Before you tweet

Will my passage in life be merely recorded by hands...

Hello and welcome to Twitter. You’ve just been introduced to potentially millions of new friends.  Your buddy introduced you and so you started by following him.  It’s a fun feeling so you want to branch out and follow more folks.  You found this great post by Liz Strauss with lots of great folks to add. STOP.

That’s right. STOP.

Don’t add those folks yet.  Your experience won’t be quite what you expect.  These folks won’t be quite as welcoming as your friend was.  What? Aren’t they the best on Twitter?

Those folks are going to welcome you, but those folks are heavy Twitter users and are going to expect a few things from you too on the heavy participation.

No, no chicken sacrifices or anything, but just some common courtesy things that your friend wouldn’t need.  Your friend knows you, these folks want to know you and be your friend.. Yes, they actually will get to know you.

So what can you do?  Here’s a few simple tips before you tweet:

  • Add an icon – believe it or not this a big one but is the easiest thing to fix. And to make it easier, if you don’t have a pic you’d like to use, download this face. Just choose the smallest one.
  • Fill in your one line bio – put something here about yourself. Mention what you do for a living, or something that defines you. Father, mother, consultant, etc.  Key here is not to be yet another “I’ll make you rich” listing. We’ll figure that out quick enough if it’s true. So seriously, put something fun or interesting here.
  • Fill in your website  - no, we don’t want it to link back your Twitter page.  If you don’t have a website, just leave it blank. If you don’t represent your employer, don’t put that page here either.  Got naked pic site? Maybe don’t put that link here either. You’ll find out soon enough if we’re interested in that. Don’t put your MySpace page here either. Honestly, folks won’t appreciate it.
  • Check that person’s profile and tweets – you’ll be glad you did.  If you were to check mine for instance you’d see that I’ve posted over 37,000 public Twitter messages.  That works out to some months where I’ve posted thousands. I’m not the only one. You may find me too busy to have in your stream.  Also, if you’re going to follow someone, their profile and tweet history will tell you if what they are posting or will post might be offensive to you. You’ll also get a sense of who they talk to.  Those folks might scare you as well.
  • Get a Twitter client – You can find a list of Twitter clients that Twitter recommends. These programs set on your desktop and let you watch your Twitter stream go by without having to visit  They’ll also allow you to post messages from your desktop.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did this.  My favorite right now is Tweetdeck.

Okay, now you’re ready to join the big dogs.  Those things above will already take you out of the newbie mode before you even join the mainstream of Twitter.

Cheers to your joining us on Twitter. I look forward to seeing your smiling face and checking out your website and your tweets.


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