Twitter Tuesday #16

Welcome to the sixteenth installment of Twitter Tuesday. In the spirit of Twitter, this blog will be short and sweet and to the point. The tips offered here are all based off my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. If our goal is to build an author platform in the thousands to tens of thousands, then we will have to approach Twitter differently than a faceless corporation or even the regular person who does not possess a goal of becoming a brandwill help you rule the Twitterverse without devolving into a spam bot.

This Week’s Fail Whale–Uptight Tweeter

When we are new to Twitter, I think all of us are Uptight Tweeters. We have all of this conversation going on all around us, and we feel the need to answer anyone who talks to us… instantly. This is part of how Twitter can become such a huge time suck. We want to create conversations, but then we feel guilty disengaging once drawn into discussion. We are overly polite.

The Uptight Tweeter is so polite, that she is afraid she will offend someone by not anwering right away. To avoid being rude, Uptight Tweeter starts avoiding conversations or even feels guilty if she cannot tweet during the day due to a work schedule.

This behavior, however, will severely limit any benefit pone can get out of Twitter. We need to engage, get in the mix and have conversations. Otherwise, we will be percieved as little better than a bot.

The solution?

This Week’s Twitter Tip–The Chill Tweeter

Chill Tweeter knows, “It’s all cool.” Twitter is a giant cocktail party, but it is NOT instant messaging. Am I the only one who hates IM? That is actually one of the FB functions I could do without. I don’t mind people I know IMing me, but people I have never talked to? I am not going to stop in the middle of my work day to have a conversation. Sorry. Not being mean. I just have a lot to do and am easily….OOH! Squirrel!

…sidetracked.

IM has that “must be tended now and don’t leave me hanging” effect. Why? Because if we miss an IM, we really can’t get back to the other person without converting to a message and blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I’m not that motivated either.

How is Twitter any different? Well, when someone IMs me on Yahoo or FB, there really is no way of knowing if I am taking a break. On Twitter? It generally only takes a couple tweets to realize this person tweeting isn’t elbow deep in revisions. How do we know this? They are chatting. If they’re busy? Um…most of us will tweet, “Crap. Elbow deep in revisions” and then promptly disappear.

The cool thing about Twitter is, well, it is Twitter….NOT IM. This is tremendously liberating. Guess what? If people want an instant answer they can consult Google or call 911 (Kidding)! On Twitter? We get to it when we get to it. I regularly take breaks from writing and scan the Mentions column (anything with @KristenLambTX). That is the TweetDeck column for any person who has mentioned me, asked me a question, posited a thought, etc.

When I get on Twitter, the first thing I do is scan that coumn and tie up loose ends. I merely pick up the conversation where it left off. If the other person is on-line at the same time? She can do the same and the chit-chat can resume.

On Twitter? Chill. Enjoy. If people know you work during the day, they will not need therapy if you don’t respond until evening. And if they do? Get new friends. That’s kinda weird to be so needy.

I follow people all over the world, and there is no way I could stay sane if I tried to talk to all of them real-time. I respond to my UK peeps often when they are asleep. But they get back to me the next day just fine with no permanent damage. If you work during the day, you might just have a different group of friends you chat with real-time; maybe West Coasters and some Aussies. They are cool, and they need Twitter love, too.

The thing is that Twitter took the beauty of IM (conversation) and removed the needy weirdness. Yes, IM has needy weirdness. I have been on IMs where the other person just…vanished and I spent the rest of the evening thinking I had ticked the person off or in some way offended them.

On Twitter, people respond if and when they can and no one takes offense. Well, they shouldn’t take offense. It’s Twitter, not dating. So calm down, and chill, bay-bee.

Tweet ya later!

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  1. #1 by Tony Hastings on May 3, 2011 - 12:45 pm

    Sound advice Kristen, as one of those in the UK I do find a number of mentions when I wake up both from people ahead and those behind and like you I make sure I respond where required.

    It is a more relaxing way to communicate although one problem I can encounter (the memory is not what it used to be) is that sometimes I can get a reply to one of my own Tweets or a DM and can’t remember what it was all about!

    So it’s a yes from me to being a ‘Chill Tweeter’ – as long as we all play by your rules Twitter will remain a stress free zone.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    • #2 by Sonia G Medeiros on May 3, 2011 - 3:42 pm

      “I get a reply to one of my own tweets or a DM and can’t remember what it was all about!”

