I recently read a great book, just one of those ones where you’re waiting in the train station, bored, want something to read so buy a cheap book scenario. I really enjoyed it and so mentioned it on Twitter. To my surprise the Author tweeted back and thanked me for saying nice things about her book! I thought it was such a nice personal touch and exactly what Twitter should be used for.
A friend of mine has recently decided to take a break from Twitter because, as his personal blog explains, it has caused him a bit of grief in the past, and although one of his experiences directly affected me too (although unlike him it’s inappropriate for me to talk about it) I will not be taking a Twitter break any time soon.
When I recently spoke at Ignite Bristol (blatant plug!) I got one of my Twitter rants off my chest. Twitter (for all its goodness and badness) is a conversation. Sometimes you say things you wish you hadn’t said, sometimes you read things that you wish you hadn’t seen, but at the end of the day the most important rules are to be polite, if someone talks to you, talk back, don’t just push information out and not respond to your followers (that’s what RSS feeds are for) and most importantly think about what you say because once something is out in the public domain – you can’t take it back.
I don’t follow everyone that follows me, but I generally follow people who talk to me but if I’m no longer interested in what you’re saying I will unfollow you, it’s nothing personal!
I have another friend who has recently joined Twitter and only after much badgering gave me her username under the explicit instructions NOT to tell anyone who she was or to hint anything in my tweets about where she lives or anything about her, purely because she likes the anonymity of being able to say what she likes without work or personal friends judging or reading something and taking it the wrong way – this is something I wholeheartedly understand!
Whereas I generally use Twitter for more professional reasons keeping FaceBook for my personal life, I have recently found that I have made some great new friends and I think, for all the bad stuff that’s happened (and trust me, some of my lowest points from the last year or two can be attributed to Twitter!!!) as with life, shit happens, and if you can make the most of the benefits and take reasonable precautions to avoid the crap, there’s no reason why Social Media can’t be your friend!