Using Twitter Effectively #1: Your Bio Isn’t Everything

I’ve been on Twitter since 2007. I use it to connect with friends––people in my adopted hometown, people from home, and later, law students and bloggers from all over. I also use it to keep updated on current events and news. In 2008 I was ranked #2 on a list of Top 100 Law People to Follow on Twitter, which was a big deal to me even though none of my classmates knew what Twitter was.

I preface this post with all of that to say, I’ve been on Twitter for a while, and as a result, I’ve picked up some pet peeves. I’m going to channel those pet peeves into something constructive––mainly, a series on how to use Twitter effectively. And this is Part 1: Your Bio Isn’t Everything.

A number of people have been following me on Twitter recently who, by the looks of their page, aren’t actually using Twitter. Instead, they’re using the basic biographical information that gets sent along with notification e-mails to connect with people. So while I’ll get an e-mail telling me that is following me, and that email has the user’s name, what s/he does for a living, and a website link, they haven’t made any posts, and I won’t follow them.

This method might seem logical—after all, by following a ton of people, you’re getting your name out there, and that’s free advertising, right?—but it’s actually not. Here’s why:

1. It’s annoying. Doing this is basically spamming people’s inboxes, and people hate getting spammed.

2. Not everyone gets notification e-mails. If a user opts out of notification e-mails, they’ll never know you started following them, and they won’t see your user info.

3. Interaction is key on Twitter. Twitter is more active than a lot of other social media sites. It’s a place for conversation, and most of the people I follow and know in real life have said that they won’t follow people who don’t interact at all on Twitter. The most effective, most popular Twitter users interact with other users. Posting can lead to Re-Tweets, which leads to more exposure based on something substantive you have said. If you’re marketing a business, you should share more than just your name. Using Twitter actively will expose potential clients and customers to your ideas.

Your bio isn’t everything. It’s meant to be a brief primer on who you are, what interests you, and/or what you do for a living. It’s the foundation of your Twitter page, not the substance. So, please, stop spamming users with notification e-mails and actually post once in a while.

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