I have been contacted by many folks that are new to Twitter because they want to know why I didn’t follow them back. It’s not personal, I promise. I’ve created a list of recommendations for people new to Twitter to help ensure that they’ll get followed as well. Here goes:
1) Use your REAL name.
In your profile, you have the option to give your real name. Do it. People want to know who you are before they are going to follow you. And besides, how are your friends going to find you if you don’t? If you can, make your alias name your name. Mine is jblankenburg.
2) Fill out ALL of the profile information.
Sometimes even using your real name doesn’t ring a bell for some people. So make sure that your profile information is up to date. Let us know what you do, what you’re interested in, where your blog is, etc. You can’t follow everyone that follows you, that’s just too much noise. So give us a reason to be interested in what you are going to be posting.
3) Start posting before you start following.
There are plenty of people trying to wreak havoc on Twitter. I get a request from “pornstargirl243” and “hotHaley99” (or some permutation) once a day. Their posts are irrelevant gibberish, and they usually just link you to some phishing site anyways. Get a solid set of 10 or more posts, so we know you’re a human.
4) You can post links, but don’t ONLY post links.
Some people only see Twitter as a place to promote things they’ve done elsewhere. Posts like “I just blogged about [something]. Click to read.” are welcome when you’re also participating in the conversation. If your list of posts looks like this one (@TheOBR), you’re missing the mark.
5) Don’t just answer the question “What are you doing?”
What are you doing is the conversation starter. Someone tweets about eating at a great restaurant, or rebuilding their computer. That’s the little snowball at the top of the mountain. Once it gets rolling is where the true value of Twitter is found.
6) Please don’t protect your updates.
Protected updates are like buying an HDTV without subscribing to HD channels. (thanks to @mmhaskar for the analogy) What could you possibly be posting that the world at large shouldn’t be reading? Keep your content to subjects you’re not going to regret in a court of law, and you should be fine. Protecting your updates is annoying, and will almost always result in a “no follow” decision.
7) Be active.
If you haven’t posted in over a month, it’s unlikely there’s much value in following you. Keep up with it.
8) Find a Twitter client that fits you.
There’s just under 500,000 Twitter client applications that have been written, and each one fits a different flavor of person. It will make your participation in the Twitter community much easier (and help you avoid constantly pressing F5 to see what has been said lately). I recommend Twhirl or Alert Thingy.
9) Your thoughts are far more interesting than your actions.
It’s great to know that you’re heading to the breakroom to get some coffee, but it’s far more interesting to know about your obsession with coffee, or the type you’re drinking. And please…we don’t need to know that you’re headed to the restroom. Ever.
10) Think before you post.
Those 140 characters are powerful. You have power at your fingertips. You can make someone’s day. You can also wreck it. And just like email and IM, your words can be misunderstood. So take a breath before you post your message and think about it’s impact. Yeah, there’s a delete button, but that doesn’t mean people didn’t read it first. This is the Internet after all…don’t put anything out there you wouldn’t want EVERYONE to find.