I’ve just reached a point where I feel qualified to talk about the art of blogging and networking. In that vein, I previously posted about the three most important things I’ve learned in my first year and a half blogging. This is a post in a similar spirit. Here are three things you should know about Twitter. They’re things I wish I’d known at the beginning of my Twitterverse journey.
(Fun fact I learned the other day: There is no “Twitter bird” emoji! So sad.)
1: Twitter rewards those who take initiative.
During my first few weeks on Twitter, I was too scared to follow anyone. Finally, I got up the nerve to search up the #WritingCommunity and follow a couple souls.
And guess what — though I had only three or four followers at the time, they followed me back! I kept following, and people kept following back. And pretty soon I reached 500 followers, and then a thousand, and by that time I wasn’t scared or embarrassed anymore.
If you get your foot through the door — by cold following 10 or 20 people in your area of interest — you’ll meet some really welcoming people who’ll help you discover a place for yourself on the Twitterverse. I promise. And, hey, if you’re really stuck, you can always follow me. If I don’t follow back right away, slap an @ tag on a tweet. Like this: “Hey, @VoyageoftheMind, you told me you’d help me find my place on Twitter!” And I’ll get right to it.
2: Twitter is a place of great darkness… and great light.
I’ve seen horrible things on Twitter. Mostly in the “trending” column, which I try not to visit too often. It’s this hideous nightmare world where people believe anything. I mean, anything. And the craziest shit pops up! (Pardon my French.)
But when you’re in your happy little corner of Twitter, everything seems like sunshine and rainbows. You’ll meet nice people. You’ll have interesting conversations. Social media isn’t a substitute for real human interaction, but it isn’t nothing. There was a period in my life when I spent a lot of time isolated in my dorm room. And I spent a lot of time on Twitter, and interacting with Twitter helped me not feel horribly alone. (I was pretty alone. Someday, I’ll reach a point in This is Not a Sad Story, my memoir, where I talk about those moments.)
Anyway, I’m also telling you not to write Twitter off just because you’ve heard bad things about the platform. I never used social media until I stepped onto Twitter, and thank God it hasn’t been a horrific experience. I’ve met people, connected with people, inspired people… or so they tell me.
3: You can meet amazing people and make amazing connections on Twitter.
I can’t emphasize this point enough. I’ve connected with so many friends and kindred spirits through Twitter, and I’ve made connections that have helped me with my goal here on Voyage of the Mind. For example, I met Jess Garcia, associate producer of the documentary Square One, on Twitter. She asked if I’d be interested in reviewing Square One, and that’s how my investigation into the sexual abuse allegations surrounding Michael Jackson and his legacy began.
Runner up: Twitter makes you shameless.
On Twitter, I’ve completed my evolution into a shameless fiend. In other words, I’ve learned how to self-promote without shame. Oh, you like poetry? Here’s a poem! You’re looking for journalism? Here’s an article! Maybe this is just me, but I’d expect Twitter to have a similar effect on many people. Prepare to join the dark side.
The bottom line
If you’re open and honest and friendly on Twitter, Twitter will reward you. It can be a great networking tool. This ties back to my first point about taking initiative. Don’t be afraid! I, personally, love it when someone I know on Twitter approaches me about a book review or a blog post or anything under the sun. But I didn’t understand Twitter culture from the start — these are the things I’ve learned along the journey. I hope they’ll serve you well. Welcome to the Twitterverse! It’s a big, beautiful world out there. Just watch out for the snakes and take the ladders.
If you enjoyed “3 Things You Should Know About Twitter,” read more informative posts!
Learn five reasons you should learn to cook. Hear about my three big blogging revelations. Or dig deeper and check out the historical significance of Herodotus, even if you have no idea who Herodotus is.
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