I recently read that my longtime friend Aaron Lee has been tweeting for over 6 years.
I was surprised to see that he and I both joined Twitter in March 2009!
I've sent 159,000 tweets since then, and I love tweeting just as much now as I did in the beginning.
And although I owe much of my personal success to the relationships I've built on Twitter -- it wasn't always easy.
Just like any Twitter addict, there were some pretty big things I had to learn through experience.
This article explains the top 6 things I wish I'd known about Twitter before I started tweeting.
6 Things I Wish I'd Ktter Before I Started Tweeting
Ok, here we go. I wish I'd known that...
1. Staying positive, focusing on others, paying it forward & being humble lead to enormous rewards on Twitter
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I'm a natural extrovert, so it's never been natural for me to be negative or lash out on any social media site.
However, I didn't realize the impact of those things on Twitter when I first started.
The Twitter community puts a high premium on being positive, and it's more important than some people realize.
The peeps on Twitter will embrace you with open arms when you contribute in a positive, giving, helpful way!
2. It's a mistake to follow back everyone who follows me
Following everyone who follows you is one of the fastest ways to ruin your Twitter experience.
My friend @ChristoperIsak once told me:
The timeline is sacred.
I agree with him... now. But it wasn't always that way.
When I first joined Twitter, I thought it was polite to follow everyone back. After a year or 2 of doing that, my timeline was messy and full of information that wasn't interesting or relevant to me.
During that time, I relied solely on my Twitter lists to filter tweets. That worked for a while, but I still wanted to clean it up.
I've spent the past year fixing this problem to improve my Twitter experience. Now I follow 48,000 of my 131,000 followers. It's still a lot of people to follow, but it's a lot better than it was before.
I'm happy to say that when I look at my native Twitter timeline now, I can almost always spot something new and interesting.
Cleaning up my following enhanced my Twitter experience. So if you're struggling with deciding who to follow, I hope my story helps.
3. The importance of choosing a Twitter username
This one's tough because by the time you figure it out, you've usually already built a reputation with your current username -- so it's tough to change it.
My username is @adamsconsulting, and I've wanted to change it many times for many reasons.
However, I've built a strong reputation tweeting with that username -- and I don't want all the links online that go to my Twitter page to break, so I've decided not to change it.
This is definitely the #1 thing I wish I'd have put more thought into. I didn't know how important a Twitter username was until after I'd been tweeting for a while.
If you'd like some help choosing your Twitter name, I recommend reading:
4. How addictive Twitter would become
The day I joined Twitter (March 2, 2009), I honestly thought I would only send a few tweets and then stop. I didn't expect for it to become so addictive.
Although 99% of my Twitter experiences have been absolutely wonderful, there have been a few negative side effects from tweeting so much.
In 2011, I struggled with sleep tweeting. You can read about that here:
I also learned a hard lesson about neglecting offline friends because of my Twitter addiction.
It's easy to get sucked into social media. I'm the first to admit that it's crazzzzy fun! At the same time though, it's important to recognize when enough is enough and take a break.
I don't live with any regrets -- but if I'd have known this before I started tweeting -- I could've avoided a few bumpy pot holes along the journey.
5. Being consistent with your tweets is critical for building a large, loyal and engaged following
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I've always frowned upon auto-tweets. I think they make any Twitter account look like a spammy bot. One thing I've learned though is that there is a big difference between auto-tweets & scheduled tweets.
If you're serious about getting more followers on Twitter, you'll find that being consistent with your tweets is important. But we're all only human, and we can't sit in front of our computers all day.
Scheduling tweets is an excellent way to stay connected with your followers. Let me explain the difference between scheduled tweets & auto-tweets.
Auto-tweets are tweets that you automatically send without seeing the content first. It's basically putting your Twitter content in the hands of the websites you've chosen to auto-tweet from.
To me, tweeting that way is impersonal. Usually the person behind those accounts only shows up to check their tweets every once in a while.
Scheduled tweets are very different. They're tweets that you manually set up yourself to go out at strategic times. You've checked the content, and you know it will resonate with your audience.
You're always close to your Twitter account so you can engage with your followers who engage with the content in your scheduled tweets.
Using scheduled tweets to fill in the gaps of time when you can't be in front of your computer is a great way to maintain consistency on Twitter.
There are many social media apps to choose from that'll help you schedule and monitor your tweets while you're on the go.
My favorite one is Post Planner because it allows me to not only requeue my best content (the content that sparks the most engagement) -- but it also helps me find new (viral) content in my niche.
This is what the Viral Photos feature in the Post Planner app looks like. You can add as many topic folders as you like (these are just the default ones).
This is the feature that a lot of people talk about since it's predictive content. The algorithm is pretty sweet, and it ranks photos on a five-star system.
This is what my planned Twitter posts look like in the schedule (queue)...
6. Friendships I make on Twitter are as meaningful and real as my offline friendships
If I would've known this before I started tweeting, I would've joined in 2006. I hold my Twitter friendships close to my heart, and they're very special to me.
Sometimes I still hear people say that you can't build meaningful relationships in 140 characters at a time -- but that isn't true!
Twitter is like anything else, you get out of it what you put in. And I've gotten more out of Twitter than I ever imagined was possible.
Every Twitter experience is different. If you remember the 6 things listed in this article (especially #1), and if you stick with it, you'll tap into the magic of Twitter and all it has to offer!
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If you can think of something you wish you would've known before you started tweeting, please leave it in the comment section below.
Twitter is one of my favorite topics to write about. I hope you'll leave a comment below and tell me what you wish you would have known about Twitter before you started tweeting.
So.. now that you know the inside scoop about Twitter.. what's next?
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