Twitter Advice for Newbies Like Me …

Thanks for advice in response to my post … I learned some very helpful things.

Some of you shared you would be checking the comments for the advice. I thought I’d make it easy for you by providing it here. No need to scroll through the comments.

Take what works for you and leave the rest …

  • Figure out how you want to use Twitter. Knowing is half the battle. Is it just to follow friends, family, or other people of interest? Is it for the purpose of building writer platform? Or is it for some other reason? The answers to these questions can help you determine: who you’ll follow, what you’ll tweet, and why it’s tweet worthy. You can use it to:
    • Network
    • Research topics
    • Polls on topics
  • You’re in control. You can turn off tweets from individuals you follow e.g. if you don’t want the political season spam or they just tweet excessively. As my blogger friend, Talli put it, “It is much less offensive to follow / unfollow on Twitter than Facebook. A Facebook “unfriend” is akin to a slap in the face to some.”
  • Numbers are fluid so don’t worry about them. They will change constantly. Some people expect the follow in return for a follow and will unfollow if there isn’t reciprocation. “So, lots of followers doesn’t mean squat.”
  • Cultivate relationships with the list feature. You can keep track of the people you really want to hear from by creating lists. Then you won’t miss stuff from the people you most want to support. Favorite, reply, retweet and repeat. Go for it.
  •  Learning something new takes time. Again, don’t worry. Don’t stress. It will come.
  • Have fun and be real. It’s a great way to reveal who you are in sound-bites kind of like revealing characters in a story. So share the humorous, random, odd, and non-meaningful.
  • Make it work for you. You can have all your social media talking to one another. Your tweets can show up on Facebook at the same time. Your Instagram photos can hit your Twitter and Facebook page simultaneously. Your blog can publicize to Twitter and Facebook. All with the click of a button. You decide.
  • Put it in perspective. My blogger pal, Britt says, “Ah, Twitter. What a fickle beast.” Good to keep in mind. It will help you stay sane.

If there are other thoughts that weren’t shared here … add them to the comments, it’s not too late to help out the newest to the twitter-verse.

 

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Twitter Feed Tells All

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I wrote a post a few weeks ago about being boring. Part truth, part joke conceived in a moment of weakness.

Thanks for the outpouring of love from the WordPress world to assuage my fears.

Sadly (and quickly) I find myself standing at the crossroads of uncertainty and hilarity again. Maybe I will gain some knowledge with this one.

I’ve finally taken the leap into twitter and I have to say I don’t get it; yet. My writer self knows I need to build a platform so maybe that’s part of my apprehension.

But what does my twitter account say about me?

  • Boring?
  • Conservative?
  • Publicly private?
  • Unavailable available?

If I had to wager a guess, my twitter account probably conveys “undecided” more than anything.

Don’t get me wrong I find it fun and challenging to make a compelling statement in 140 characters. Sometimes I can. Sometimes I can’t. I enjoy following close friends and seeing what they have to say throughout the day.

What I’ve realized is my interests are limited. There are very few things I am so vested in that I want to have it streaming to me at all times.

  • Stuff on writing? Sure.
  • Family and friend feeds? Absolutely.
  • Blog buddies? Yes.
  • Everything else? Undecided.

Like the beginning of my blogging life, I don’t know the etiquette; twitter-quette if you will. For example, I don’t believe in automatically clicking follow for someone who follows me. And, when I follow someone and there are too many tweets (about stuff I’m undecided on) in a short period of time it becomes white noise. So almost immediately I unfollow.

Plus it’s a place of promotion; self promotion which I am not good about doing. I’ve noticed people will tweet the link to their latest blog post multiple times. Not sure I’d be comfortable with that … It would be helpful if I only post once a week but still.

Then I agonize over the gaining and losing of followers (again due to writer platform) like I’m day-trader. I shouldn’t worry I know.

Social media is where it’s at … but I will have to have limits. My writer self has a blog and a twitter account. My personal self has a Facebook page. One of my selves will eventually need to be LinkedIn. That’s all I think I can do or handle.

For now, help me move through this latest intersection of concern. What’s your best twitter advice for a newbie like me?

Thanks in advance.

Gail @Undecided @twitterchallenged #confused #amlearning

Welcome to Boring …

I want to be tweet-able and retweet-able. (Okay, so I just opened my twitter account this week.)  I want to be Facebook stalked (only a little). I want to be Freshly Pressed worthy.

But I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I won’t.

Why?

I’ve finally figured it out. It’s something I already knew. It’s what I, as a creative type, fear most. Fear of being uninteresting …

Then I remembered one of the first things I wrote for the Jotter’s Joint … it was a practice run and I never posted it (till now). I hadn’t decided if it was a post or my About page. I thought it was funny.

Re-reading it makes me laugh and it makes me feel better because I was managing my own expectations. I didn’t have grand ideas of success. I set the bar low enough to accomplish my goal.

Here’s what I wrote:

Welcome to Boring …

Why read this blog? 

Because you don’t have anything better to do. You don’t have a life. You’re friendless and alone. You’re tired of the well intentioned, deliberately positive, motivational, blogs selling happy. Or maybe, you’re a recluse; suffer from paranoia, or worse. Afraid of technology but sitting here reading this with a tin foil hat on hoping I can’t read your thoughts or transmit signals to your brain.

