Why I DO Follow You on Twitter

Last week I wrote a post called “Why I Don’t Follow You on Twitter.” That post pointed to Twitter techniques that make me run away.  This one is about techniques, ideas and tips that make me bookmark your site or follow you on Twitter. Best of all, it’s not just the opposite of what I said before.

1. Your home page is a variety of posts. When someone says they are following me, I immediately go to their Twitter home page and scan the page of posts they’ve left. If I see a mix of interesting comments, RTs (Re-Tweets–forwarding someone else’s posts you found interesting), and links, it makes me think you are exploring and sharing the good stuff.

2. You tell me why. Follow Friday (people recommending other people to follow) is a free-for-all. I’m sure a lot of people recommend others to get recommended back. Much smarter: recommend people and tell me why. “Helpful in sharing creative ideas,” “Blogs wisely on keeping clients.” Recommendations with explanations are also good for RTs and links.

3. Your writing is clear. I won’t understand everyone, don’t expect to. But if your tweets contain a bewildering message I can not decipher, using a mix of jargon, abbreviations and private references, I won’t be interested. This is not a slight, I don’t expect to understand or be intereseted in every topic. But if you want a wide-ranging audience, you have to use common words that most people understand. Here’s one I don’t get: “Cold’s better, 2 is legend,  inFamous is done… now, onto 3.”

4. You seem informed and cheerful. I know that cynicism is cool, and arrogance is the new humility. I just don’t agree with it. You don’t have to be Pollyanna, but while I love snark, there is a fine line between snark and snide.

5. You keep it interesting. I know that SEO and internet marketing gurus say to stick with one topic. I’m a fan of wide-ranging interests. If all your posts are about Tibetan throat-singing, I’m not going to follow you because I have only a passing interest in that. You may surely gather a focused group, and if that is what you want, excellent.  But if you toss in an occasional post about the Tibetan landscape,  poetry, some cultural information or links, or interesting links and descriptions of food, geography and history, I’m following you. I may not buy your CD on Tibetan throat-singing, though. And if that’s all you care about, you don’t want me following you anyway.

6. You are a good writer. OK, I promised not to simply reverse what I said last week. And I DID say I don’t follow people who can’t write. But a lot of writers could be good with just a few changes:

  • Get rid of all those multiple exclamation points and use one strong verb instead.
  • Reduce the number of elipses (those spaced dots . . . like that) or simply use them the way they are meant to be used–to indicate something missing. It’s not an indication you are thinking. It’s not the universal punctuation that can replace everything else.
  • Link to concepts, not to definitions of every word you can find in Wikipedia. (See, no link, because my readers know what Wikipedia is, and can Google it if they don’t.)

7. You are nice. One of the best tips I ever saw on Twitter was this one: Instead of just following someone back, go to their home timeline (by clicking on their name in a Twitter post or email), scan their page for a great post and Re-Tweet it. It immediately does a lot of good things–passes on a good idea, lets the other person know you actually read what they write, and makes you look smart and kind.

Go out and have fun. Twitter is an interesting collection of people. Pick interesting ones and you will not grumble about it.

Quinn McDonald is a writer, life- and creativity coach. She teaches people how to write for fun and pleasure. Follow her on Twitter. But only if you think it’s interesting.