I started this website in 2016 and for 4 long years, I focused on writing articles and books.
While I had preemptively opened social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook lest someone else opens them before me, I kept my social media accounts mostly idle during the first 4 years of this website.
Around mid-August this year, I decided to get more active on my Twitter account with the goal to promote my website in an attempt to escape Google’s stranglehold on search results.
During these last 4 months, I tried to figure out how Twitter works while trying to gain as many followers as I can at the same time.
So far I managed to gain a little more than 2,400 followers, which by any means isn’t huge but regardless, I learned a lot of valuable lessons.
Here are the 10 things I learned from my 4 months onTwitter.
1. Twitter is a Fast-Moving Space
My blogging experience had already taught me that producing content is tough.
Producing content for Twitter is easier than producing blog content but it still takes time and effort.
However, the biggest difference between blog content and Twitter content is longevity.
My blog articles continue to consistently get thousands of readers years after I’ve published them but a tweet pretty much dies within 24 hours max, no longer how good or popular it is.
Sure, you can resurrect a tweet by retweeting it but retweets die even sooner than the original tweets.
It also doesn’t help that when you scroll down for a while on your Twitter timeline, Twitter starts to harass you to view new Tweets by popping up a message:
Another difference between a blog and a Twitter account is that when a reader is on your website they’re focusing solely on your content without getting distracted by other people’s content on the same page.
Your content on Twitter appears for the most part on a reader’s timeline, appearing on the same page with the tweets of others. Hence, competition for attention is more readily visible on Twitter than it is over a blog.
The plus side of Twitter in terms of content visibility is that it’s a popular website with built-in traffic. While it takes months to get your blog content visible on the first page of search engines, it can take as short as minutes to get your tweets visible to a large audience.
2. It’s Tough to Gain Followers
While building a blog is theoretically open to everyone, it’s a lot harder to build a blog than to open a Twitter account.
The complete lack of barriers to entry and the allure of built-in traffic Twitter has accumulated over the years invites in a lot of competition for followers.
While following someone on Twitter requires no effort other than clicking on the Follow Button, people are extremely meticulous about who to follow lest they contaminate their timeline with low-value content.
I’ve heard that only a tiny percentage of users have more than 1,000 followers. I don’t have the official numbers but it rings true considering how picky people are about who to follow due to a massive number of options.
Since I don’t have a massive following (yet), I am not qualified to talk about how to gain followers.
What I’ve observed so far is that the writers who consistently produce top-notch content tend to have more followers.
However, this is not my conclusive opinion as of yet because I’ve also seen writers with massive followings despite their terrible content, which suggests that there are other ways to gain followers than producing great content.
3. Twitter Exposes Human Nature
Human nature is uglier than what you encounter in real-life for the simple reason that people have a lot more to lose in real-life than on the Internet.
Humans are likelier to stick to good manners in real life because of the fear of real-life consequences such as ostracisation, physical confrontation, etc.
The lack of real-life consequences encourages people to expose their real nature on Twitter, which for the most part is amusing to observe.
4. Twitter is Distractive
The gist of social media is that it’s interactive.
Not only there’s a constant, fast-moving flow of content, but there are also likes, retweets, and comments that Twitter informs you about which add up to distract you.
5. Twitter is Addictive
The features that make Twitter distractive are also what make Twitter addictive since fresh content, likes, retweets, and comments fire up your dopamine receptors and we already know that dopamine is the foundation of all addictions.
Also, I had read in Cal Newport’s book Digital Minimalism that people in Silicon Valley study human nature to make their products more addictive.
While I have no concrete proof that Twitter tweaks its algorithm towards making it more addictive, I strongly suspect that the Twitter algorithm is designed to reward users intermittently since intermittent rewarding is a cornerstone of addiction.
6. Twitter Improves Your Writing Abilities
After 4 years of blogging, I’m still not sure which I hate more; writing or editing.
I meticulously edit my blog posts before publishing because editing massively improves the quality of my content.
I don’t know how much time other writers spare for editing but for me, editing my articles takes as much time as writing them, if not more.
Editing the blog posts is tough but I don’t have space or character limitations on my blog which allows me to write as much as I deem necessary to get my point across.
I had to up my editing game on Twitter not because I necessarily aimed to improve the clarity of my writing but because there’s a 280 character limit which forces me to shorten my sentences to get my point across with the minimum number of characters.
This kind of editing specific to Twitter inevitably helped improve my writing which I’m happy about because even if Twitter goes down in flames tomorrow, the writing skills I earned will stay with me forever.
7. Blogging Experience Helps
Writing is an ability that is best improved by actually writing.
I’ve published many articles on this website over the years, which helped improve my writing technique which in turn helps me to write better and faster on Twitter.
8. Twitter is Great for Networking
Networking on social media is easier than networking by blogging because social media is built for interaction.
I managed to establish great connections with other writers and bloggers during my short stint on Twitter, which wouldn’t be possible outside of Twitter.
Since follower count is the greatest status marker on Twitter (provided that you’ve actually earned your followers) and I don’t have a massive following yet, I’m still yet to leverage my follower count for further networking utilities but it’s obvious that the potential is there.
9. You’ll Be Attacked for Speaking the Truth
I’m yet to encounter a mob coming after me but there’ve been people claiming to be offended by my content.
I’m used to this kind of people from my blogging experience since I regularly receive emails from them which I simply ignore. These people are also easy to handle on Twitter. Hit the block button and they’re gone.
I’ve seen some writers attacked by Twitter mobs. If you speak the truth, you’ll inevitably be attacked by mobs especially if you’ve built a large following.
Being attacked by a mob isn’t always a bad thing though because smart writers convert mob attention to new followers but it’s not hard to guess that some writers fall victims to Twitter mobs.
10. Twitter is Diverse
Anyone with an Internet connection can open a Twitter account (unless they’re not in a country where Twitter is banned).
The internet has rapidly been equalizing the playing field and Twitter is not much different.
Twitter doesn’t care about your gender, race, height, weight, age, whether you have a college degree or you’re from a 1st world or a 3rd world country, etc.
I’ve seen many great writers with diverse backgrounds from all around the world who managed to build a huge following.
Anyone who’s willing to put in the work and provide value can be a success on Twitter.
With all its negatives and positives, my time on Twitter has been a valuable experience.
I’m sure there’s a lot more to learn as I plan to continue writing on Twitter as well as on this website.
Don’t forget to check my Twitter account and give me a follow.