Label: blogger, Hal Licino, Twitter
Many bloggers accustomed to dealing with topics in 400 to 600 words are finding concentrating their messages down to a mere 140 characters to be extremely challenging. Twitter can be a minefield and the slightest error can cost you readers and reputation, so follow these top 7 blogger imperatives for Twitter and rise to the level of a whiz tweeter, not a whizzing twit.
1. Wach ur Spelink & Gramma – Your Twitter content represents your blog and if you’re illiterate in your tweets then the reader can expect more of the same in your blog. Even though you only have 140 characters to work with, abbreviations are generally frowned upon, so it’s best to state what you have to say very concisely but in perfect English.
2. Ice your head first – The CEO of the leading company in your field has done something so profoundly cretinous that they’re making Steve Ballmer look like Albert Einstein, so your first temptation is to fire off a tweet calling him a moron and a bozo. You shouldn’t insult anyone on Twitter ever as it can come back to haunt you and will alienate many of your followers. You’re best off to criticize the factual policies, without engaging in ad hominem attacks.
3. Thicken your skin – One of the most frustrating things about being on Twitter is how many of your followers will not hesitate for a moment to call you a moron and a bozo. Just like you shouldn’t engage in vulgar tweeting about industry figures you have to restrain yourself from engaging in an exchange of expletives with instigators. Just ignore them and they’ll go find some other playground to engage in their silly games.
4. Just the facts ma’am – Twitter is a factual communications medium, so you’re best off to reserve your editorial ruminations to your blog and provide information and links which are both relevant and valuable to your reader. They read your blog to obtain the latest happenings in your industry, whether it be the specs on the latest 128GB SSD or what Lindsay Lohan has done now. “Just had a great Mocha Frappuccino #starbucks” is not really either relevant or valuable to anyone and it verges on…
5. Shill Shill Hurray (Not) – The great dirty non-secret of Twitter is that influential tweeters can cash in bigtime. When a major celebrity movie or sports star makes an offhanded remark about how great their shoe/car/watch/whatever is you can bet that their motivation is not altruistic sharing of a great customer experience but a real big check.
As a blogger you have a responsibility to remain unbiased and balanced, so ranting on about how fantastic a specific product is will communicate to your readers that you’ve succumbed to payola and your opinions can no longer be trusted to be your own.
6. Politickmeoff – Are you writing a political blog? Then feel free to engage in all the political wagging your heart desires. If your blog is not related to politics in any way then your tweets should never broach the subjects. If your readers are seeking information on your industry’s latest news, they really couldn’t care less if you’re voting for or against Obama. You can make an exception when political maneuvering affects your industry, such as the Keystone XL pipeline being momentous for the oil business or the Stop Online Piracy Act shaking up internet providers.
7. No laughs for gaffes – We all laugh uproariously when a major twitter makes a boneheaded mistake, such as Ashton Kutcher railing against Penn State Coach Joe Paterno’s firing before learning it was due to a molestation scandal, Kenneth Cole connecting the violent Egyptian uprising to his new spring fashion collection, or Gilbert Gottfried making jokes out of the Japanese Tsunami.
So… what have learned, Dorothy? Don’t repeat their mistakes! You should be lighthearted in your tweets but not ever broach the limits of insensitivity or make factual errors. The wrong 140 characters can wipe out years of work building up your blog!