Announcing a new blog series: [Social Thursday]
Over the past few months I’ve been working heavily on my Twitter presence. Throughout this time I’ve learnt a lot about the best ways to create engagement, credibility and increase your following on Twitter. As you probably know, Twitter is growing in a staggering pace [DATA], and so are the third-party tools around it. Therefore the learning never stops and I’m learning new, exciting things everyday.
From now on, I’m going to dedicate Thursdays to posts about social media and Twitter in particular. I’m going to share a lot of my knowledge and experience, to review related products and more. I hope it helps you succeed. Your feedback and ideas are welcome of course…
How to Stop Twitter Addiction
I’ve been using Twitter since 2007, but only a few months ago did I start exploring its full potential. Although my hard work had paid off, spending countless hours engaging with other tweeps, reading tweets and retweeting them came with a price tag. I realized that, like many of you, I was a twitter-addict. There are many reasons why, just like Facebook (or even more) Twitter would keep us to the edge of our seat. That could easily require a separate post.
However, I’m going to assume you don’t care why you’re addicted. You just want to be rehabbed… So here are 7 ways to stop Twitter addiction:
#1.Limit your Twitter-time
Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? It says that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. In other words, it means that if you had 12 hours free, you’d tweet 12 hours. If you had only, say, 15 minutes a day allocated for tweeting, the task would suddenly look simpler and take much less time. While it doesn’t always work ‘right out of the box’, it’s a good idea to limit yourself to a reasonable amount of time on Twitter, just like you would on any other social network. Once you @mention others they will get your tweet and reply you even if you’re away.
Set an egg timer. I suggest a session of 15 minutes a day or 2 sessions of 15 minutes each, to accommodate time-zone differences. This free online stopwatch will get you started (thanks, @rachelkarl).
Here’s the thing: On one hand, you need a certain ‘tweet frequency’ to build your presence on the social network. That’s how it works, because unlike Facebook and other social networks where there’s an actual page of posts, Twitter is more like a river – a constant flow of information. If you don’t flow with it, you are soon forgotten behind. On the other hand, you can’t spend all day on Twitter right? We’re trying to rehab you here, remember? So what do you do?
Well, my advice is to schedule tweets. It’s ok; no one really expects you be chained to your laptop 24/7. There are also time-zone differences which mean you can’t be up when all your followers are. Just don’t forget to also engage with people. That’s where Twitter gets really fun as well as powerful.
#3.When it’s time to say Goodbye…
I bet you’ve seen this kind of conversations:
Tweep A: RT (your link here) < Great post!
Tweep B: Thanks a lot for the RT!
Tweep A: You’re welcome
Tweep B: How is it going, by the way?
Tweep A: Going great, sunny day… How bout you?
Tweep B: Not too bad, thanks.
You see, it’s taken 6 tweets for a pretty boring, not too valuable conversation, let’s face it… I’m not saying you shouldn’t be polite, but Tweep B could have done without the How is it going… bit, and the world would have kept turning. There’s time to talk and time to say goodbye! Twitter is an open conversation platform, so every time you tweet it creates more noise on the public timeline of your followers.
Think before you tweet and keep conversations short and sweet… You’ll save a lot of time and your followers will love you more
#4.Clean your stream
One of the things that really get us hooked into Twitter is the constant flow of tweets in the public timeline (our followers’ feed). Sometimes the pace is so rapid that you can hardly click on a link before another 30 tweets turn up. Worse yet, probably most of these tweets are useless junk in the form of automated feeds/sales messages/hashtag spam etc. Useless waffle but eats up your valuable time all the same!
Every few weeks, spend about 20 minutes in front of Twitter and weed out the time-wasters as you please:
- The tweeters on steroids (tweet every 5 minutes or so. I’m not talking about conversations, but rather about automated tweets)
- The followers’ obsessed (FOLLOW ME, I’LL FOLLOW YOU BACK etc.). No offense if that’s you but these tweeps know nothing about value or engagement.
- The classic spam bots (a weird username, no profile photo, no followers but 1000s of updates us, tweets like: “Did you hear this, Douglas?” followed by your handle and an affiliate link to some crap.)
- The hashtag spammers (weather it’s #5thingsyoucantdo or #obama – as long as it’s trending, they’ll tweet about it, just to get a bit of attention.)
- The @reply spammers (they are real, annoying people who try to get your followers attention. They would simply @reply to you with an affiliate link.)
Even if your timeline is cluttered, there’s still hope… You can use lists, which are filtered by your followers’ location, bio, following/followers count and a lot more. This way your Twitter sessions become much more useful and relevant and it’s much easier to keep them short.
- @awsamuel has got an excellent post on using Twitter lists. Start there!
- Formulists allow you to generate lists automatically following certain criteria. There’s a free limited version and a premium version for very little.
- You can also find lists that interest you and follow them on Listorious.
What about you?
Are you addicted to Twitter?
What makes Twitter so addictive?
Any ideas on how to fight Twitter addiction?
Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
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