Tuesday, November 9, 2010

If twitter becomes a time sucking vampire

I think there are three stages of using twitter -
1.) "Its a waste of my time, I have better things to do."
2.) "Meh... let me see what the fuss is about."
3.) o.k. too much bird shit coming in, let me organize and cleanup

I'm in the third stage, following has helped keeping the bird shit from breaking the door and oozing on to the carpet -

Stop Talking !   Listen...
I have a lot of interesting things to say, say about every 1 or 2 hours. But not always. Twitter has this strange power where it pulls you to fill that void of 140 characters.. (or is it just me ?!). I decided on holding back on my urge to tweet something, I give it 10 seconds and see if it is still something I'd like to tweet.

Well, I overcame that urge. I learned that I should listen more, just as I would do in a room full of people. Twitter suddenly feels a lot calmer. You see a tweet coming, hold it in your hands, look at it and let it go on its own way. If twitter were seen as a tool, its use is more effective by watching the tweets, unless you have something worth sharing.

Retweet - More often
When you see people saying something worthwhile retweet it. Spread what is good. Copyblogger is currently trying to find good bloggers. I love those guys, and retweet them often.

Nip in the bud
If I see someone tweeting like a parrot saying nothing important, I unfollow them. If I have setup 15 mins/day to read tweets, and 10 mins. are wasted because you tweet 7 times about "how big a burrito you had for lunch" --
I will blow horn at your birdie.
I will kung-fu your beakie
I will glue your wingie
I will ruffle your featherie
ok ok...enough violence on that little birdie.

Don't follow the leader (only)
Well, I'm not much fan for blathering. To improve the quality of  tweets I started doing this
  1. Find best people in your field of interest  (I am still working on that)
  2. Follow who they are following
If the best in the field think these people are worth their time, they really must be. Follow them, you can always unfollow. I recently read something to this line on HN - Don't aim for what your hero has achieved, aim for what he is aiming for[tweet]

Some very smart people talk there, and I like to listen.

Group'em see'em later
Although this is something I've seen before, its just recently that I've started implementing this. Add a hashtag (#) at the end of everything you tweet, e.g. #productivity, #tips. Later if you want to find a tweet about something you tweeted 4 months back and you know it was about a neat python script, you can just search with the corresponding hashtag. Since anyone can create a hashtag, you want a unique one, so when you search for it, it doesn't show the ten thousand tweets tagged by other people. For example instead of just #tips tag it with #zzztips.

How about 15/20 mins. ?
I am a big fan of not wasting time. I've blogged earlier about this here.
Instead of randomly visiting Twitter (of course unless you have something to tweet), I've setup a time aside - 20 mins. max/day. During this 20 min., I visit twitter from my iPhone, hence if there are any good links, I save them to read later through instapaper. Install the instapaper app. so you can read later what you bookmarked. Retweet the good ones and follow someone who has been retweeted and has funny/valuable info.

Create Lists In order to read through the most important tweets I've created "lists". One of them is called the "NoShit" list. Which is a group of people who have something valuable to say (mostly) and don't spam my twitter account. Its easy to create such lists or just follow one that someone else has created.

Lessons learned
  • Read more tweets than you tweet
  • Retweet more often
  • Unfollow people who have nothing worthwhile to say
  • Follow the leaded & who he is following
  • Use hashtags
  • Cap the amount of time spent on twitter
  • Create the "noshit" list
If you have any good tips to share about twitter, please do.

Follow me on twitter @nikhilkodilkar

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