      LOL. That happens to me too. I’m grateful that the “in reply to” thingie on tweets. DMs can be harder. I’m so glad I’m not the only one that forgets sometimes.😀

  2. #3 by Jill Kemerer on May 3, 2011 - 12:57 pm

    Yes! I’m with you. I’m not an IM’er. Frankly, I’m not much good on the phone either. I like doing things in my own time. I love Twitter because I can come back to it throughout the day and continue a conversation. It’s not like being on hold–I can get things done. Yay!

  3. #4 by amyshojai on May 3, 2011 - 12:57 pm

    Chill tweeting rules. And I love Tweetdeck for that reason, it helps me keep track of what’s what. I also try to start posts with a ‘hey there y’all, present!’ and end with ‘not to be rude but I gotz woik to do’ sort of tweet.

  4. #5 by Elle on May 3, 2011 - 1:19 pm

    I never thought people could get irritated if I don’t answer back straightaway. Some people seem to spend their days on it, I don’t. I’m writing:)

  5. #6 by Piper Bayard on May 3, 2011 - 1:58 pm

    I definitely started out as an uptight tweeter, but now I find I get into conversations because I really like my tweeps. When I ask all 2k or so of them how they are doing in the morning, I really want to know how they are and what they’re up to, and I genuinely enjoy chatting with them. I want to hear how their kids are doing, I want to be there for them during their times of grief, and I want to celebrate their successes. That’s where it’s a time suck for me. Helps that my editor has put me on a Twitter diet.🙂 I’m finding my tweeps are most supportive of me when I put it to them that way.

    • #7 by Gene Lempp on May 3, 2011 - 3:29 pm

      That’s because we all love you and understand Piper! Already started “dieting” as well, inspired by your tweets on this. Makes one put things in perspective🙂

    • #8 by Sonia G Medeiros on May 3, 2011 - 3:43 pm

      You tweeting that you were on a Twitter diet inspired me to go on one too! Thanks for that!!!

  6. #9 by India Drummond on May 3, 2011 - 2:25 pm

    That’s definitely my favourite thing about Twitter too! No pressure! Sometimes I don’t even reply to things for a couple of days. If I take a day away, nobody cares. It’s magic!

  7. #10 by K.B. Owen on May 3, 2011 - 2:28 pm

    It took me a while to get into the rhythm of twitter conversations, and I still don’t know how to set up lists, so I miss some conversations (such as Piper asking the Twitterverse how we’re all doing). Overall, though, it’s definitely more comfortable than IM on Fb, where I can’t always answer right away (three boys, dinner time, everyone wanting a piece of me), so then I’ll get those “hello? still there?” IMs in the middle of a Fb conversation I had to drop,

    Hey, If I’m too busy to respond, then I’m certainly too busy to type: “busy right now.”
    Thanks for your post, Kristen!

  8. #11 by Loree Huebner on May 3, 2011 - 2:43 pm

    I’m still new to twitter. I may be a little bit uptight yet…at times. I do like the “no pressure” as I connect. And I love to find new places to visit. : )

  9. #12 by Terrell Mims on May 3, 2011 - 2:54 pm

    Great blog. That is exactly how I always treated Twitter, very chill. I do the very same thing as you. I go straight to mentions. Then I go to the main timeline. Check out about to several hours ago and then check off after tweeting a few people.

  10. #13 by Erin Brambilla on May 3, 2011 - 3:06 pm

    Glad I’m not the only one who hates IMing🙂. I admit, I think I’m an uptight tweeter. It’s not so much I require an answer from someone right away, it’s that I feel paranoid they may expect that of me. I just don’t want to be rude. And you’re right, that makes it a giant time suck. I’m going to relax now. I also have just figured out TweetDeck for saving searches and things. I will figure out lists next. Then I’ll be all set. Thanks for all the great advice!

  11. #14 by nataliefaybooks on May 3, 2011 - 3:15 pm

    Oh twitter… I used to be very attentive. But you see, what is to be impolite on twitter? What is to be polite? For example, I consider that to thank RTs and follows is polite. What do think of writing a post about Twitter Etiquette?

