Blog, Podcast, and Video Guides 12 Comments

Newbie Blogger Initiative: Tips for New Twitterers

The Newbie Blogger Initiative is going on in May! If you are a new blogger, podcaster, or video maker then check it out! If you are looking for new things to read and listen and watch, also check it out!


I’m always a little torn when it comes to Twitter.

On the one hand I think it’s been bad for blogging because it has taken conversation away from blogs and into a 140 character format that is pretty useless for critical thought. On the other hand, Twitter not only provides one of the best syndication options around, particularly in a post-Google-Reader world, but also is an amazing tool for meeting other bloggers, staying on top of industry news, and (gasp) making friends.

At the end of the day, if you’re not hanging out on social media you’re missing a lot of fun. So below is some advice I have for new bloggers who are just getting started on Twitter. Let me emphasize that this is stuff that works for me, but your social media is all about you. Do what feels right, man.

1) Announce your creative efforts on Twitter. Twice even!

Sometimes people worry about promoting their own work. Maybe they’re shy, or they don’t want to seem conceited. Perhaps they’re worried about being seen as a term I absolutely loathe, an “attention whore”.

Whatever! If I follow you on Twitter and you have a blog (or podcast or YouTube channel or whatever), I want to hear when you post something new. Sing it, my creative friends. And if you create something you’re really proud of or posted about it at a weird time, retweet it the next morning or later in the day.

2) Follow people.

Unless someone’s account is protected, everyone is on Twitter to meet people, have conversations, and earn followers. Sometimes I get weird about following someone who is “popular” or particularly cool, and that’s just silly. That is why they’re on Twitter!

Once or twice a month I make an effort to find some new folks to follow, whether it’s taking people up on their Follow Friday suggestions or snooping on a friend’s following list (I have totally done this to both Syl and Belghast) and adding anyone who looks cool. Find a new blog you like? Follow them on Twitter right away!

Internet math shows that the more people you follow, the more people will follow you, but that’s not really the point. The point is getting the most out of Twitter — seeing the most conversations, the most news, the most opinions. Meeting as many people as possible.

3) Talk to people.

You’re following a ton of people. Now what?

When I first started hanging around Twitter I would just kind of post a few things a day and then sit back to see what happened. While this was fine, it didn’t really encourage interaction and Twitter never really clicked for me. Nowadays over half of my tweets each day are directed to specific recipients, and I retweet and favorite other people’s stuff a lot more. You can’t just wait for people to interact with you — get out there and start chatting!

Even if you’re not interacting directly with someone, it’s great for newbie bloggers in particular and the community in general to tweet links to other people’s content. For what it’s worth, “science” has determined that people get the best response on Twitter if they make 8-20 public posts a day. I certainly am not saying that you need to stick to that, but it just goes to show that you can tweet quite a bit in a day without irritating folks. (I used to be paranoid about tweeting more than twice a day, seriously.)

3b) Don’t be afraid to unfollow.

It’s Twitter. You’re following someone, you’re not married to them. (Probably. Unless you are married to them in which case ignore this point.) If someone stops interesting you, or changes their subject matter, or says something you find unreasonably jerky, just unfollow them. It’s okay. It’s your feed, and you can curate it as you want.

4) Try to avoid being relentlessly negative.

So this one is kind of a personal opinion, but I find it exhausting when a twitter person is negative the vast majority of the time. You know the type — everything from waking up in the morning to going to bed at night is a slap in the face! That video game change is stupid. This game is for idiots. That platform is bringing down the industry and oh my god free to play makes me want to hate vomit ALL OVER EVERYONE ALL THE TIME.

Everyone has bad days and I’m not saying you have to be a Stepford Tweeter. And if there’s something that is offensive, then by all means talk about it! But I enjoy a Twitter-er more if they, overall, talk about stuff they like rather than stuff they hate.

5) Be consistent with your subject matter, particularly early on.

This one is tough because we are all diverse people with hopefully diverse interests. For example, I obviously like MMOs, but that’s not my one all-consuming hobby. I also like to learn new recipes. I have seen just about every horror movie ever. Lately I’m really into bicycling, and doing a lot of reading on bike repair and working on improving my distances.

That being said, by far the primary focus of my public tweets are related to games. It’s just kind of easier to have an identity if you focus on one interest, and your followers generally know what to expect, too.

