For many years I refused to use Twitter. There were enough demands on my time and energy without this trivial, sound-bite method of communication, I thought. Even though I worked in the field of nonprofit publicity, where using Twitter was becoming an essential part of the game, I firmly held to this principle.
Then I became a book blogger (talk about demands on time and energy!) and saw so many other bloggers happily using Twitter that I impulsively jumped in. And surprise — I loved it! I like the quick, informal interactions, and there’s always something new and interesting to see.
There are some things I don’t like, though. The number of messages in my feed can be overwhelming, and I don’t like not having any ability to filter out messages that are not of interest to me. (Yes, I have used TweetDeck, but that doesn’t really help — it gives me the ability to put messages into different categories, but then I still have to look at them all to see what’s there.)
There are also things I don’t understand, like Twitter chats. When I try to follow or participate in the hashtag, I have a hard time following the conversation. I can’t find the questions, or some responses are missing, and I lose the thread and get frustrated. Is there some secret I’m not aware of? (Aha — I just figured out I should be making sure I see the posts in “live” view so they are chronological, not “top.” That might help.)
I wonder about some matters of etiquette. There are some bloggers who very kindly retweet some of my posts. I try to thank them every week, but should I be retweeting in return? I’m pretty lazy about that. Also, I know some say you should follow everyone who follows you, but there’s no way I can do that. I have to exclude even some bloggers I really like — not to mention many authors and publishers — because if I didn’t my feed would become way too enormous. Another question: I see some people tweeting multiple times about the same post or event — is this really all right? I can understand you might want to catch those who didn’t see your first mention, but it could become annoying.
Then there’s security. I notice a lot of random people — authors, a lot of them — follow me, and I wonder about their motives. Who can usefully follow so many people? Are they fishing for me to follow them? I don’t really do personal tweets, so mostly I leave them to it, although I have blocked some that seem inappropriate (porn and such). Is there something more I should be doing?
So, Twitter-users, let me know if you have any tips or tricks or suggestions for me. Why and how do you use Twitter? Or if you don’t, why not? Let’s discuss!