Reality check: if you think that Twitter is boring, it’s entirely your fault. Why? Because you made it that way.
It’s YOUR timeline. You chose who to follow, and who not to follow. You chose who to engage with, and who to ignore. You have complete control over the stream of updates you see, and if it’s dull, you take full responsibility. You can’t blame your followers, you can’t blame the people you follow, and you certainly cannot blame Twitter.
It’s all on you.
I’ve written before about how the three keys to success on Twitter are to be famous, useful or interesting. I stand by it. And it works in reverse, too. If your Twitter feed is jam-packed full of random people you’ve added just for the sake of it (nor attempted to engage with), internet marketers and the very, very mundane, it’s never going to be anything but tedious.
And the only person you can blame is yourself.
The good news? It’s easily rectified. Just unfollow everybody who you find uninteresting. This may well be everybody in your network. Including me – if you find me dull, don’t follow me. That’s the point. Go ahead. No hard feelings. God speed.
This mass-culling will also likely include some of your ‘real life‘ friends. Here’s a little secret lots of people don’t like to talk about or even acknowledge: on a day to day basis, our friends and acquaintances can often be pretty dull. Sometimes you match up brilliantly with your friends. Often, however, they simply aren’t as enthusiastic or gripped by the interests, whims and fancies as you. Nor do they read the same books, watch the same TV shows, love the same rock bands or devour the same blogs. This, of course, works both ways. That’s perfectly normal and it’s really okay, because, trust me, there are thousands of people on Twitter who are interested. Who do care. Who want to know more. You just have to make the effort to find them.
Over time, I’ve realised that an awful lot of the people who ‘don’t get Twitter‘ are those same individuals who spend a lot of time chatting on Facebook, MSN and similar interfaces, and then follow the exact same MSN friends, and a few token celebrities, on Twitter. Is it any wonder that they then fail to see the potential?
One of the best things about Twitter is it’s an open social network. This means that even if you’re not following somebody, you can still communicate with them. And vice versa. So, if a few of your friends use Twitter for chit-chat but that’s not something you want to see in your stream, unfollow them. You can still communicate, but you won’t have to suffer the pointless babble.
Which, unfortunately, is still out there in abundance. So, to make Twitter interesting and fun, try these simple tips and guidelines:
- Educate yourself.
- On Twitter, size really doesn’t matter. Following tens of thousands of people is almost as pointless as following nobody. But following just a handful of people, particularly if they’re only folks you already know, isn’t productive, either. It’s absolutely about making your network relevant and interesting, but if you’re following less than 100 people you’re probably not trying hard enough. And if you’re following more than 500, you’re almost certainly not reading many of their tweets. So why follow them at all?
- Twitter lists are a great way to find cool people to follow. Study the lists of people you admire and follow accordingly.
- Use #hashtags (sparingly and always where relevant) to get the attention of like-minded folk who share your interests.
- Be mindful of adopting the herd mentality; if you’re only following people who feel the exact same way about the exact same things, you’re going to have a hard time reaching out to others. (Note: this is especially true if everybody you follow thinks Twitter is boring and/or updates once per week.)
- Start conversations with complete strangers.
- Ignore your replies and mentions folder at your peril. If somebody asks you a question, answer it!
- I strongly recommend you don’t protect your updates on Twitter. This dramatically reduces your experience as it cuts you off from most of the network.
- It’s okay to go crazy once in a while, but please don’t be a jerk.
- Above all, be yourself. Nobody came to see a version of you. We signed up for the real deal.
There’s definitely value in not taking Twitter too seriously. It pays to take breaks and we all get frustrated with it from time to time. But nothing becomes this important and embeds itself in the public and media consciousness this quickly without being significant, relevant and game-changing. And Twitter is all of these things.
So, if you think it’s ‘boring’, you need to look a little closer to home. Here’s your wake-up call: Twitter is very interesting; it’s YOUR Twitter that’s dull.
(Twitter bird via Shutterstock.)