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  • Reply
    May 8, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Social media and blogs are strange bedfellows. On one hand, these days I get almost as many hits from twitter as I do from other people’s blogrolls; on the other, I end up having conversations about said blog post in many places: Facebook, Twitter, my comment section. But I definitely agree, Twitter is an amazing tool for both meeting people, and self-promotion.

    To expand on your point about multiple tweets on your creative posts, most feeds are filled with a lot of people, which means as far as I’m aware, if you weren’t awake for a tweet, it may as well have not happened. With folks around the world, I try to do my self-promotion tweets twice: once in the morning, once in the evening. Let’s me reach folks on both sides of the world.

    Great post!
    Talarian´s last post: Fifteen Lessons Video Games Have Taught Me

    • Reply
      Jessica Cook
      May 8, 2014 at 10:56 am

      I have done a fair bit of searching for some way to pull Twitter / Social Media conversation about one of my posts into the comments, but nothing plays nicely with each other and I don’t have the gumption to write a tool from scratch.

      And you are so right about time zones! As a west coast person, a lot of prime time internet happens in the morning while I’m asleep. I use sometimes to auto-post things for both coasts (and Europe).

  • Reply
    May 8, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Very good advice. I joined Twitter back then at the advice of one of my WoW blogging heroes at the time, Veneretio. I still find it very engaging to discuss things there, and I am pretty sure my auto-tweet when I publish actually brings quite a bit of (the little) traffic (I have) to my site.
    Kadomi´s last post: Wildstar: A closer look at paths

    • Reply
      Jessica Cook
      May 8, 2014 at 11:12 am

      I agree! Twitter is really important to small bloggers from a traffic perspective at a minimum.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I’ll have to get my wife to stop accidentally posting cat videos on our twitter.
    Gubjub´s last post: Virika’s Tradeskills Secrets (first draft)

    • Reply
      Jessica Cook
      May 8, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Well the First Rule of the Internet is: cats are always okay. ;)

  • Reply
    May 8, 2014 at 11:11 am

    I keep debating on creating a Facebook account. Twitter has been relatively successful (despite that I only talk about games periodically, and really post random musings and retweets), so I keep debating making a FB page, but I feel that would be like if Clark Kent were to suddenly take off his glasses.

    What makes Twitter work is that Twitter is based around the commonality of interests, so you’re meeting strangers who you share interests with. Facebook is more about friends and family… and I don’t know if I like revealing my “secret identity” like that.

    Afterall, my own wife knows about my site, but has never read a single post. I’m sure a great majority would be about my family and friends the same way.
    Ocho´s last post: Leveling Up the Hardware: 5 Recent Tech Upgrades Worth Every Penny

    • Reply
      Jessica Cook
      May 8, 2014 at 11:51 am

      For what it’s worth I have a Facebook page where I repost blog things and interesting gamer links and such, and it gets almost no attention ever. If it wasn’t entirely automated I probably wouldn’t even bother.

      It’s weird because most blog advice people are all about Facebook pages, but I just don’t think that translates very well for our community for whatever reason.

  • Reply
    Roger Edwards
    May 8, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    I enjoy Twitter, although it is not for everyone. Context and tone are not always immediately apparent so you need to have some idea about the people you’re following. This helps you gauge such things a irony and sarcasm.

    I keep my tweeting to promoting my own and others blogs as well as indulging in some banter with like minded folk. As mentioned above it really helps to keep the tone light. I have unfollowed a few people because they were using Twitter as a platform to air their grievances about every aspect of their life.

    Writer and social commentator Charlie Brooker (seek out his work) reckons that Twitter is ultimately a game in itself. You adopt an avatar which is a stylised approximation of your own personality and then level up by gaining followers and getting retweeted. I think he may be right.
    Roger Edwards´s last post: Taking the Hobbits to Isengard – Landroval

    • Reply
      Jessica Cook
      May 8, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      “Writer and social commentator Charlie Brooker (seek out his work)…”

      I know him! He created the Black Mirror anthology, which Syl suggested I watch last year, and is super duper amazing. I mean, he’s done other things too, but Black Mirror!

      I think he’s quite right about Twitter. Sometimes I have to remind myself that in social media in general people are putting on avatars, as you wrote, and it’s not just that everyone else in the world is leading constantly exciting and successful lives.

  • Reply
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