twitterLike many I suppose, I gave Twitter a few tries before I finally started to understand what it was about. Well, just a little understanding anyway. What then looked so simple superficially, has in fact turned out to be an extremely new and complex form of communication. While other forms of social networking are basically controlled by the user with regard to access and permissions, Twitter has thrown away these protections, or if you wish, restrictions. You can follow whoever you like. And anyone can follow you.

In recent months, my following has increased at a such a rate, I have had problems learning how to manage this. Unashamedly, I started using Twitter to promote my books and CDs, but learned very early on that this was best achieved by interaction and not blatant advertising, increased my work load. Two months ago, I knew I had to find an effective system, or I would soon be sitting in front of Twitter 24/7.

So here are the confessions of a Twitter user. Or more precisely, my management process.

Firstly, I set aside two sessions per day of a maximum of one hour and complete the following tasks.

  • Write ten new tweets for the day. My OWN words, and NOT a list of copied quotes.
  • Schedule these tweets for the coming 24 hour period.
  • Read my @mention tweets and reply or RT. Read my DMs and answer if necessary.
  • Scan my home feed looking for interesting news or people or worth RTs.
  • Scan my lists for interesting news from people I follow there.
  • Importantly, try to interact with any messages I receive during these two sessions.
  • On Fridays, I add suggested users from #FF messages.

Outside these two sessions, I tweet interesting information I might come across on the web. Such as news items of interest.

With this new discipline, I have now managed to recover the time I need to write, blog and live a life! So, I feel better now. I have confessed! If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you now know my secrets.

As an aside, it will be interesting to watch Twitter develop in the future. The ever increasing number of supplementary programs, applications and services for Twitter increase daily as does the level of automation that is available. I suppose the question will be how this automation will be used and accepted by the Twitter community.

Derek’s Vandal Blog
www.derekhaines.ch
Derek on Twitter
Derek’s Author Page

Twitter Confessions
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17 thoughts on “Twitter Confessions

  • 12/01/2010 at 3:51 pm
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    You have a good system. I have had to rethink my time on T. I find it a good place to be, but addictive.

  • 13/01/2010 at 3:38 am
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    Oh very good methods. I however, have gone off Twitter a bit. So much work, and trying to maintain a blog as well…while writing nonetheless…very tough. Perhaps I'll find my way back to it soon. And perhaps, I'll be a bit more disciplined like you this time.

  • 02/06/2011 at 9:24 am
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    And all this time I thought you were sitting here hanging on my every word! I must admit Derek I'm shocked! I think it is an interesting approach & one I probably should employ, but, it certainly loses a bit of spontaneity & the excitement of "Breaking News",etc. in the process. I may try at the very least to set aside small blocks of time during the day & night to work on my Photographs & write…baby steps

  • 02/06/2011 at 9:40 am
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    Twitter has become so big Anne that it's difficult to keep up. I think the main thing is to allocate genuine 'online' time to keep as much spontaneity as possible. It's a 24/7 world now, but I do need sleep! lol

  • 02/06/2011 at 10:10 am
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    I hear ya, it' 4:07am here ~ I woke up around 2:30am let the cat in & have been on Twitter ever since! I think I'll take a nap now…

  • 02/06/2011 at 10:12 am
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    A very good list, Derek! For me, twitter is about interaction. I have to say, once someone starts to flog products and advertise the same message too often, I switch off. Sorry. #ff I only do once in every couple months, as I think of it as a shout-out to followers and if done too often, for me, it loses value but hey, thats just me.

    Have a fab day! ;-)

  • 02/06/2011 at 10:26 am
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    Clarity on Twitter – thank you from a recent recruit to Twitterdom. I was overwhelmed the first time I tried Twitter, now beginning to get the hang of it (I think) and can see the danger of popping in whenever my latest plot seems to sag.

    As an arch procrastinator, it's a wonderful way to pretend one is doing something useful – fingers on keyboard, after all.

  • 02/06/2011 at 10:31 am
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    I agree Elizabeth. Pretendy Twitter writing is still writing! But I class blog writing as less pretendy. :))

  • 02/06/2011 at 10:35 am
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    Brilliant! Thanks for sharing.

  • 02/06/2011 at 11:14 am
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    I think it's fascinating the different ways that people use Twitter. The great thing about is that we all get different things from it yet can still interact with each other. I think Derek that when you have as many followers as you have you have no choice but to have some kind of 'system', like you say, you also have a life. It obviously works, I've found a lot of people to follow through you and have got a lot of followers back, I think you're a great example of how to 'use' Twitter in a way that combines interaction with promotion without it being irritating.
    If anyone ever asks me how to do something on Twitter I always say "follow Derek Haines"! You should write an 'Idiots guide to Twitter' book.

  • 02/06/2011 at 11:22 am
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    A great new project Tracy! An Idiots Guide To Twitter! I think I qualify on the idiot status. :)

  • 02/06/2011 at 12:11 pm
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    I'll take a copy of that 'Idiots guide to Twitter' please! lol I'm very new to it and trying to figure out what all of the hype is about it. I must be missing something. :/

  • 02/06/2011 at 12:45 pm
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    This was a really interesting article and I hope you won't take what I'm going to write the wrong way! I've been following you for a few weeks and I've really enjoyed your blog posts. They're funny, topical and informative. Your tweets by comparison seemed to be different; a few too many sometimes, a little displaced from what's going on, a bit lacking in spontaneity and now I understand why.
    I really appreciate the problem of time management with a huge number of followers and I can see your system works well for you. I think there's some good things to learn here but feel if we all did the same, I think the magic of Twitter would be lost and it would just become another form of email to manage with everyone promoting themselves to each other. The power of Twitter is in the conversation and a sense of connection at the time. Whether we can keep that going is the challenge for each of us.

  • 02/06/2011 at 1:10 pm
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    Ok Christina, I'll see if I can come up with a little post about starting on Twitter. :)

  • 02/06/2011 at 1:24 pm
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    Thanks for your thoughtful comments Peter.I really don't know why this post has hit a nerve today, as I wrote it over a year ago. In that time however, I've learned a lot more and totally agree with you about what you call the magic of Twitter.

    I adore the interaction and conversation enormously, and have found that using lists has helped me in this regard. It becomes a bit of a challenge with a large following, but I can honestly say I have a core of around 500-800 wonderful users I communicate with regularly.

    On the other hand, I'm an indie author and need to eat! So yes, I use Twitter as a marketing tool as well. No apologies.

    But where I think things get complicated are with the rise in automatic RSS feeding. While it is nice to know some think my tweets are worth retweeting, I have seen a big increase in postings of my material by RSS feeding. Very easy to do, and an simple way to post regular content.

    With Twitter offering so much to so many, and the need for Twitter to return a profit itself in the near future, there will naturally be a lot of marketing and hard selling on twitter.

    But with selective following and filtering I think the Twitter magic will stay. Finger crossed!

  • 02/06/2011 at 1:35 pm
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    I am new to Twitter and enjoyed your article. Creating a balance is quite a challenge! My personal pet-peeve is folks I have followed who post quotes every 5 seconds! (I know I'm exaggerating, I find it annoying!) Do they not have an original thought? Transitioning from a face-to-face relationship business to words on a page is a learning curve for me. Moving slow… but moving! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. ;)

  • 02/06/2011 at 2:41 pm
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    Thank you – I really enjoyed your article. I had deleted my account recently because of feeling that twitter was taking over my life! I have today though snuck back under the cover of darkness, with tail between my legs; because without an audience to read & critique your work, there can be no improvement. However, it shall be in a more dietic form from now on!…btw thanks so much for the follow! :)

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