The title is misleading. I just needed something pithy.
I don’t think you should join Twitter.
I would never click on an article with this title. Or, I would click hoping that someone would finally give me a good reason to join because whenever anyone uses the line “Everyone is doing it” as a reason to do something, it makes me run in the opposite direction of whatever that “it” is (*cough* Facebook).
I believe I’ve found a good reason to join Twitter if you’re like me — highly suspicious of anything popular or anything people suggest is “necessary”, (how could something that didn’t exist ten years ago be necessary?) but you’re also bored and like a crack addict will do anything to get your drug… new reading material or access to people who will recommend new reading material.
I joined Twitter at 10 a.m. last Saturday and within the hour it became invaluable to me. My boredom vanished and I was no longer suffering from withdrawal.
You always hear that Twitter is about “making connections” or “joining the conversation” or “hashtags” and followers are some sort of metric of something. It was all meaningless to me. Let me tell you what Twitter really is: a RESOURCE. Or it can be. If someone had described Twitter as a resource for material, I would have joined sooner.
And if you’re like me and you’re constantly finding interesting articles you want to share, collecting perfect/beautifully worded quotes or you just have what I call “snack-sized” ideas, one-line thoughts that you just want to get out of your brain, Twitter is the place for you.
The most important decision(s) to make is who to follow. It won’t be a resourceful experience if you follow just anyone. My first tweet “The single most important decision we can make in a connected world is who to follow” by Stowe Boyd reflected this. I also wanted any potential follower to know how important I consider who I follow. I decided before I signed up that I wouldn’t necessarily follow someone who followed me. Also, I think of my tweets as a potential resource for others who may stumble upon my feed.
The things that surprised me the most:
- The people who you normally enjoy in other media, who are great writers, artists or are extremely popular usually have awful Twitter feeds. They aren’t great resources. Look at the illustration below. They are usually aggressive self-promoters or just plain boring. Sarah Lazarovic, the creator of this illustration, should have added a boring section to the bird.
- Some the people I consider indispensable curators of interesting content are more enjoyable or less annoying on other platforms e.g. Maria Popova of Brain Pickings and Austin Kleon. AK is a great resource, but on Twitter, there are too many personal tweets I just don’t care about.
- I wasn’t surprised that comedians and comic illustrators are great on Twitter but they’re also they best at providing links to other great people and content.
- Right now, my favorite people to follow are people I discovered during my first week on Twitter — Neil Brennan, Ann Friedman, Paul Bassett Davies, and someone named Never Jessie.
- I read an article by writer Anne Helen Petersen two weeks ago on The Believer magazine’s website. I started to follow AHP and a couple of days ago I asked her a question and her reply came a minute later. Very cool.
- I get to tweet during a live UFC event (yes, I like MMA). I have had many thoughts about these fights during the seven years I’ve been watching that I’ve only yelled at the screen. Now, I have another outlet.
- I get to tweet about TV and movies. I’ve wanted to write about both without thinking too much about it or without much depth.
- You can’t edit tweets. Argh!
So, if you’re bored, stuck, or uninspired check out Twitter if you haven’t already and if you join, focus on the beak and tail of Sarah L.’s illustration.