So why not read my blog? 

It fits right in with our “random” loving culture today. In a time when we can select and self deliver the kind of news … special interest stories … celebrity drama to our phones or laptops or iPads. Where we can follow our friends’ every move from waking to sleepless nights via Facebook or Twitter feed or better yet by subscribing to their blog.

Let’s face it … this is just another opportunity in our information overloaded lives for you to examine and criticize, ponder and pontificate on the boring things that happen in someone else’s life; my life. It’s a chance to offer up your opinion on what matters in my world, from the mundane to the monotonous.

Why read a boring blog? 

I have no idea. It’s just the stuff I think about on my drive to and from work. It doesn’t get much more boring than that …

So maybe my expectations were too low here but I didn’t want to be disappointed. Then I started posting regularly and I was sucked into this belief that my blog had to be perceived as great. It didn’t matter if I thought it was great. And it stopped mattering if there were readers, even one reader, who thought it was great. I started measuring my success by the stats and not by how flexing my creativity made me feel.

I will always have pangs of wanting others to claim I’m great but I realize that ‘great’ is a relative term. Being tweet-able or Freshly Pressed aren’t my yardstick (although I would be happy if it happened).

I will remind myself often that I am measured by my enjoyment in blogging and my growth as a writer. When I forget, all I have to do is go back to my About page and read my reasons for starting the Jotter’s Joint. This is one writer’s world and you’re welcome to be a part of it.

So, today, just a reminder … manage to your own expectations!

Unplugged, Turned Off, and Tuned Out

Reading for unplugged times.

My family and I are addicted to technology especially my 5 year old who is bored in less than 5 seconds if we make him turn off his 3DS and play with … gasp … a toy.

Our boys get an hour of TV before going to daycare. An hour of TV when they get back from daycare. And, thankfully, they only get TV at daycare for special events tied to curriculum.

Sometimes they get a half hour (or more) of video game time or computer time. And those are on the days when I’m diligent and stick to the schedule. The weekends are a completely different situation; and not in a good way. That’s a lot of plugged in time for little dudes.

So it’s up to me to set the example and it’s hard. I didn’t realize how much I relied on my electronic interfaces.

I check Facebook and Instagram constantly. I hit refresh on my email every few minutes, hoping something new will pop up. I watch my blog stats real time, as if they’re changing so rapidly, while I watch TV. I have new blog posts in my Reader that need to be read and commented on. Then there’s Netflix and Hulu which allow me to watch entire seasons of shows back to back. There’s so much to see.

For my husband, it’s Words with Friends and a plethora of podcasts. We are always wirelessly wired.

Still trying to finish 2009 scrapbooks.

Can you relate? Maybe you have some other social media to keep up with like Twitter or Pinterest or Google Plus or Tumblr or fill in the blank … am I right?

Well, I’ve made a commitment to go on an electronics diet this summer. Notice I put a time limit on this “goal”. I am making an effort to consume a little less TV, video games, phone time, computer time, etc.

To support my diet, I’ve purchased a hardcopy book instead of loading up new fiction to my Kindle. I actually went to the bookstore with the boys and we all picked out new books. I can’t remember the last time I purchased a physical copy of a book.

But when I tell them to unplug and get a book, I can do the same … Life in these gaps of being unplugged is interesting.

I started with 20 minutes … we didn’t know what to do. We looked at each other but not in the eyes for fear we might spontaneously combust. I bit my nails and held my breath. We all watched the timer countdown the minutes. The boys cried, “Why?” at the highest decibels. We were all relieved for the 20 minutes to be over.

I didn’t plan well. It would have gone better if I had organized an activity to fill the time for the first go round … Now I know … I have a list of options they can do independently or as a group. Some are fun and others not so much …

  • Play outside
  • Read a book
  • Scrapbook (we have vacation pictures)
  • Board games (we just started Pokemon trading card game)
  • Chores (we are working on folding laundry)
  • Family conversation

Activities, like these, where they can flex their creative muscles or just relax and unwind from the barrage of information and images that are always coming at us.

It’s important to note that we aren’t “making up” that “lost” 20 minutes in other parts of the day. We’re cutting back.

Slowly I am increasing the time of being turned off and tuned out. And slowly, we are adjusting to being without our gadgets. The boys know that unplugged moments are going to be part of our lives.

It’s getting easier … I’m realistic. I’ll never do away with gadgets in our home. Like I said, we’re junkies. And it’s not a bad thing but moderation is key.

The funny thing? When I pick up my iPhone or open my computer, it’s waiting for me. Patiently waiting for me. I’ve been pinged or notified that something happened. I didn’t miss it. I only delayed it.

Been working on this blanket for way too long. Before my boys were born.

And, being unplugged means I have interesting things to post or share, or so I think, because I took the break to live a little life.

I’ve noticed that my boys, who no longer take naps, are a little less crabby when bedtime rolls around. There is a lot more conversation about characters they’ve made up and stories they want to write or play out as live action. Less is more in terms of gadgets especially as it relates to creativity.

I’ve also noticed that as a Momma, I’m a little less stressed out. I don’t respond to their meltdowns with frustration because I’m not harried or weighted down by being connected like I’m on life support.

So tell me, how do you intentionally unplug? What would you do if you weren’t plugged in? What changes do you notice when you’ve had a break from being connected?