I thought I'd share what guides me in my use of Twitter. Don't expect this to be completely thought out, or even consistent. How I use Twitter evolves with my use of it.
First: @amicusergoest That's my Twitter handle. Why? When I first started using Twitter, I mainly posted links to job openings, or retweeted posts from career advisers. It was the Great Recession, and I wanted to help people who were looking for work. I especially wanted to help people who were new to finding a job in the age of applicant tracking systems and social media. So I reached back to high school Latin to come up with a handle.
Remember cogito ergo sum? "I think, therefore I am"? Thank you, Rene Descartes. I was going for, "I help, therefore I am." But I didn't quite get it right. Amicus ergo est is closer to "a friend, therefore he is." I can live with it.
Where I first started with Twitter, it suggested a few people to follow. I started there, and went on to follow people involved in career and job search topics. From there, I followed people that followed me (more on that in a minute) and followed people that sounded interesting. As a result, I don't have a single Twitter "focus." I follow a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons. Lately, I've been following conservatives, because I want to better understand that point of view.
I started following @realdonaldtrump because I wanted to respond to falsehoods he tweets. I don't expect to change anyone's point of view, but I do believe in getting the truth out.
I tend not to involve myself in what I call "culture wars." For instance, I'm fine with athletes who want to take a knee during or before the playing of the National Anthem before a ball game. I'm also fine with people that believe taking a knee disrespects the flag. For me, these are two, equally valid, opinions.
An early rule of Twitter etiquette has been that you "follow back" when others follow you. I still apply the rule, but not all the time.
- If you follow me, get me to follow you, then unfollow me, we're done. I'm looking at you, indie artists. Apparently there are tools that do this now, in the name of building an audience. I'm looking for engagement, not a follower count.
- I used to ignore people that followed me; it seemed like too much work to acknowledge them. Now, I respond to each follower with a note. How can I be for engagement if I don't engage myself?
- If you're a brand or company and you follow me, I probably won't follow you back. It's nothing personal. I might even like your brand or your company. I just don't want to engage with brands and companies. I make some exceptions, such as for wineries.
- I used to follow people that claimed expertise in social media, but I've begun winnowing that part of my followers, and generally don't follow such people now. These folks tend to do a lot of promoting, which is a bit noisy for me.
- If you follow me and offer to show me nude photos, you're blocked and reported.
- If you follow me and I see that you constantly retweet some clickbait site, I'll ignore you or block you.
- If you follow me and offer to get me thousands of Twitter (or Facebook or Instagram or...) followers, I'll report and block you.
I tweet to promote blog posts like this, but I don't go crazy with it. I still believe in the networking rule: give before you get. If you like most of what I tweet, that's great. If you don't, that's fine too. If I made you think, I'll take it.