of any value to say.
Doing this starts something called a conversation. That’s when two or more people are talking with each other. It’s actually pretty cool. I highly recommend it. You see, when you post a link it requires that people read your content and Retweet it. Same with a quote. The only thing left to do is retweet them. It’s not like you are going to improve on that Gandhi quote or anything.
Both of these are one-sided communications…there is little reason to respond. You are standing in front of the room talking at everyone instead of talking with everyone. Big difference. Instead, say something. Ask a question. Start a conversation.
Now Go Ahead On with Your Twitterific Self
There are more. Don’t worry. There will probably be a part 2 of this post eventually. But for now, fix this stuff and you are well on your way.
Look, you are smarter than this. We both know that. And you are missing out on a lot of really great people out there. You don’t have to be the dumb annoying person that we see you as. It’s not too late. Heed the warning. Change your ways. Join the rest of us humans that use Twitter as a way to build actual relationships. And stop worrying about the numbers. We are not numbers. We are people. My name is Marc, not 2,6504,666. What’s yours?