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Twitter Truths

Updated on November 7, 2012

Five Twitter Truths

Having clocked two years and 16,000 followers on Twitter, I felt I should report my learnings.

At first I thought I'd just cover basic stuff (e.g. who to follow, how to list, behaviours to avoid).

Then I realised Twitter 'truths' were far more important than Twitter 'tips'.

It seems impossible such a simple (and apparently frivolous) application could impart wisdom, but there it is.

So here I go.

1. Be Yourself

Genuine humans thrive in Twitter. Fakers, flooders and floggers (though infuriating) do get smacked down in due course.

This isn’t obvious to the casual observer, who understandably concludes Twitter is crap.

Yet when you open yourself to a community and reveal true elements of your life and loves, everyone enjoys the exchange.

Being yourself is also easier than maintaining a fake persona. As Mark Twain said: ‘When you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything’.

2. Be Open

I began Twitter to get more copywriting clients. I achieved that and gained a suite of handy contacts, fascinating colleagues and loyal friends from sectors, countries and professions I never thought I’d encounter.

Because I was open to these people, they named me in magazines, featured me on blogs, recommended me to others and sent me a truckload of free ideas and information.

This rich, unexpected education has been amazing. I’ve seen and done things way beyond my expertise and comfort zone.

I feel stronger, safer and more mature as a result.

3. Choose Quality

A thousand nameless fans aren't as fun, useful or interesting as one genuine contact. Yes, I have 12,000 followers.

No, I can't interact meaningfully with them all.

I can, however, pick the gems from the dross and build real relationships with a few dozen kind, clever cats.

4. Be Generous

I’ve long been a fan of the saying ‘you can’t give good away’. Seth Godin says likewise in his latest freebook. Twitter has shown me time and again this is true.

Online, the Law of Mutual Reciprocity is SO powerful, it needs BIG metaphor:

It’s like spitting out the window of a 300 km/h bullet train. Before you can blink, it comes back at you in a thousand irresistible fragments.

Try it! (Online, I mean.)

5. Focus

If you straddle several chairs you'll probably fall between them. It's the same with social media.

You can't possibly be good at LinkedIn and Facebook and blogging and YouTube and Flickr and Twitter and all the others.

You'll never see the sun!

Instead, check them all out, choose the one or two that feel right for you (and your clients) and spend time being open, genuine and generous there.

Twitter and blogging are my faves. The concerted effort I invest in these is well worth it.

That's my story, anyway. How about you?

Are you Twitter friend or foe?

Your View

Which Twitter Truth is the most important to YOU?

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What do YOU think?

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    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 6 years ago

      @sirkeystone lm: I greatly appreciate you tabling your story, James. It adds great depth to our discussion. Thank you so much for taking the time! :)

    • sirkeystone lm profile image

      sirkeystone lm 6 years ago

      I haven't found the time to use Twitter effectively in several months. When I was, I was using my FreindFeed aggregation to send my comments to at least 30 different social sites. Not being a part of those actual services made me feel like a spammer, but in the end the hundreds that would follow me there would eventually find me one Twitter, if they truly wished to be part of the action. I was also spending a lot of time using the links found via my RSS feed reader to help out other people's blogs and gain traffic for them. I didn't help myself too much, but the one's I did help usually paid it forward to the next set of constituents.

      My biggest thing: Lead By Example. (I'm not much of a teacher)

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 6 years ago

      @scar4: I'm very happy to hear that. I do hope they help you as much as they've helped me. :)

    • profile image

      scar4 6 years ago

      The five principles are very powerful, I'm sure I will benefit far more from them.

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 6 years ago

      @ajgodinho: Thank you for your extremly encouraging comment! I'm glad these points resonated with you. They're all born of experience, so I was hoping they would. As a former HR Manager myself, I'll be fascinated to see how (if?) you use Twitter in your profession. Best regards, P. :)

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very simple and basic, yet powerful insight that I totally agree with because it makes so much sense. I liked that quoted right up front from Mark Twain...it's so true because the truth is powerful! Seasonâs greetings and the best for the New Year! **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I'm so pleased you think so. And delighted you took the time to say so. Thank you! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very good point you make about telling Twitter Truths as opposed to Twitter tips, I think it was a valuable point and you did it very nicely

    • lankanwriter profile image

      lankanwriter 6 years ago

      I have being on Twitter for a long time, but mostly just used it for tweeting links, didn't thought much about building relationships. But recently I went to a meet up met some friends and started interacting in a meaningful way. Within two month I got an invitation to form a company, many more clients for my SEO business and generally a good set of like minded friends

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 6 years ago

      @darciefrench lm: Good for you, Darcie! I wish you every success. I've made a few false moves in social media myself. It's so new, it's a bit like the Wild West. But we'll get there in the end. Best regards, P. :)

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      I'm rebuilding my twitter account in the ways you've described. When I first discovered twitter about a year ago I went overboard on the tweet note. It can be too easy to tweet too much about the same thing, and not realize how redundant it looks. I probably still do the same thing but to a much lesser degree, as I am on twitter to tweet my Squidoo links and visit links of fellow Squids- but not to chat or socialize or make friends. Surface niceties are good- but still only on the surface- I'm on twitter for business only.

