This was a good day.

I can’t think of many people in the entire history of Rock and Roll who had the kind of stage presence Freddie Mercury had, and the Wembley ’86 concert is a touchstone moment for me. I watch videos from it often, and the crowd amazes me. Here’s the finale. I wish I’d been able to see Queen live.

So, I posted three times today because this blog needed some words. The content was out-of-balance, and the three posts were sort of like giving a swimming pool a shock treatment. I’m gratified by the response. It seems that Twitter is confusing to more people than me. I’ll keep sharing what I know about it. No blogging about Twitter tomorrow, though. Tomorrow is a big day.

We celebrate our 6-month blogiversary on the morrow, and since this is a mostly-everyday blog produced by people with day jobs and personal creative projects, I consider posting every day for six months to be a real accomplishment. Celebratory posts both here and at The Writing Catalog are in order.

Thank you, sincerely, for reading, voting, commenting, tweeting with me. For liking and favoriting our posts wherever you find them in the wilds of social media. Thank you, most of all, for your kindness, friendship, and encouragement. I feel like a member of the WordPress family, and I hope our little band of miscreants is here to stay.

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Twitter for Bloggers III: What Do I Want?

One more thing for today. Before you embark on an effort to gain a large Twitter following, ask yourself three more questions:

  1. Why do I want a large twitter following?
  2. What sort of following would I like it to be?
  3. Who do I know that I can tweet with?

It takes time and attention to build and maintain a large account. To each their own, but bragging rights aren’t a good enough reason to justify the effort to me.

The click-through rate on Tweeted links is so low, it’s not going to affect your traffic very much for a long time. If you think you can build a following of two or three thousand and make a big difference in your daily blog visitors, think again. I suppose it’s possible, but it isn’t likely.

I tweet because I enjoy it, and because I find it useful for a few very specific things.

My answer to the first question is that it helps me find bloggers, writers, people who work in visual media, and activists who are looking for folks with similar interests to engage with. Twitter-icon-the-bird

That makes my answer to the second question self-evident. I want my following to include a lot of people who share those interests, but I don’t limit it to those interests.

I’ll follow just about anyone back, provided their accounts meet a few very reasonable standards, which I’ll discuss in a future post.

My answer to the third question at this point is that I know dozens, if not hundreds of people to tweet with. It wasn’t that way in the beginning, though.

I transitioned from just publicizing links and tweeting an occasional joke to growing a following of exactly the sort I’m looking for by tweeting with two other people who are invested in my success as a blogger.

In December, during the Christmas break, I started tweeting status updates about the blogs to @parttimemonster and @quaintjeremy every night after I finished the next day’s posts. I shared links to other blogs with them occasionally and used #blogs, #writers, #artists, #creatives, and #wordpress. I tweeted with Jeremy to #comics and with Diana to #equality.

I retweeted a few other bloggers. I started following the twitter accounts of blogs I was following on wordpress. I also learned to hashtag judiciously just for effect. After about a month of that, bloggers started noticing us and my follows picked up a tiny bit.

Mid-January, @halfeatenmind added me to my first list of bloggers. I followed the whole list. About half followed me back over the next week or two, and my account hasn’t really stopped growing since.

IMPORTANT: If you’re new to Twitter, or just have a small account, don’t go following hundreds of people from lists just yet. Wait for the next couple of installments before you do that. If you don’t understand Twitter’s spam policies at least a little, you can get your account suspended that way.

Note – This series will get more advanced, but I had to start at the very beginning. Most of it is drafted, and I’m not going to string it out for a month. I’m posting them as close together as possible because I think they’ll be more useful that way, but obviously not going to post three a day again. And tomorrow is a special day, so think about all this stuff and look for another installment sometime in the next week. In the meantime, Part Time Monster has several Pinterest boards that you might find useful.

image: I am pretty sure that little bird is property of @Twitter, but I snagged it from Molly-Greene.com.

Twitter for Bloggers II: What’s it all About?

Twitter-icon-the-birdLet’s start from the beginning. You have a Twitter account. It’s connected to your blog.

You’re publicizing links, you’ve followed several hundred people, and you’re tweeting when the notion takes you. You aren’t getting the number of follows you’d like.

What’s the problem?

Ask yourself these questions:

Am I tweeting with other people? (That means tagging them in tweets, responding if they answer, retweeting and favoriting tweets you like.)

Am I using good hashtags – hashtags that people who share my interests are looking at? For me, this means #writers, #writing, #blogs, #wordpress, #artists, #photography, and related hashtags like #AmWriting, #WordlessWednesday and occasionally, #wine.

Am I tweeting regularly? This doesn’t necessarily mean every day. It does mean a few tweets of your own once a week at the very least, with retweets, responses, and favorites thrown in while you’re tweeting.

Am I looking at my notifications and following folks back when they follow me? People who are trying to grow their accounts will unfollow inactive accounts, and unfollow if they don’t get a followback within a week to 10 days, for reasons I’ll explain later in the series.

Those are the basics. If you want a larger Twitter following, and you can’t answer “yes” to all those questions, read “How to Twitter” by @mollygreene. It’s good for everyone who wants to improve their Twitter skills. If you answered “no” to any of those questions, it is critical. Because you need the information in that article to understand the rest of this series. I would have started this series with a similar post, had I not discovered Molly’s when I did.

image: I am pretty sure that little bird is property of @Twitter, but I snagged it from Molly-Greene.com.

Twitter for Bloggers: The #Intro

Twitter-icon-the-bird

Look at this curve. Just look at it. It represents the follower growth of @Sourcererblog since roughly the first of January. It’s not a phenomenal curve, but it’s notable for two reasons. The first is that Nov. to Jan. was just a flat line. I cropped that out to make the image sizing work. The second is, there are no real dips. There are a couple of sorta-dips in February. Otherwise, it’s all in one direction: up.

srstwttr

I am writing this series because I think almost anyone can do this, and most of us can do better than I’ve done. I’m starting from the very beginning and covering the basics first. Those of you who are already good at Twitter might be a little bored with the first few posts, but we need to bring everyone along who wants to come with us. That’s the whole secret to what I’m doing here, really — learn from people who are further along, share the knowledge with people who want to come with.

So. The curve. That first nearly-vertical uptick at the bottom of the slope is where I went from 60 to 80 followers on Jan 15-16. That upward trend at the very top is @Sourcererblog going from 1260 to 1310 followers last weekend. The stuff in the middle is the product of rational thought, help from others, and opportunism. I can explain every tic on this curve, but who wants to read that? It cannot speak for itself, so I will speak for it.

If you like this curve. If you want to look at your own Twitter analytics and see a curve like this one day, stick with me for the next few posts. I’ll try and explain what I’ve been doing on Twitter in the last three-and a-half months that’s gained me 1250 followers.

More to come. Today.

image: I am pretty sure that little bird is property of @Twitter, but I snagged it from Molly-Greene.com.