(Trying To) Fly with the Twitter Birds: What Do You Tweet About?

Dear Reader,

So, back in the stone ages (meaning January 2013), I got an account on Twitter. At the time, it was more of an experiment. I was an avid reader of Joyce Carol Oates and Steve Martin (among other twitter users) and I liked the challenge of trying to write interesting and thought-provoking material using 140 characters or less. It seemed easy enough to try and fit everything you wanted to say into such a small space. After all, fewer words means less work, right?

Fast forward to two and a half years later and…I realized that not only is it quite difficult to write something interesting in 140 characters, I also have nothing interesting to say. Until very recently, the only things that I’ve actually been posting on Twitter have been news articles, famous quotes, and retweets from people that actually know how to work Twitter. Now, I suppose I could always just post about my day-to-day activities, but I’m pretty sure it would get very boring very quickly if I kept writing about the instant coffee I’m drinking (though it is good coffee). I could also take pictures of my neighbors without their permission and post what I find, but that violates my “try not to be a total creep” rule.

So now I am asking everyone here who has a Twitter account: what do you like to tweet about? How do you balance the fine line between sharing things about your life and maintaining your privacy? Are there any topics that you would never tweet about? Let me know in the comments down below!




13 Responses to (Trying To) Fly with the Twitter Birds: What Do You Tweet About?

  1. Every budding writer – heck, every writer – should use Twitter to learn how to write succinctly. It’s a wonderful challenge, and as a professional writer and editor, I enjoy trying to condense what might otherwise become a too-wordy treatise into a concise thought.

    I find that Twitter is less about the everyday events and more about what people feel passionate about. That could just be because of the people I follow, but Twitter has become more of a place to post quick thoughts, enhanced by the necessity to keep the content short. Most of what you find, then, are more like sound bites. Often very emotional outbursts.

    So what I would say then is, post what interests you. What are you passionate about? What were you curious about and found a tidbit of amazing fact? What was a recent discovery? Who was interesting that you just bumped into? What didn’t you know yesterday that you suddenly found out today? Share things that you think your followers might find interesting, too. That’s what I do.

    Of course, I do that on Facebook, too. But with Facebook, I get to explain more fully what amazes me. And I can share that briefly on Twitter with a pared down summation.

    I do the same thing with the blogs that I write.

    There are lots of ways to use Twitter effectively. It isn’t just about what am I eating today or what’s the weather like. It’s about using those 140 characters most effectively.

    • I love that! I tend to ramble quite a lot so I think Twitter helped me condense my thoughts in 140 characters.
      I generally used Twitter to express my thoughts and passions or sometimes little one-liners I came up with – definitely something that gave me confidence in my writing as I could get opinions from friends or family or sometimes even random people that liked what I wrote, which was an amazing feeling.

    • alaneggleston—that’s a great idea about writing/tweeting what you are passionate about. I agree that if you have passion for something, you are bound to find others who feel the same. Thank you!

  2. Hey there! I’ve been tweeting since 2009. One thing I did at the outset was /not/ invite family to follow my twitter stream. It’s better left anonymous. That way I can vent and no one knows it’s me. Also, I follow lots of folks who are interested in the same things as I am, and I find that my Twitter stream usually catches me up on headlines; local, state, and national stuff; and things I enjoy. Sometimes, I’ll be sitting around, a thought will strike and I’ll tweet it. Other times, I tweet in response to something going on, be it big or little in scale. I have a TwitterFriend and that’s the only way we communicate! It’s great. I’ve known her since she got married, had 2 kids, and is working on her thesis. BTW, I’m not a writer or author though I am in the process of putting together some projects for certification I hope to earn. 🙂 @mandorac

    • Ah, it’s too late for me personally to create an anonymous account (though I suppose I could always open up a separate one), but I like the idea of that. I also never thought of the idea of building a friendship exclusively through Twitter. How do you two communicate? Do you use the DM button a lot or do you just send tweets to one another? Or a mixture of both?

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever really got the hang of Twitter. I tend to Tweet links and Retweet stuff, which I think probably annoys the people who follow me. I don’t construct very many original Tweets. I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling to survive in the Twitter-sphere.

    • I agree, it’s nice to know you’re not the only one. Sometimes it really does feel like a competition on social media, especially for those who use it as a way to promote their work and connect to an audience.

  4. I’ve tied my WordPress blog to my twitter so there’s always blog announcements, most of which are random thoughts anyway. My most recent tweet was a rant about the smell of a smoker I was walking behind and how I overtook him and farted. As I was writing it up I remembered that most of my followers are fellow wanna-be writers with varying degrees of success, presumably with some intellect, so I considered tossing the tweet, then decided, nah, it’s been a while so I’ll just add some appropriate hashtags! #Immaturity and #childishness. I concede, however, that I probably don’t use twitter effectively!

  5. I only tweet professionally; info on gigs, available releases, etc. I don’t get the personal side of Twitter. Truth is, I hate it. I don’t want to know what everyone thinks or does, and there’s no way I’ll release all that info on myself.

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