If I had a dollar for every person who says “Twitter is stupid,” I’d be as rich as Bernie Madoff. The dismissive “Twitter is stupid” comment has become de riguer for people who do not Twitter to utter, just as in the last century many pointy heads claimed not to own television sets.
The truth is, saying “Twitter is stupid” is like saying the sun is harmful. You wouldn’t want to lie out in your bathing suit under the broiling sun in Miami Beach for three hours without applying sunscreen unless your goal was to resemble a lobster or that unfortunate honeymooning bride in The Heartbreak Kid.
In a similar vein, if you Tweet about the fact you ate a tuna sandwich for lunch; shamelessly plug your multi-level marketing scam, I mean scheme; or fill your friends’ Twitter home pages with #followfridays, well… that is probably a stupid use of Twitter.
Just as the sun provides Vitamin D and warms the soul, Twitter can enrich your life by helping you build relationships, take a mental coffee break and sometimes even gain knowledge or inspiration.
The key is to avoid being stupid on Twitter, a personality defect that is easily remedied by following my five easy rules for “How Not to Be Stupid on Twitter.”
How Not to Be Stupid on Twitter Rule #1:
Do not Tweet what you ate for lunch unless you discovered a new edible sensation at the local bistro or invented an amazing new sandwich. Once you turn 18, even your mother does not care what you had for lunch.
How Not to Be Stupid on Twitter Rule #2:
Do not approach Twitter as if you’re Coca-Cola. It’s okay to promote your business or website, provided you’re subtle about it. Acceptable: Hey… just finished my new CD series on using EFT to get over your fear of Twitter. Not acceptable: Purchase my awesome new CD package $99.00 today only. ($599 value, save $500!!) Bottom line: you don’t want to come off like an Amway person at a cocktail party.
How Not to Be Stupid on Twitter Rule #3:
Be selective about whom you follow. Just as “choosy mothers choose Jiff,” discerning Twitter users follow only those people whose Tweets are clever, humorous or informative. Your follows could include friends, relatives, people who share your interests, and members of your professional network. My personal formula is that a follows’ ratio of interesting Tweets should be at least 2:1.
How Not to Be Stupid on Twitter Rule #4:
Do not reply to celebrity Tweets. You will only encourage these people.
How Not to Be Stupid on Twitter Rule #5:
Do not have a back-and-forth conversation with one of your follows. Private conversations are easily handled by direct messaging, email, cell phones or even in-person conversations (remember those??). Please limit @replies to no more than one per conversation… then take it outside.
In summary, it is easy to avoid being stupid on Twitter. While there may be more than five rules, my Tweetdeck is chirping and I could have a new follower. Hey, only 999,913 more, and I’ll be as popular as Ashton Kutcher.