Making the Most of Twitter
I've been much more active on Twitter this year. Here's how I've improved my Twitter experience.
I've had a Twitter account for a long time, over ten years. For a long time, my use of Twitter was pretty unfocused, and I didn't get much out of it. I logged in infrequently and tweeted even less.
Recently, though, I've been working on being more active on Twitter, and I'm really seeing the benefit. If you are in the tech industry, #TechTwitter is a welcoming place where you can get plugged into a great community. The things I'll share below primarily apply to #TechTwitter, but can still be valuable to anyone seeking to improve their own Twitter experience.
Follow More People
Until this year, I was mostly following large, organizational accounts for groups and websites. I used Twitter as a glorified news feed, and that was about it. However, Twitter introduced Topics back in 2019, and they have taken more priority in people's feeds. Twitter will suggest topics it thinks you may be interested in, and if you follow a topic, you'll see more tweets from that topic. I followed a few technical topics but the results were mixed; a lot of what I was seeing in my feed was low-effort posts, memes, or controversial posts that had high engagement but low value.
Every so often, though, I'd find a good tweet, and I'd follow the person who posted it. Each time I'd follow someone, Twitter would suggest more people to follow, and things quickly snowballed from there. I've probably doubled the amount of accounts I'm following this year, and almost all the accounts I've added are individuals. The results have been tremendous.
A Better Timeline
As I've increased the amount of people I've followed, it seems that the algorithm-driven tweets have been crowded out a bit on my timeline. I still get them occasionally, but there's much more quality content I'm seeing from the people I'm actually following. When I do see topic-related tweets surfaced on my timeline, they are more likely to be tweets I find useful (though not always, the algorithm for topics seems to be especially awful in the last week or so).
For a long time, one of the reasons I didn't follow a lot of accounts was because I didn't want to overwhelm my timeline and miss things. I haven't found that to be the case, though. Do I miss a few more tweets than I used to? Most likely, yes, but the quality content rises to the top, especially if it's liked and retweeted by a large number of the people who are now in my circle on Twitter.
Great People, Great Perspectives
I've connected with some fantastic people in the #TechTwitter community. I'll especially call out Shawn Axsom (https://twitter.com/ShawnAxsom) for really being on point lately with some fantastic content, and his work around connecting the community with his Here to Help idea. There are so many others, though (I'll include a handful more at the bottom of this post). I've started following people from all different backgrounds, with different levels of experience and areas of strength in their skillsets. I've followed people with hundreds of followers and people with thousands.
I've seen two results of this. First of all, new perspectives help to get you out of your bubble. Social media can make it easy to get into an insular bubble, but following a wide and diverse range of people helps to avoid that. You can get new ideas for projects to try, new ways to tackle a problem, and new sources of motivation by engaging with the community. Secondly, engagement with the community can help build your own following.
Giving and Receiving
One of the reasons my tweeting has been sporadic in the past is the fact that I always felt a bit like I was tweeting into the void. I didn't have a lot of followers, so no one would see my tweets anyways. I still don't have a ton of followers, but I've increased my follower count by about 50% in the past three months, simply by following and engaging with more accounts.
People don't know you exist unless you give them a reason to, so engaging with others on Twitter with quality content shows others there is a reason to follow you. In most cases, you're not going to build a following of thousands overnight, but by giving quality content to the community, engaging with and following some of the great people in #TechTwitter, you can receive benefits of your own for your account.
More Accounts to Follow
I hope you've found these tips from my experience valuable. If you're looking for some more outstanding people to follow, here is just a handful I'd recommend, in no particular order:
That's a good list with a lot of variety, and if you start with some of those, I can almost guarantee your experience will snowball like it did for me. Happy Tweeting!
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