Twitter is an influential and relevant social network. It brings news right to your fingertips. It helps you meet people with the same interests from different corners of the globe. Best of all, it delivers real-time updates from your friends, celebrity crushes, and other public figures you follow. Despite all of these, there are still people who do not recognise the power Twitter possesses. I have personally seen friends with Twitter accounts not take advantage of its benefits. Are you one of these people? How can you tell? Below is a list of Twitter usage that shows misuse of it.
YOU ONLY POST TO RANT.
While freedom of expression is highly demonstrated on Twitter, if you only use it to post rants then you might as well delete your account (or go to Facebook). Twitter is about sharing information, airing opinions, and communicating with other users. If you are a bitter Betty or a negative Nancy, no one will have you pestering their timeline with pessimism. You must provide value and relevance to your followers.
YOU DON’T ENGAGE WITH OTHER USERS.
Aside from giving valuable information to your followers, you must also engage with them. This is what makes Twitter better than the newspaper. With a newspaper, it’s a one-way communication. Readers read text from the paper and it ends at that. On Twitter, you are a human newspaper. You provide information to your followers but they have the liberty to let you know of their thoughts about it. Reverse the situation. Another user is a human newspaper and you can give them a piece of your mind. It’s a two-way street.
YOU OFTEN POST VAGUE STUFF.
Save the mystery and baiting for your friends on Facebook. You are a human newspaper on Twitter. Do you want to be a highly-respected publication? If so, then post facts and the truth. Do you want to be mass-friendly? Then add some light-heartedness and humor. Do you want to be a tabloid? Go ahead and post blind items.
YOU ONLY FOLLOW CELEBRITIES.
There’s nothing wrong if you follow Jennifer Lopez, Adam Levine, Ryan Seacrest, or Kim Kardashian (Wait, there’s definitely something wrong with this). However, if your Following list only comprises of celebrities then you are missing out on one of Twitter’s most powerful benefit – building a network of great people. Sure, you will get firsthand updates from those celebrities and public figures but what are the chances that they will engage with you? Slim to none. How much non-superficial stuff can they add to your value? Not a lot, I bet. Go ahead and follow them but make sure you follow other non-celebrity people as well. You’ll be amazed with what you’ll get by doing so.
YOU DON’T USE LISTS.
One ignored Twitter functionality is the Lists. Lists allow you to compile a list of Twitter users without following them. How is it different then? When you follow people, their tweets will appear on your timeline. If you don’t follow them and only put them in a list, their tweets will not appear on your main timeline. Instead, your list becomes another timeline where you can get feeds from its members. This is particularly helpful in grouping people together in categories. In my account, I made a list of people who were into fitness, then another list for writers, and then another list for personal contacts. Even if a friend’s tweet gets buried in my main timeline, I can still read it from the list.
Another advantage of placing people only on lists is that your Following count is not affected. By default, a Twitter account gets up to a maximum of 2000 accounts to follow. Unless you gain lots of followers that adjusts your Following:Follower ratio, it's vital to save those Following slots for people whom you will engage with. Following an account and having it follow you back enables sending direct messages to each other. Going back to the previous item, it’s best to put celebrities in a list instead of following them since you will never need to send them a private message (unless they follow you back). That way, you can still get updates from them and save a Following space for an account who will engage with you.
YOU DON’T FOLLOW PEOPLE WITH SIMILAR INTERESTS.
Saving your Following slots for people with similar interests to you will make your Twitter a very helpful and educational tool. Twitter will analyse your Following list and will suggest accounts with similar interests. You can also use the Search feature to find other people of your kind. I have met other fitness people and writers online through Twitter’s suggestions. With their tweets on my timeline, my knowledge on fitness and writing expanded. Twitter has become an unofficial classroom for me that’s why it’s my choice of social network. It’s not just about Internet memes and quotes. It’s about knowledge as well.
YOU ONLY USE IT TO SHARE YOUR POSTS FROM OTHER SOCIAL NETWORKS.
What’s worse than a spamming bot is a Twitter account that only posts automated links from other social networks such as Facebook, Tumblr, or Instagram. If you want others to look at your Twitter account as valuable, you need to use Twitter personally.
YOUR ACCOUNT IS PRIVATE.
Yes, it is your prerogative to keep your account for your eyes (and your followers) only. Yes, nobody will begrudge you for going that route. But how can other users engage with you? How can people with similar interests find you? How can you fully tap the best Twitter has to offer if you deny the world of your profile? Think about it.
I hope this list makes you re-evaluate your usage of Twitter. It’s a great tool, only if you know how to use it.