Are you noticing that your Twitter following isn’t as engaged/responsive as you’d like? Does it feel like you’re talking to an empty room? Twitter is gaining massive popularity and many new users are operating under a few incorrect notions, or assumptions that may be affecting their effectiveness in this relatively picky digital landscape. It’s time to set the record straight: if your Twitter followers aren’t talking to you it may be because your tweets are irrelevant, robotic, or infrequent.
Irrelevant: No one cares about what you ate for breakfast
One of the biggest misconceptions about Twitter is that we all tweet what we ate for breakfast and that we’re all very interested in the random minutiae of each others’ lives. While, some randomness IS interesting and engaging, generally speaking… no one cares!
Robotic: You’re the mayor of McDonalds
“Autotweets” or tweets that go out automatically because of another action you’ve taken (posted a blog, checked in using Foursquare, updated your Facebook status, etc.) are both a blessing and a curse in the Twitter world. It IS important to tweet frequently, however, if all your tweets are automatically tweeted it gives the impression that you’re never actually tweeting or talking to people. Why would I want to talk to a robot? I don’t.
Infrequent: Are you even tweeting?
How often do you post? Twitter is face paced (much more so than Facebook). If you’re an infrequent tweeter, who rarely takes time to tweet, your tweets are probably going to be buried pretty quickly in the stream. If they don’t see your avatar often, they may not care as much to carefully read your tweets.
Irrelevant: I followed you because you like X, but I’ve discovered you only ever tweet about Y (I’m minutes away from unfollowing you!)
Are your tweets all over the map in terms of content? If you tweet about your daily life, work, social media, and your various hobbies, its possible that your followers aren’t interested in a majority of your tweets. People generally follow other tweeters because they believe that person is going to discuss a topic that they’re interested in. If you’re not talking about my interests, I’m not engaged, period. Further, once I realize you’re not talking about my interests, I’m probably going to unfollow you.
Robotic: Your followers are profit seeking, scum-sucking, weasels – Sorry!
Ok, to be fair, this one probably isn’t your fault. Somehow, you’ve attracted bots, and shady businesses that are only on Twitter to get something from you. They are following you because they think at some point you’re going to follow them back, or you’ll take their survey, OR your tweets will somehow benefit them. Sorry. Sometimes even the nicest tweeters get shady followers.
Are YOU talking to others?
The best way to create engaged followers is to engage them! Strike up conversations, ask questions, respond to tweets, reply and retweet with comments. When you take the time to talk to others, they notice, and are more likely to talk back! It’s as simple as that.
3 thoughts on “Twitter: Are You Talking to an Empty Room?”
I have a question. As a person who no longer has a blog, and who recently deleted her Facebook profile because of privacy concerns, I'm not sure I understand the purpose of some forms of social media. I'm even more confused by self-referential social media like this blog. At what point does it stop being an exercise in self-promotion? And what does that self promotion accomplish? You've already pointed out that people rarely care what kind of latte you are drinking or what your opinion was when that guy cut you off in traffic, so what do you talk about? Is twitter the new (perverted) chat room of the 90s? I think that people forget that the internet is NOT anonymous: there are people they know following them on blogs and facebook and twitter, and they lose all sense of caution when dumping their life story into the stewpot. We are turning into a society of trolls and gossips because we suddenly have access to more personal information about more people. We track people that we don’t know for the sake of knowing them better, when in fact we know only the face that they show on the internet. We are more prone to rash judgments and to saying things we never would say to a person who was right in front of us. I don’t think conversations are less relevant when they are between two people with a table, instead of a world, between them. In fact, I think they remove the sense of bravado that comes with saying something to a room of people that you don’t have to look at, that you can choose not to reply to, that you can unfriend with a click. Conversations are tricky, it is true, but using social media to pave the way for conversations we would normally be unwilling to have is deceitful. And this website seems to be providing a template for it. For now, if I want to interface with the world, I go out into it.
This probably isn't entirely how you intended it, but I'm looking at this as a really good "how to Tweet" post, as well as what you've literally said.Early adoption (or hell, at this point just adoption) of Twitter is a bit of a hurdle in my industry (journalism) because a lot of people think, "Why do I care what some guy is having for breakfast?" Obviously it's more than that and it just requires that as you grow your account, you seek out intelligent and engaged users that share your interests.Great post. Thanks for the Twitter follow, too.
Paul, Thank you!! and Anon, I would love to address all your points more thoroughly in a blog post, when I grab a free second I'm going to attempt to tackle it. 😉