Recently I posted for the 5000th time on Twitter. (Yes, I’m a complete Twitter toddler compared to most of you.) When I began my blog, Twitter wasn’t even really a consideration – I thought I might use it for self-promotion, and that’s about it.
Well, it’s become a lot more than that to me in the past eleven months. I’ve met some pretty cool people online, from new bloggers to blogless users who have me laughing so hard with every tweet, to well-respected writers who’ve graciously taken the time to guide me through social media and help me to improve my work.
The biggest things Twitter’s taught me so far?
- Trending is a lot tougher than it looks. I don’t know how the Biebs does it every.freaking.day. While #slooping is a worldwide problem that needs to be addressed, for the life of me I can’t seem to get it to trend. (Got kids? It’s sleep pooping. Maybe you can help me out.)
- Tweets should be about quality, not quantity. No one really cares what you do all day, unless it’s hilarious.
- Twitter is far more laid-back than Facebook. Strange, considering that on Facebook we’re laying our real names on the line. In 140 characters it’s a lot easier to say “live and let live” than to engage in a cat fight.
- There are some really neat Aussie people out there. I can connect with people from all around the world whose tweets pleasantly surprise me in the mornings as they’re heading to bed.
- We all have the same questions, fears and rants in life. Any question I ask Twitter is promptly answered by someone who’s been there. It’s not quite Google, but it’s got more personality.
- Klout is pretty unimportant, depending on what your goals are. For the longest time I was influential in avocado and Oreos, after having precisely one (short) Twitter convo about each. I want to enjoy the time I spend online, not worry that if I don’t engage the right number of influencers that my score will go down.
- Back up your blog. Often. Each week I see at least two people in my stream freaking over how they’ve been hacked. Change your online passwords regularly, and make them all different.
- RSVP carefully. Experience has taught me to choose my Twitter parties wisely. A chat that teaches me an applicable skill means a lot more than one where a bazillion women are panting for one shiny gadget… though I do like shiny gadgets.
- Doing what works for you is ultimately the way to proceed (and succeed). Twitter allows everyone an equal say, and for every successful rule-follower you’ll find a rule-breaker who’s just as successful.
A year ago I never saw myself becoming a Twitter user, yet here I am. I’m learning every day about technology, business, blogging and life in general. I haven’t used the phrase “online friends”, but there’s something that I get from my fellow Twitter users that’s as helpful and encouraging to my personal growth as my real-life people are.
That alone has made Twitter time well spent.
(Lindsey Graham (@dashingly) is a SAHM to nearly four kids aged four and under, and writes about the insanity that molds her daily existence at Campfire Song.)