Twitter recently reached an incredible milestone: it delivered 200 million tweets per day. That’s equal to 28,409 miles of tweets (if all 140 characters are used), which when you consider that the earth’s circumference is 24,901 miles across, is pretty impressive.
With that amount of Twitter traffic, we need to be able to cut through all the noise and identify what is and isn’t worth reading, but how?
Firstly ask yourself: am I contributing to the noise? Before I send a tweet I always ask myself —is this going to be of value to my followers? Most of the time the answer is yes but occasionally I realise I’m about to add to the deafening sound of uninteresting, irrelevant twittering and stop myself. It’s a good habit to get into.
Seth Godin, blogger, provides a good example of this in his article, Modern Procrastination. He discussed how social networks are misused in the work place as a way to avoid doing work. It inevitably caused debate in the Twitter world, but I think he had a point. This sort of tweeting adds noise to an already crowded network.
Another thing to consider is grammar. This is of huge importance — good grammar gives you credibility as a writer and subject matter expert. Always check your tweet reads well otherwise you may find your followers humming to a different tune.
Hashtagging for me is one of the most beneficial ways to avoid contributing to the din. A hashtag is basically a virtual filing system — it places your tweet in the relevant section of the library and allows people to search for specific information. I use IceRocket to search for these tags and it allows me to find information that’s relevant to my search needs.
In general it’s up to the individuals to learn good etiquette when using social networks to avoid wasting people’s time. Chris Brogan wrote an interesting article, ‘An insider’s guide to social media etiquette’ which is a good place to start.
Twitter is a numbers game. This means that you should be clear about what you are tweeting about so that you attract, and tweet to, your target audience (also known as ‘numbers’). If you’re not providing value, you’re likely wasting the time of your followers and potentially your customers.
In my opinion, Twitter is by far the most valuable social media tool there is, especially for the communications industry. I’m able to interact with people in our industry, share and gain knowledge and get an insight into the lives of people that dominate the media. I spend about 60 minutes a day checking twitter messages, clicking on links, and reading articles — it’s a great resource when messages are communicated correctly — let’s keep it that way.