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @myraggededge: Thank you for saying so. It isn't for everyone, but it can be extremely powerful in amplifying your online messages. So, if you can learn to self-edit down to 140 characters, you'll be home and hosed. I appreciate your comment very much. :)

    • profile image

      myraggededge 7 years ago

      I don't use Twitter properly. It doesn't seem terribly personal to me... I think it's because I need more space and more words to express and interact in a way that feels satisfying. Having said that, the points you make on this lens are excellent and well worth taking on board.

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @JoyfulPamela2: It does take a while to master. And there are pitfalls, but it does have a lot going for it. Good luck in your quest and thank you for your visit. :)

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      I'm still trying to figure Twitter out, but I do think it is fun to meet people who are interested in similar things through it! =D

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @ShamanicShift: It can be a whole lot of fun, can't it Elizabeth? Thanks for yet another generous comment! :)

    • profile image

      ShamanicShift 7 years ago

      I took to Twitter, meett many twpl who go their ways, but many who stick and stay, and I take comfort feeling diffuse, yet reliable fun-vibes from its net of "twitgetherness" as I Net-work (and play).

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @ssuthep: My thanks to you for saying so. It's great to get such positive feedback! Best regards, P. :)

    • ssuthep profile image

      ssuthep 7 years ago

      You have outlined some really great tips for anyone looking to have a positive, fun and engaging experience on Twitter. Thanks for the share.

    • makingamark profile image

      Katherine Tyrrell 7 years ago from London

      Sound observations. I like the notion of your special persons list. I've got mine grouped by what they do.

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Shelly's a keeper alright! Wish I had a sister like her! You're so right about friendships over the waves. We've been comparing notes for ages now, though we've never met. I really like the way you phrased that sentence about distance. Fantastic stuff! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @PaulHassing LM: You are more than welcome Paul. Shelly (my sister for those who don't know) and I both took a liking to you right away, and she would not like it at all if I ever stopped supporting you. I would hear about it..and I kid you not. Still haven't gotten her to join Squidoo, but maybe someday, ... I keep hoping.

      Thank you for you kind support of too. Funny how we can form friendly relationships on the other side of the world. There is no distance in the realm of the spirit, and the internet narrows that margin even more.

      May an angel touch you on the shoulder today and bring you joy!

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @anonymous: I am so lucky, Tipi, to have you as a Sqidoo friend. You've been so kind so often for so long. And now you're taking it to another level again. I am very grateful for your generous words and endless support. Thank you. Best regards, P. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I always wonder what people get out of not being themselves or being impeccable with their word on Twitter. Guess I will always wonder what's in it for them, can't be much that will be lasting. ~ Very good truths Paul!

      Boy I sure like that intro picture, it drew me in fight away to see that face. That's a nice face, an honest face, that's a face of a poster child...lol! You know what Paul, just because I like you and that face so well I'm going to work on getting the lens featured in a few places. You are a fine person for a guy! ;)

      :P

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @GrowWear: Glad you liked them, Mimi! There's so much dross on Twitter, I'm glad to have found a few golden threads. Always a pleaure to receive your visit. P. :)

    • profile image

      GrowWear 7 years ago

      Paul, thank you for these Twitter Truths. There's always something to learn. Always room for improvement. :)

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @seegreen: I hear you, Samantha. It took me a while to get a handle on Twitter too. But now I find it a very useful adjunct to all my online content. It can really give you a shot in the arm. Thank you for visiting! :)

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      seegreen 7 years ago

      I'm beginning to become more active on twitter. For a long time I just didn't know how to use it to its full potential. I still have a long way to go but I'm now enjoying it more. I like what you say in your third point, it's about quality.

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @Amy Fricano: You are most kind! :)

    • Amy Fricano profile image

      Amy Fricano 7 years ago from WNY

      You are a clever cat yourself

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @Paula Atwell: Thank you, Paula. I'm grateful for your visit and comment. I look forward to tweeting and retweeting with you down the track. Best regards, P. :)

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 7 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Good advice here. I frequently weed out my own twitter list to manage it better.

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @stephenhamilton: Thank you, Cobber. And I ALWAYS appreciate your kind feedback. Thank you very much! :)

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      stephenhamilton 7 years ago

      Good show, Paul. I always learn something from you!

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @Tarra99: Good show, alteredkat! Supporting your work is a pleasure and it's always lovely to see you in my neck of the woods. Best regards, P. :)

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      Tarra99 7 years ago

      I am in the process of fixing #3 on my twitter account...wise advice Paul...as usual! ;o)

      Thank you for visiting and commenting on my "thank you Squid Angels" lens...I appreciate your comments always!

    • PaulHassing LM profile image
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      Paul Hassing 7 years ago

      @10jknowles: Thank YOU for visiting! I'm very happy to hear you found some value. :)

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      10jknowles 7 years ago

      This article was very informative. Thanks for all your advice!