Social Media Tips: Things I've Learned from Eleven Years On Twitter

Twitter recently decided to remind me that I've been a user of their site/app for 11 years now. I joked that I wasn't sure if that was a good or bad thing, but in a weird way I'm actually pretty proud of it. 

I've been on there almost since the beginning, and over the years I've watched the platform change beyond all recognition. Back in the day, Twitter was a much quieter place with less 'noise', you only had a 140 character word limit (and no links or pictures), you had to retweet manually by copy/pasting someone's tweet with the letters 'RT' at the beginning and the site often went down from being 'over capacity' (even though there were significantly fewer users than there are now). Anyone else remember the Fail Whale? 

I remember creating my account back in January 2009, on a desktop computer. MySpace was already on its way out, Facebook was going strong and people were talking about this new social media site called 'Twitter'. A site solely made up of status updates. What was the point of that? 

I created an account anyway, added a few people and tweeted a bit but still didn't really 'get' it. Still, I persevered and somewhere along the line I got hooked. 

Nowadays, Twitter is always my go-to social media site. If I'm bored, I'll whip out my phone and have a scroll. If something exciting or funny happens, Twitter is the place I go to share it. Sometimes if I'm feeling anxious I'll distract myself by scrolling the timeline and reading what other people are sharing, to take my mind off things until I feel myself start to calm down.

My Twitter Tips

This isn't a 'How to Use Twitter' post; I'm not going to teach you how to set up an account or grow a following. This is more like 'How to Make the Most of Your Time On Twitter': tips to make your Twitter experience better.

Twitter can be a terrible place. It can also be an amazing place. It all just depends on your attitude and how you use the site. For the most part, my experience on Twitter has been positive. 

I really believe that it all depends on what you're putting out there. If you're constantly being hostile or starting fights, people are going to fight back and it's not going to be a very nice experience for anyone. On the other hand, if you're friendly, supportive and approachable, you'll find that the majority of people will be the same to you.

This brings me to my next point: Don't argue with strangers on the internet. There are a lot of idiots out there. Try not to let them get to you. It can be tempting to answer back or set them straight but you're probably not going to change their mind. I often see people arguing over the silliest things and I have to wonder what they get out of it. 

If someone is rude to you, my best tip is not to engage with them - they're probably trying to get a reaction. Make good use of the unfollow, mute and block functions. Do what you have to do to protect yourself.

If someone on a social media site made a rude comment to me I can't say it would bother me. They don't know me and I don't know them so I can't take their behaviour personally. If it was someone I consider a friend I'd try to sort the situation out, but a stranger I don't even follow who's just being rude for no reason and means literally nothing to me sure as hell isn't going to ruin my day. 

The more people you follow on Twitter, the better - to an extent. Obviously the more people you follow, the more interesting and lively your timeline will be. And of course you'll have more people to interact with. I don't recommend following just anyone and everyone, though. Only follow people you connect with and those whose content you enjoy and whose tweets make your experience on the platform better. 

Don't feel bad about unfollowing someone if their content isn't for you anymore. If their tweets are triggering or even if you're just not interested in what this person is about anymore, you're under no obligation to stay. Just don't follow people to swiftly unfollow as soon as they follow back because you want to increase your follower count - that's bad Twitter etiquette (you can actually get banned for aggressive following and unfollowing) and, quite frankly, there are better ways to spend your time.

Twitter can be a huge time-waster and a way of procrastinating instead of getting more important things done, but it can also be an amazing resource. You can talk to like-minded people with the same interests and values as you, make friends, promote your business or blog, find answers to your questions and just be entertained if you're feeling bored or lonely. Personally, I think Twitter is awesome.

You can follow me on Twitter here!

What's your favourite thing about Twitter? Let me know in the comments.

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Let's get social!