Earlier this week, Aaron Strout hit 5,000 tweets. At 4,999, he went on a Twitter fast – no updates until someone gave him a worthy reason. That ended with a slip of the keys, unfortunately, but it got me thinking.
I’m currently at 4,999 tweets. I DM’d a few people and said I was on a fast. But is it just taking a break and then back to normal, or is it finding the best way to use that next, 5,000th Tweet?
If you’re reading this, you’ve figured out what my answer was. Taking a break only works if you use that time for reflection. For figuring out what works and what doesn’t. And them come back and share what you’ve learned.
Ten things I learned from 5,000 tweets
- It’s not about how many followers you have. Some people view Twitter as a great way to get their message out to the masses. To me, it’s a great way to learn from some incredible people, a little bit at a time.
- Don’t follow more people that you can handle. I’m a naturally curious person. I want to learn as many things from as many people as fast as possible. (That’s a lotta as) Over time, I follow more and more people, and eventually so many tweets are coming in that I can’t keep track of who’s saying what. That’s when it’s time to cut back on who I follow.
- Don’t be afraid of losing followers. Maybe this should be 1(a). I’ve heard from many people (and experienced it myself) that when you post a lot in short bursts, you lose followers. One of the first people to talk me into joining Twitter unfollowed me for posting too often. Should that force you to change your approach to Twitter? Only if you don’t follow the first rule.
- Be yourself. When I first joined Twitter, I signed in as DesignBoston. Problem was, I felt it was my responsibility to represent my blog, and couldn’t engage Twitter as fully as I’d like to. People that visited DesignBoston asked me who I was (since my friend Chris writes on DB also). I changed my Twitter handle to my name, and I was able to be myself, talk off topic, and connect with people better.
- There are great people all over the world. Mainstream media would lead you to believe that a single dad in Boston has little in common with a mother in Iowa, or a historian in Texas, or a branding mastermind in Indianapolis. But these are three of the many people that I have come to like and respect, and hope to meet in “real life” some day.
- The right tools can grow your local sphere of influence. It would take me several years to meet and get to know all the technology/blogging/social media professionals that I met through Twitter.
- Sometimes, the less you say, the more powerful your statement is.
- You never know what people will react to. I’ve posted things that I thought were total WOW material, only to hear proverbial crickets in response. Other times, what I thought was nothingness gets a huge reaction. It all depends on what you say, who reads it, and what their mood is at the time they read it.
- You could spend an entire year away at conferences. SXSW, ICFF, E2.0, Podcamp, NeoCon… Between my love of social media and that of design, I could spend a lot of time from home.
- I’ve only started to learn. In 5,000 tweets, I’ve only begun to break the surface on all there is to learn about this platform and the amazing people on it.
What have you learned in your time on Twitter? Let me know in the comments.