Lebron James joined the Twitter generation yesterday so he can tweet his decision about where he'll play basketball next year. Lindsay Lohan is busy tweeting about her legal problems and every day thousands of people join Twitter to see what all the buzz is about.
Twitter can be a very effective tool to help get your message out to the world if used correctly. Twitter can also be detrimental if used incorrectly. Most people don't know how to use Twitter when they first join and often make mistakes. They think they need to tell us what they're doing every minute of the day, sharing personal details that we don't need to know. Some of the worst Tweets I've seen include:
I have the worst cramps!
I have a terrible headache
I'm going to the gym now
I have the worst hangover today
You get the idea. We don't care about how you feel! We joined Twitter to participate in useful conversations and to connect with like-minded people. We don't want to receive a barrage of auto-tweeted quotes or self-promotions. We want to engage in conversation with you and hear what's really on your mind.
The other day I saw a Tweet from @willotoons complaining to someone about giving her a hard time about one of her Tweets. I started following @willotoons when I first joined Twitter a few years ago because she does a great job of sharing her thoughts as well as providing great resources. I highly recommend following her to see how to use Twitter effectively.
The reason @willotoons was complaining is because some guy Tweeted something like “do we really need to know that” as his first and only tweet. He made no attempt to engage @willotoons in conversation. He just complained about her sharing of some personal thoughts.
The proper way to use Twitter if you're a beginner is to “listen” for a while before tweeting. Follow some people and see how they use Twitter. It's best to share some personal thoughts, but not TMI, and share great resources, products, or services as you come across them. Engage people in conversations and have some fun. Don't be a jerk and complain about people you don't know or make a fool of yourself. Twitter is a very effective tool if used properly so join in the fun!