  12. #18 by Les Howard on May 3, 2011 - 3:16 pm

    I like IM but perhaps I treat it a bit differently.

    If someone IMs me and I don’t want to talk at that time, I ignore it. If I respond, I continue the conversation until I need to bow out then do it gracefully. It’s not much different than a telephone conversation but using a keyboard.

    Maybe it works for me because all my Facebook ‘friends’ really are friends that I have face-to-face relationships with – as opposed to the multitude of Facebook pages I have ‘liked’. Pages don’t show up in the chat box.

  13. #19 by Gene Lempp on May 3, 2011 - 3:27 pm

    I was definitely uptight before I got on Twitter but I feel like I’m pretty relaxed now and getting a feel for the landscape. Oddly, this just came up yesterday. Said hi to one of my favorite tweets who was very busy at the time. She tweeted this back with an apology some time later and I responded back, “Understand, busy too. The great thing is there is no deadline to respond”

    The world won’t end if it takes some time to respond. Relax and chill with Twitter, at least after you are done reading Kristen’s great posts🙂

    Peaceful Journeys!

  14. #20 by Christine Ashworth on May 3, 2011 - 3:36 pm

    I’ve heard that Twitter bought Tweetdeck. Should we be worried? Oh and thanks for another fabulous blog post! I love the chill factor of Twitter.

  15. #21 by mj on May 3, 2011 - 4:07 pm

    This is one of the exact reasons I love twitter. No pressure, but also don’t be rude. You just don’t have the anxiety of having to respond right away. Esp if you don’t know or are just getting to know the person. It’s like texting. A txting convo has to end at some point and it makes me uncomfortable when people keep going on and on and never end their text conversations. Good post, thanks.

  16. #22 by Anne R. Allen on May 3, 2011 - 4:10 pm

    I’m soooo with you on IM-ing. I’ll disable it wherever I can. It’s just asking to be bullied. I actually broke up with a guy who kept IM-ing me when I was working. He had lots of time to kill because he was on salary. He couldn’t get his brain around the idea that a writer needs to work to get paid. And needs concentration to work. He’d get furious if I didn’t want to have long rambling conversations with him several times a day. I disabled the IM on my computer and told him to find somebody as useless as he was. Sorry. I’m ranting. But seriously, how do people have the time?

    Twitter, on the other hand, is easy. You check your @ messages. You answer them. Maybe you’ll get some more tonight. Maybe not. If somebody gets their panties in a bunch, you unfollow.

  17. #23 by Marcia on May 3, 2011 - 4:19 pm

    Whew! The pressure is off! Thanks, Kristen!

  18. #24 by M.E. Anders on May 3, 2011 - 5:08 pm

    Kristen – thanks for knocking that weighty camel of Uptight Twitterness off my back. Great post, as always!🙂

  19. #25 by andrewmocete on May 3, 2011 - 6:54 pm

    Did you really have to write a whole post about me, Kristen? If you didn’t want me to IM you, all you had to do was ask. Jeez!

  20. #26 by jfhilborne on May 4, 2011 - 2:49 am

    So true. I started out as the uptight tweeter and morphed into the chilled tweeter and savvy blocker once I realized the time drain. Can’t always tweet much during the day, but even if I could I wouldn’t. Some tweeters tweet junk just for the sake of it (hence the savvy blocker). I also hate IM and limit my FB time because of it. Great post.

  21. #27 by Julie Musil on May 4, 2011 - 3:32 am

    Ha! I love this. Yes, Twitter is a heck of a lot of fun, totally relaxed, and full of information. I love the cocktail party comparison. Plus, you don’t have to wear uncomfortable shoes😀

  22. #28 by Patrick Thunstrom on May 5, 2011 - 5:19 am

    I’ll agree. Twitter took some getting used to, but it’s my preferred network now! (I also treat IMs like I do twitter, I’ll get to you when I get to you. I’m idling most of the day anyway!)

  23. #29 by Marilag Lubag on May 6, 2011 - 7:46 am

    That’s why I do my best to keep Twitter at a minimum. It becomes a time suck for me for being drawn to conversations with wonderful people. I’m swinging between being a polite Tweeter and a chill Tweeter.

  24. #30 by Patricia DeWit on May 10, 2011 - 12:34 am

    Oh that needy IMer… “Where’d you go?” Sheesh. Give me some space!

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