Why Shacking Up with Twitter Injects Life to Your Blog

by Jan Geronimo on March 22, 2009

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My regular readers I suspect must be puzzled by my increasing fascination with Twitter. Am I falling out of love with my blog and shacking up with social media heartthrob that is Twitter?

Am I turning into an internet fop? Others may perhaps suggest another term: social media whore. Oh boy, am I becoming a streetwalker in Twitterverse? Sheesh. Of course not.

Tapping Into the Power of Twitter and Other Social Media

Frankly my dear, internet conversation is not taking place in the confines of a blog anymore. It has left in a huff and set up camp in Twitter. Or Facebook. What’s a blog author got to do?

Well, put on your party dress and let’s go to Twitter. There’s the party. Others dismiss Twitter as the new office water cooler that will soon outlive the buzz it is currently generating. Yeah, right – you wish it were so. It’s your right to be in a state of denial. Guess what, Twitter is where the movers and shakers in every field gather. It’s where conversations are taking place. It’s a nice place to be seen and develop friendships and alliances.

It used to be you write a post and encourage reader interaction by asking questions, by keeping your writing conversational, by keeping them a little incomplete so readers will be encouraged to comment. And of course the old tactic of commenting on high traffic sites, article writing, and guest posting.

And they still work. And I still do it – except guest posting and article writing – because they are effective tools in getting readers for your blog. But there’s another way of doing it and it is where Twitter comes in.

Twitter is the new power tool – the coolest contraption among the social media giants.

And yet there are still some misgivings about Twitter of course. Let me address some of them.

1. Twitter is so random – an endless stream of tweets going nowhere. You’re following the wrong people. If your interest is in writing like I do it’s best you follow fellow writers, or journalists, or people in the performing arts. Even bloggers from other niches who you hold in high esteem can help you to be a well rounded blog author. Those are the right people to connect to. Doing so makes the stream of tweets you see very relevant to your interest.

And nobody can spam you if you don’t allow it. Just unfollow people who rub you the wrong way. Or block them as the case maybe.

Personally, I cast a wider net. Because I need to build up a wide base of followers who can hear what I have to say. But I’m not obsessed with numbers. I’m trimming my list as I add people to it. This evening, I’m axing a guy who tweets nothing but tips on how to get on the good side of women. I’m not a prude or anything, but I find it extremely vexing to hear all these ruses to get into a woman’s pants. Every single frigging day. Is he a bot or something? Or an unimaginative paid hack?

2. It’s not driving traffic to my site. Complete waste of time. Come on – you may have been tweeting nothing but links to your latest blog post. That guarantees you’d be ignored and written off as a spammer in no time. Take time to develop relationships first. Know who you follow and your followers as well. Be useful first. What expertise can you share that will help your own followers? Even a helpful link that points to a probable solution to their problem can help develop trust and likability in Twitter.

Likability delivers result
. As it is in your blog, so it is in Twitter and in the other social media. Maybe your ideas are not outstanding. In fact they maybe average, but if you’re helpful and take the time to develop friendships first then you have a better chance at getting noticed.

People have to like you first before you get yourself heard. Just like in a party. In no time, you will find yourself followers who tweet links to your post as soon as you hit the publish button. Because they like you and what you’re doing.

Helping your fellow users do not literally mean having a hand in actually solving their problems. It can be as simple as retweeting another person’s concerns. He needs work or a part-time job – by all means, spread the word. Retweet it among your followers. Here’s a guide to RT or retweeting.

A fellow blogger needs a favorable review for his latest masterpiece and he sends you a DM (direct message) in Twitter. Reply immediately and see what you can do. Maybe you’re pressed for time and can’t write a proper review. But you can always give the post a simple thumbs up or a snappy but encouraging comment in his blog.

3. I’m not getting noticed. I have no use for it. Review your recent tweets. What are they about? Is it generally about what you’re eating at the moment? Or a partial inventory of what constitutes your boring day at the office?

I say you’re being too literal. The homepage of Twitter encourages you to say “what you are doing?” in 140 letters, but you’re not limited to that. Be creative. Relax. Share what’s on your mind with candor. And joke a little, for Pete’s sake. It shows you’re a likable fellow.

Here’s @linksmonkey: Intermission: “Off to attend a funeral. Expecting a 10 minute eulogy followed by 30 minutes of rebuttal.”

And here’s @dooce: Me: “Leta, you finished your cereal, and I didn’t even have to threaten you!” Leta: “It’s because I’m five now. It’s what we do.”

