When I first started writing this article I had originally planned to list my ten favourite articles on Twittercism in 2010. As I started to put the post together I found that ten wasn’t enough. I know this statement has ‘monster ego’ written all over it, and to some extent that’s 100 per cent accurate, but if you’re a fellow blogger or a writer then you’ll know how it feels when you’re asked to edit or be selective about your own content, even if it’s an instruction from yourself. It’s hard.
Yes, I wrote all of these pieces. But they feel like my babies.
So, I compromised, and kept in everything I thought was pretty good, and separated all the posts into categories.
- Get Better At Twitter
- The Business Of Twitter
- Twitter Etiquette
- Your Twitter Identity
- Followers & Following
- Twitter Improvements (aka, Whinging & Moaning)
- Twitter Security
- Twitter Clients
- Opinion (And Everything Else)
Let’s get started.
Get Better At Twitter
I believe this was my most retweeted post of 2010 – it’s probably my favourite, too. Always nice when that happens.
Not that anyone is counting, but here’s five more, too.
You already know how to use Twitter. It just takes a little application, a little perseverance, and a little work. You have to want to learn – nobody can do it for you.
The first and (so far) only infographic I ever made.
Advice for Twitter users, new and old.
Five minutes. What have you got to lose?
And if an iPad won’t help, then a Dell Streak has absolutely no chance.
The Business Of Twitter
This, of course, still takes place all the time, notably on Facebook pages.
I think so – which of course explains why promoted trends and tweets are actually a very good idea.
Pay-per-tweet, affiliate programs, paid reviews? It might end up costing you a lot more than you think.
Road House is one of the all-time great action movies, and this is one of my all-time favourite posts.
Be a pro. And when in doubt, block first, and ask questions later.
Not everything is. In fact, relatively few things are.
If you have a problem with the content, take it up with the author, not the linker.
Two sides of the same coin.
Your Twitter Identity
Are you a different person on Twitter than you are in ‘real life’? Why? And what does that mean?
Everybody has secrets behind closed doors, but if the internet you is being painted with a very different brush to the ‘real’ you then you’re playing a very dangerous game.
Followers & Following
This post was interesting because while the content is of value, it led to a fairly public spat between myself and Dan Zarrella (which you can read here – it’s worth checking out the comments in both posts as well.) I still look back at these interactions with some disbelief.
If you have 100,000 followers it certainly appears that you’re popular, but virtually everybody can reach that number – all you have to do is follow 101,000 people yourself. The actual value of building a community via reciprocal following is often very low – the network and its members are not (and likely never will be) engaged.
Because it was the only rational thing they could have done. Others quickly followed.
Thoughts on how your Twitter network is – and should be – constantly morphing and evolving.
Follow, unfollow, repeat. Amazingly, not only are these people still out there, they get incredibly paranoid and defensive when you start to question them about these decidedly unsavoury network-accumulation habits.
Everybody gets busy, and once in a while we all get too busy for Twitter.
Twitter Improvements (aka, Whinging & Moaning)
The retweet opt-out button is back, but a lack of privacy controls and the lousy direct message system are still major flaws.
A temporary glitch in Twitter’s internal URL-shortener meant that tweets of longer than 140 characters were suddenly possible. Is this something that should become a permanent feature?
I don’t care about baseball. I don’t care about the World Series, and I don’t care about the San Francisco Giants. But lots of people I care about do, which means we all have a problem.
Yes. Yes they do.
While I can perfectly understand the need to offer an SMS service to less-developed countries, it should be an alternative – not something that directly impacts (and, yes, drags down) the main network.
Tools like Klout have tried to tackle this but it needs to be something that comes directly from Twitter so it appears official. Moreover, if you logged on to Twitter.com and it had a big number rating your network as an F, you might actually take the steps to improve it.
In light of Facebook’s recent ‘Gmail killer’, I still think a Twitter email product would have been not only a winner, but would also have one-upped Facebook.
Why Twitter should give everybody the opportunity to legitimise their profile by simple credit or bank card verification. And if you don’t want to be verified, you can opt out – but this feature would eliminate 99% of all the bots, spammers, trolls, stalkers and good, old-fashioned weirdos.
Twitter’s incredibly lax attitude to dormant and inactive usernames is still a major problem – and with half a million people signing up each and every day, it’s a mounting one.
Not too long afterwards, Twitter changed their algorithm to ensure the likes of Justin Bieber didn’t rank so heavily in their trending topics. The feature is still far from flawless, but it’s a lot better than it was.
Why a Reddit-style markup system could really improve the way we all use Twitter.
Advice on how to tackle the inevitable bullies and trolls we are all forced to endure on the internet.
This might seem a little harsh, but the reality is that some people never learn.
I was on Twitter when news broke on TMZ.com that Oprah Winfrey had died. I read the article, shared the link, and then went out. Read about why this never happened, but how I could have prevented the fallout if it did.
To their credit, Seesmic have tried to do this, but I’m holding out for a WordPress-like platform and community where we, the end user, have thousands of plugins at our disposal. Fingers remain crossed.
And it was.
Opinion (And Everything Else)
Why Malcolm Gladwell et al need to stop giving advice about products and services they don’t even use themselves.
There are two Twitters – the one we all know, and another, very different Twitter, and this one takes place entirely in dark alleyways and shadowed corners, with denizens who have abandoned the openness of the medium in favour of a preferred, entirely secretive, one-to-one communication.
And is that a good thing?
I don’t blow my own horn enough – this was a great call.
I’m already planning 2011’s April Fool.
What happens to your virtual presence when the real one passes on?
I want this to be the start of a series of profiles of individuals who are successfully using Twitter as a business tool, and plan to continue this in 2011.
That’s your lot. A pretty good year, I think. I’m proud of this body of work. I’ve made a few wayward calls and been a little bit preachy at times, but overall I think Twittercism has had an okay 2010.
And hopefully, offered something for everyone, or at least most Twitter users. If you’ve particularly enjoyed an article I’ve written – or take strong objection with something I’ve said – please hit the comments and let me know.
Onwards and upwards to a better 2011!