So, I’ve now been on Twitter for roughly two months. Is it doing me any good? I’m really not sure. In fact, I still don’t really get how to use it, exactly, but it’s a weird kind of fun anyway.
I will admit that I get excited when I receive a notification that somebody new has followed me. I love hearing that someone has retweeted one of my rare posts. And I keep thinking of new people I want to follow. However, my original notions about tweeting have turned out to be misconceptions. I’d imagined the medium to be like texting, where all the tweets from people you’ve followed get pushed to your phone or web browser. In reality, it seems more like Facebook. You have to actively browse through a huge amount of activity to find tweets you want to reply to, retweet or mark as “favorites”.
It’s a more effective medium for sending out news than mailing lists because of the network effect—the fact that people following you will sometimes broadcast your news to their followers. Still, a tweet, or retweet, by no means guarantees that anyone will actually see your news. It’s just as much a crapshoot as any other marketing communication.
And I really don’t understand how to use hashtags. I mean, I understand them from a technical perspective. They’re labels you put in your tweets that are searchable and provide people in the Twittersphere with a method to find and aggregate tweets. But how do you pick good hashtags? And how do you avoid using up your precious 140 characters with them?
Some tweets are nothing but hashtags, handles and links. Total gibberish, as far as I’m concerned. When I tweet, there’s something I am trying to say. And I’m not known for being particularly concise!
One problem with my use of Twitter is that I’m in a different time zone from many of my followers and the people I follow. When I rev up Tweetdeck in the morning, most of the stuff I see is old. Meanwhile, people won’t see my tweets for hours, unless I schedule them for later (which I sometimes do). I think Twitter’s most effective as a real time medium, but for me it will never be. I don’t use my phone for tweeting, due to privacy concerns. Somedays I don’t get to log on at all.
Oh well. I’ll continue to muddle along. I’m moderately confident that I’ve gotten one or two new people to pay attention to me since I’ve signed up. I’m not sure what else I can hope for!
Now I’m off to tweet about THIS post...!