Using Twitter Effectively: Part 7 of 10 – Tweeting The Minutiae of Your Life

Nat Russo How-To, Twitter, Writing 4 Comments

Tweeting every little detail of your life is a great way to make your followers lose interest in you.

“Ordering pizza lolz!” or “Need to scratch my foot” or just plain “lol!!!” with no further clarification. How many times have you seen tweets like these? My feed is loaded with them, and most of them have no context whatsoever.

 

Today, in part 6 of my 10-part series on Using Twitter Effectively we’ll cover the sort of things you probably shouldn’t share with the world.

Let’s go!

A Disclaimer

This series was originally written over a 10-day period in 2013. I’ve included relevant updates throughout the series as Twitter changed policies and procedures. Please be aware that I may not have caught all of the changes. If you find such a change that isn’t captured in this series, please leave a comment with the new Twitter policy, and I’ll update the series accordingly. Cheers!

The Details Only You Care About

You may have to go to the bathroom really…really…bad. But do you need to share that fact with the world? Consider the following series of tweets I pulled out of my feed just for this occasion:

“BRB tweeps! Nature calls!”
“Still walking to bathroom. Big house.” (about 3 seconds after the first Tweet)
“Finally in bathroom LOLZ!!!” (another second or two later)
“Just flushed!”  (<— ok, I added this one for emphasis)
“Damn, no soap.”
“Ok! What were we talking about?”

Or this one:

“Making a sandwich.”
“Had to use white bread. Ran out of wheat.”
“Need to buy more wheat bread tomorrow.”

Well, that’s just…interesting? No…no it isn’t. 

To be fair, it may very well be interesting given a proper context. You and your followers may have a running gag about wheat bread. In that case, the sandwich comments are probably hilarious! My point is that these sorts of things often happen without any other purpose than the writer wanting to hear his/her own voice.

Remember: As a writer (or any other kind of artist, for that matter), you are your brand. Again, I’m not suggesting you censor yourself. What I’m suggesting is that your followers probably follow you for a specific reason…and it’s doubtful that reason has something to do with your extreme sandwich-making skills or prowess with toilet fixtures.

Are the above examples some kind of mortal sin? If the vast majority of your Tweets are of this nature, then yes…if you’re attempting to establish a writing platform.

Exceptions

There is a difference between:

“Up now. Going to make coffee. Then going to work.”

And…

“Ugh. Coffee…NOW!”

The first reads like a to-do list. The latter reveals some of your character, and may in fact be interesting to your followers. It’s not about the “facts” of your morning routine. It’s about your attitude toward it, and your attitude about what you do is far more interesting than what you’re doing.

Context is crucial. Know your audience. If the purpose of your Tweet is to get a reaction and engage people, you do that not with the particular task you’re Tweeting about…but with your attitude toward the task.
 
There are some things going on in your life that are genuinely interesting. Others, not so much. The key is in understanding the difference. But is this really different than any other conversation you’d engage in with another person? Not really. Twitter is a social network, and it’s all about social skills.
 
Again…you know your following better than anyone else knows your following. Use that knowledge to your advantage. It’s obvious if you’re being engaging, because people will interact with you. If not, then adjust course and try again!

Twitter is NOT Your Diary

“You say you love me, then you go and do that. Hope it was worth it.”
 
Umm…ok. Who the hell is you and what in the name of Zeus’s unholy armpit hair is the that that you did?
 
Just…don’t.  Here’s a good yardstick you can use to gauge whether or not you should post something: Am I the only person who understands what I’m about to say? If the answer to that question is yes, then maybe reconsider Tweeting it.
 
Join me for part 8, when I’ll cover the dark side of auto-tweeting.

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About Nat Russo

Nat Russo is the Amazon #1 Bestselling Fantasy author of Necromancer Awakening. Nat was born in New York, raised in Arizona, and has lived just about everywhere in-between. He’s gone from pizza maker, to radio DJ, to Catholic seminarian (in a Benedictine monastery, of all places), to police officer, to software engineer. His career has taken him from central Texas to central Germany, where he worked as a defense contractor for Northrop Grumman. He's spent most of his adult life developing software, playing video games, running a Cub Scout den, gaining/losing/gaining/losing weight, and listening to every kind of music under the sun. Along the way he managed to earn a degree in Philosophy and a black belt in Tang Soo Do. He currently makes his home in central Texas with his wife, teenager, mischievous beagle, and goofy boxador.

Comments 4

  1. Other things to avoid:

    1. Overly sexual content. I’ll post a “That’s what she said” joke like a pro. But if your tweets read like porn, I’ll probably unfollow you.

    2. Famous Quotes. A quote here and there is fine, but when I see twenty tweets from the same person that are nothing but famous quotes, I’m not getting anything from the PERSON.

    3. General Rudeness. Some people tweet nonstop rudeness and crudeness for attention. That irritates me.

    1. Thanks for adding those, Jason.

      It irritates me to no end to look through my timeline and see nothing but famous quotes, auto-tweeted every few seconds/minutes, from the same person. You have to ask yourself what you’re contributing to the community when you do stuff like that. All you’re really accomplishing is cluttering up people’s timeline (and probably getting added to some lists you don’t want to be on.

      Like you, my personal preference is to avoid overly sexual content. I just can’t have it in my timeline, because if my son is looking over my shoulder while I’m scrolling I don’t want him exposed to that stuff. That being said, I would say it’s probably OK for authors of Erotica (and, to some extent Romance), but I would probably unfollow if it passed a certain threshold in my comfort zone.

  2. The TMI category! As a menopausal woman I was bummed the other day at having a period for the first time in 5 months when I thought I was done with them. Caught myself actually thinking of tweeting a moan about it but stopped. ER, NO! My readers don’t need or want to know that stuff. If you wouldn’t want to read the euww or ultra personal Too Much Information stuff about others, don’t write it. There are more appropriate platforms. You can always have a moan to your best friend on IM or something.

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