Is Twitter Becoming The New Facebook?

Twitter

Estimated Read Time: 4 mins

With talk of Facebook peaking, our very own Office Manager and self-confessed social media detoxer decided to give Twitter a go. Ever wondered what the microblogging site is like for a newcomer? Wonder no more…


Last year I left Facebook.  I think the straw that broke the camel’s back was the raging Brexit debate. Prior to that, I had been getting increasingly fed-up with ‘friends’ selling diet supplements and endless holiday snaps taken by people I barely recognised.

Yes, I know I could have hidden most of them, but it seemed a better idea to have a social media detox. The hope was that I would feel less dissatisfied with my life, and perhaps get some housework done(!).

It worked brilliantly (the house is cleaner and I’m happier), but 12 months on, I do miss some of the interaction. I miss a little lively debate (not the one about you know what though), entertainment news, gossip etc.

So only about 10 years later to the party than most, I decided to join Twitter.  It seemed the obvious answer. I could follow people who are experts in their fields. The best chefs, the funniest comedians, brilliant writers – people who actually influence the things that I’m interested in.

These people are less likely to moan about their delayed train or poorly cat i.e. things I don’t really care about, and more likely to impart insightful information that adds value to my life and makes me laugh. And for the most part, that’s true. So far, I’m really enjoying it.

Obviously, when it boils down to it, the whole thing is about self-promotion, but so few aspects of modern life are about anything else. However, the degree to which users wish to self-promote balanced with how much they wish to inform and interact, differs vastly from person to person.

I was absolutely amazed to discover that Taylor Swift has over 85 million followers yet follows no one at all. We must assume that she uses it as nothing more than a marketing tool to sell her brand and has no interest in the opinions of her legions of fans, or any other media influencers.

But then the Dalai Lama, who we would certainly hesitate to call cynical, has almost 18 million followers, yet also follows no one. Perhaps they just don’t have the time? Those celebrities who follow other celebs and non-celebs alike, in order to promote causes rather than just themselves, and give advice and useful information, use Twitter the most effectively it seems to me.

I must admit that I’m yet to actually tweet anything myself. I don’t know if that’s because I’m shy, or because I don’t really mind if I don’t attract any followers. None of the people I follow are my personal friends or acquaintances – too much like Facebook – so there doesn’t really seem any pressure to do so.

But I’m aware that I’m not really getting the most out of what is an incredible resource – I really must start joining in. I’ve asked around, and tried to analyse the behaviour of those I follow to a certain extent, and these seem to be the basic rules of polite Twitter etiquette for beginners like me:

  1. Don’t be too negative

    I know some people enjoy a good spat, and I’m all for a bit of harmless banter, but I didn’t join Twitter to read arrogant, judgemental or hurtful tweets, and definitely not misogynistic or racist ones.

  2. Be positive and generous to your followers

    Tweet interesting content, tips and information.  Try to add some value to their lives.  Reply to those who respond with genuine questions and shine a light on comments made by others that resonate with your own opinions and interests around a subject by liking or retweeting.

  3. Don’t share too much or go off topic

    While Twitter’s increased character limit makes it surprisingly easy to stray off topic, try to only talk about experiences that are actually relevant and might help people. Too much personal information will be there forever, and could even land you in a whole world of trouble one day (but that’s another blog entirely…)

  4. Don’t flood your followers with tweet after tweet

    I begin to skip through endless tweets on the same subject that come through in the space of a couple of hours. They lose their power to inform and influence. Quality over quantity.

  5. Quality over quantity also applies to the number of people you follow

    Blindly following people just to make them follow you back, even if you have no interest in what they’ve got to say, seems pointless.  It will just make your timeline chaotic, fill up your inbox with spam, and stop adding any value to your life altogether.

With my social media track record, I’ll probably have really got the hang of it in a couple of years.  I might even try out Snapchat before Kylie Jenner brings it to its knees altogether.

Rachel Davey
Office Manager
Knapton Wright Ltd.