Unless you’re Oscar Wilde personified don’t limit yourself to tweeting about quotations and proverbs. If I’m really interested I’d go straight to the site in question and not bother with what you’ve dug up. Don’t be afraid to be original because it’s your passport to getting noticed.

Last night, I retweeted a particularly lovely quote. A lady named @jansimpson sent me a tweet debunking the quote and explained why. I was floored, but not offended. And we exchanged tweets about the subject. In the end, I accepted her version of the quote because I felt she improved upon it.

says: Hopefulness doesn’t need a lamp with a bulb to burn out-hopefulness has an internal heater.

Of course, I retweeted her revised version. That to me is meaningful conversation. Not every tweet is about you, your post, or the particular brand or product you’re selling. It’s about making human connection with another fellow we like. In real life, we go to the market to buy say fish or meat. We don’t go about this mundane task by buying from the first person that we notice. We go straight to the fish vendor who we personally know and trust. And so it is with Twitter. Both of us maybe coming from opposite ends of the hemisphere but if I have a personal connection with you remarkable things can happen afterward. Maybe I gain a reader to my blog. Or better yet – a friend. Or future creative collaboration may not be a little far off.

4. I’m a serious blogger – would rather trust Google and other resource-rich sites to give heft and substance to my writing. I have no beef against Google. I find it still relevant. All I’m saying is Twitter is fast coming up as the best alternative search engine. Google’s powerful machines are still churning out relevant search results, but I’m increasingly getting seduced by Twitter’s potentiality as a search engine. Top users in every field, the geeks, and virtually all the leading lights in every profession are in Twitter and this collective wealth of personal recommendations I’m lusting after.

Say for example, I need to come up with video blogging to spice up my blog. Who do I trust more? Google’s algorithm? I’d rather hear out first Robert Scoble/@sobleizer and other known video bloggers who are all in Twitter.

I’m in a serious dilemma with my writing. Do I ask the impersonal Google? No, I’d hear out what Brian Clark has to say first. If he’s caught up with something else at the moment, then I go to @joannayoung who I have a personal connection with in Twitter.

The benefit of this is I get a real shot at following up on my concerns in real time. In Google and other traditional search engines,you may find the results relevant, but nothing beats a personal recommendation from a person you trust and respect.

5. Why waste time and ideas on a site you do not own. Post it on your blog where there’s a likelihood that it will make you a tidy sum. I use Twitter as a listening post, a tool that amplifies my presence and voice. My activities there – holding virtual pow-wows with like-minded persons, helping people with retweets and links to precious resources I found in the internet, bonding with friends and developing relationships with other people – are but an extension of my blog. It’s my five senses all right, but not necessarily all of me.

It’s not a waste of time expending nuggets of wisdom or a germ of a wonderful idea in 140 letters. I can always take them home with me to this blog and snip off the ragged edges and hone them till they shine. Twitter is a good sounding board, but it is in your blog where the real work takes place. It’s wasted on you, of course, if you’re just kicking around useful ideas like pebbles in twitterverse road and then go out to complain it has been a waste of time.

This may be a hosted blog, but in it still resides my bloody entrails and my soul. Twitter is a party I go to, but this blog is my home and where I go to touch base with what is essentially me.

Recommended reading: Why It’s Worth Sticking with Twitter

Here’s a guide on how to brand yourself on Twitter.

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Related Posts

  • Jan
    @J: Hahaha. Take your own sweet time. We all work and play and read blogs at our own pace. Whatever works for us.

    Don't say that it's addicting. Other readers might have the wrong idea. Let's just say twitter makes one an uber blogger or blog reader. :)
  • J
    Sorry it took so long to get back to you. Thank you for your comment on my blog. Twitter is addicting! ;)
  • Jan
    @diTesco: Bro, I'm using Tweetdeck and I swear by it. The best! I'm still not adept with its filtering feature though. But I use other apps too - like tweetree. If find it's threaded tweets just lovely. Very much like threaded comments in WP.
    Thanks for the heads up, buddy. :)
  • Make Money Online | diTesco
    Heelo Jan. I joined Twitter earlier this year and contrary to some, I find it quite interesting and easy to use. One of the key elements to enjoy Twitter is using the right Twitter Client or application if you prefer. Using Twitter's website is not so fun because it is almost impossible to have a feel of what is going on. For this, I recommend Tweet Deck, probably one of the best. You can create groups, filter annoying tweets, see public tweets (even if you are not following them), etc. I have some tips and a list of Twitter Apps that you could be interested. Check it out if you want on Twitter Tools and Tips

    BTW, used properly, it does bring you traffic. Just avoid posting only your links and send meaningful Tweets.
  • Jan
    @lemuel: facebook can be like your backyard. You get to meet people and friend them if you allow them past your gates and vice versa. Twitter is more democratic. You don't need their permission if you want to follow them. The only bad thing you can't send direct message to people who don't follow you back. But of course you can type a message for them: just @username then type your message.

