Ah Twitter: endless observational comedy from your desktop and more food photography than you could shake an iFridge at. Not only will it help you listen in on your heroes, meet your peers and influence public debate, it’s also a tailor-made window to the world. So, don’t cover it in shit curtains and I <3 Beer stickers – make it shine. Here are five common Twitter mistakes and how to avoid them…
1. Not having a photo
First things first: if you don’t have a photo, you look like a big ole spambot of egg. You also look a bit like the person at a party who doesn’t take their coat off – you’re not really getting into the fun of it. It doesn’t have to be a perfectly posed portrait, just get something up there.
2. Being too informal
Oh guys. I know, there are some really hilarious people out there who tweet nothing but filth and libel all day. But those people are either professional comedians tweeting in a persona (see Rob Delaney, Megan Amram) or they’re unemployed no-marks. If you tweet that you’ve just had a wank, hate your job or are mashed off your tits while kicking in someone’s wheelie bin, people will judge you and you may even get into trouble. Potential collaborators, employers and friends can find everything you say, and you can’t control how they will react. So, be funny, be filthy, be controversial if you wish, but just be clever about it.
3. Retweeting endless praise
Oh yawn off. Retweeting someone suggesting you in a “follow Friday” is lame. Retweeting someone saying “Oh babes, you look so gorge in your pic lol. Love ya babes ;-)” is lamer than a two-legged cat in a lawnmower. Just have a little bit of self-restraint.
4. Not understanding the @ function
Let me break it down. If you @ someone at the beginning of a tweet, only people who follow you and them will see it. If you want all your followers to see it, then put a full stop before their name (like .@joebloggs You’re great, Joe).
Secondly, if you @ someone you’re slagging off it is extremely likely they’ll see it. Even massive celebrities with thousands of followers can notice someone slagging them off and can, in certain circumstances, take action against you (see Grace Dent threatening to get the publicist who said she looked like a horse sacked). Also, it’s just rude and shitty and the world would be a much nicer place if you didn’t do it.
5. Just tweeting links to your blog/show/article/video
Twitter is an undeniably great place to network, get your stuff seen, promote your work and generally pimp yourself out. But a person who just tweets links to their blog is a boring person to follow. Twitter is a conversation – talk to people. Reply to their tweets, engage in debates, tell us something about you that isn’t directly linked to your work and make us interested.
And two more for luck…
Don’t get all whiney, passive aggressive and rude if someone doesn’t follow you back. That’s just like pissing on someone’s shoes after you’ve smiled at them in a bar. It’s not going to endear you to anyone.
If you post a photo in a tweet, even if it is @ someone, everyone will be able to see it in your Recent Images. So, you know, keep it classy.
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