When I first started on Twitter, as I have recounted many a time before, I thought that I was missing out on a really huge joke. I had been hearing about how great Twitter was for about 2 years, and I decided that I should at least be able to talk intelligently about why so many people thought it was great. I figured I might as well jump in and try it out. I expected that I’d send a few tweets out, people would start talking to me, and then I’d be all set.
Boy was I wrong.
First of all, as so many people new to Twitter do, I followed most of the accounts that Twitter suggested. Say hello to Rainn Wilson, Harvard Business Review, Yoko Ono, Fast Company, Mashable, and Michael Ian Black. I was sort of scratching my head. Do these folks reply to someone who is just getting used to Twitter? As I stuck around a bit, the answer became clear. No. No they don’t.
In the meantime, I had started to follow enough people that I noticed that there were conversations going on. In fact, some people had really fun conversations. Some people could say anything and it would get retweeted. Boy was I jealous of them. I couldn’t get a single person to reply to me. I tried everything. Since I was having the same problem on my blog, I was getting quite the complex. Was I doing something wrong? Was I just too new? How long did you have to stick around before you had cut your teeth enough?
In short, I was getting rather discouraged with the whole mess.
If you are here, or if you have been here recently, take heart. There are things you can do to get out of that hole.
1. Pay compliments: When you are new, nobody cares about what blog post you just wrote or the fact that you have a Facebook page. It’s brutal but true. In order to get to know people, you have to be the one that asks people if they want to dance. One of the best ways to do this is to compliment a person who wrote a post you like, or if you see good news streaming by, congratulate the person. This not only creates a warm and squishy feeling for them, but it also proves you are not a bot.
2. Don’t try too hard: When I was trying to get people to tweet back to me, I tried all sorts of approaches except for one – just being myself. I asked questions, I tried to be funny, I tried to do little comedic routines even. The best single approach is to be yourself. Be natural. You don’t want people to talk to you just to tell you to shut up 🙂
3. Go. To. Chats: Now, I’m not going to lie. When you are brand new to Twitter, chats can be pretty intimidating. There are a lot of people talking, and you need to figure out how to follow the conversation. Since you’re not used to being in or around conversations, this can be a bit awkward. Try it anyway. Even if you respond to just one person who is saying stuff you agree with in the chat, you will start to lay the foundation for getting to talk to people. The more people you talk to, the more people you will have the chance to get to know. And guess what? Once people know you, they tend to talk to you more!
When I attended my first ever #blogchat, I was on the verge of giving up on Twitter for all of the reasons I mentioned above. By the end of my first chat, I had what I now call “the #blogchat high.” Not only had people responded to me, but I instantaneously saw the value of Twitter – real-time exchanges of ideas, help, questions, and answers amongst people who have a common interest. Crazy!
If you’re not sure what chats are out there, go visit this massive Google Doc that represents the entire world of Twitter chats. It’s a treasure trove of opportunity!
Now, those are the things that worked for me. What have you tried so far? What worked for you?
Let’s talk about it!
Image by Julie Elliott-Abshire. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/je1196