    It's not hard to use, twitter. You'll get the hang of it eventually. Darren Rowse has a blog about twitter: twitip.com
  • lemuel
    jan, because of your posts, i signed up at twitter last week. now, i don't know what to do, still studying how to use it. i have facebook though and was active before in multiply. what's the similarities of facebook and twitter?
  • Jan
    @Dee: Thanks,Dee. :)
  • Dee
    This is really helpful, Jan. I'm beginning to understand Twitter now. I'll bookmark this and read it again when I'm prepared to tackle Twitter. Thanks. :D
  • Jan
    @joji: :) Which is the same thing. The things we put up in our blog reading - so many hazards. I'm glad you came prepared. hahaha
  • jojigirl
    Yeah, you're right. Before I put on my glasses it was a wall of text. Then I put on my glasses, and I saw the sea of gray. And then... my third eye saw the mirror of wisdom... ",)
  • Jan
    @jojigirl: I'm glad your eyes did not glaze over the wall of text. And that you see passion beyond the sea of gray. Thanks. :)
  • jojigirl
    There is so much power in your words here, Jan. Yeah, it's the feeling you give to it, man. This is one powerful, truly breathing post, hehe, enveloping all my senseeez. Jan, d twitter evangelizer. Best post, evah, buddy! Two thumbs up! Kaso mejo high-end na to Jan, ha! Sa 'kin, you're beyond gasp na! Hingal,...! ",) LOL
  • bingkee
    Pasensya ka na Jan, hindi pa rin ako pala-Twitter. I dunno...siguro kasi mas enjoy ako sa sites na marami akong makita at magawa---like pics, apps, games and long messages....hheheehe..But I follow you on Twitter and always see ur Twitter updates on FB and most oftentimes I follow you on your Twits on FB than on Twitter itself..hehehe!

    The reason why I joined Twitter was out of curiosity ---why bloggers like to Twitter. I still wonder even if I am provided by answers how useful and important Twitter is to bloggers---retarded pa rin ako sa concept ng Twitter. LOL!
  • Jan
    @elmot: And let me add building up relationships online takes time. I wonder why people expect fantastic results when they just have joined Twitter for just a few weeks. It's like any other activity or project - give it time to make it work to your advantage.

    Thanks, Elmot.
  • elmot
    wheww...like a bad pill but keeps you coming back for it. good points jan, twitter seems not really so important and have been quite abused, with people tweeting everything they are doing.

    but well, what i love about it is its like text messaging but on a world-wide scope, connecting with friends and building up relationships.
  • Jan
    @joie: Reading blogs is fine, but writing and keeping your blog alive as well is just as important. Blogging burnout? Post less frequently then, but keep it alive. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Hey, if you give me your username in twitter, I'd gladly add you. Is there a link in your blog?
  • joie
    As for me.. I joined twitter out because I'm just curious. My friends has twitter account and so as most of the blogger. I just finish configuring my feeds to my twitter and followed two for the moment. still need to know how to use it and hopefully will be able to follow as many as possible. I am not more of a blogger but more of a blog reader.
  • Jan
    @Kathleen: I understand your hesitation. You need all the quiet moments for your fiction writing. I would have made the same choice had I been into serious writing myself. The mere effort of screening out unnecessary noises - twitter and the social media can be that, too - can be very taxing indeed. :)

    @yatot: Yeah, I was a bit surprised myself it's that long. It didn't look long though in Google doc.

    My traffic is one you'd normally find in a fifth class town - sleepy by your standards - but for what it's worth, referral traffic from twitter currently ranks 4th. And referral from my twitter profile page ranks 5th. I don't why analytics separated these, but I can't complain. LOL.
  • yatot
    whew! longest blog entry ever! i thought i can never find the ending... hahhaha... ok now for my twitter... i was also hesitant at first to join twitter about more than one and half year ago... but because i find it to be another source referral of traffic, i thought... hey, this is one great site! the potentials are there.. and so i joined! and the rest they is history!
  • kathleenmaher
    I have resisted Twitter for years but I admit the pressure to get on it is snowballing. One online magazine I wrote for has set it up so all the contributors are on it.

    When (and if) the day comes when I break down--I'm afraid I'll spend my entire life communicating via internet--I'm coming right here to deal with it.
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