In which Heidi Turner reflects on things she wished she had known about Twitter when she first started to use it…
Yes it’s time for myself to show an interview conducted by my favourite interviewer (me), where I interview one of my favourite people (me). If people are confused by this concept, I have done this before so just bear with me.
Whilst scouring bookshops to pass time, I’ve noticed that one type of guide that seems increasingly common is ‘how to use Twitter’, or of a similar nature. Now, these guides look both massive and pricey and there are plenty of websites offering tips for free, not that I’ve bothered to use them. The point is, I have been a Twitter user for over 4 years and in that time my appreciation and feelings towards the Twitter world have changed. It got me thinking, if I had to advise my 16 year old self about Twitter, and offer my old self some tips, what would I say? Well, let’s find out (interview style)…
*Some of it is based on past experience and personal life thoughts. You’ll know which bits
So, you have just set up your Twitter account 16 year old me, how are you finding it?
Rubbish. I haven’t got a clue what I am doing, and I don’t have any followers. I can’t just tweet to myself can I?
You’ll soon pick it up, it honestly is very simple. And of course you can. Twitter is about talking to yourself. Do it for long enough, say interesting things, use the right hashtags and eventually someone will talk back to you and you won’t be a loner.
That seems stupid. And use the right hash what?
Hashtags. Use the symbol ‘#’ and put a word after it (without a space). Then you can click on it and see what other people are saying with the same ‘#’ and then you can be friends. Or at least see what people are talking about. I’ll give you a hint. The most important # you personally will ever need on your Twitter journey is #WBA.
What good will that do?
It will lead to lots of Albion fans. It will open the door to those who share the same love as you do. People of a range of ages all connected by the Baggies. You will follow some of these people. Some of them will follow you back. You will progress through your Twitter journey together over the next few years. From those fans you will find other fans, fans of football teams from around the country. Even fans who live in other countries.
That sounds great. I can talk about football to people a lot? Suits me. I don’t want to have to talk to Villa fans though really.
Don’t be stupid. Believe it or not, Villa fans are people too. You will strike good conversations with some of them. Besides it is not all about football on Twitter you know. People will talk to you about the normal things that people talk about. Like when you go to university, your Twitter family (that is honestly a legitimate term) will help you hugely. When you feel a bit lonely in your first year away from home, Twitter people will be there to talk to you. When you are stuck, people on Twitter will be of help, especially those in the same boat or that have gone through the same things. That is why it is important you talk and follow many people. Talking of followers, who are the first people you are following?
Vernon Kay, Tim Lovejoy and Ben Shephard
… oh dear. Actually Ben Shephard is a decent choice- he will even tweet you back sometimes and those tweets will make you happy. Vernon Kay is a decent choice. But you’ll unfollow Lovejoy as time goes on. Thing is, whilst the high profile people are cool to follow at first, it is the non-famous members of society that will make Twitter a better place for you. Those who will reply, those you can get to know and those with more in common than you.
I’ll keep that in mind then. Will I ever meet these followers that I may amass?
Some of them yes. Mainly at the Albion, except your lack of ability to recognise people based on their Twitter Avatar will make things awkward as you will either not realise who they are, only remember their Twitter name, or be completely ignorant as you have no idea who they are despite them recognising you. Some however, will become good friends.
Wow. Okay, I’m feeling far more positive about this whole thing now. Is it good for anything else?
Lots. Twitter is probably the best website to be on in times of national events or when watching nationally popular television shows. Some of the sarcasm and humour that comes across in tweets will entertain you immensely. If you can, join in with such tweets, but don’t overdo it. Also, it is a great source of news. When the future heir to the throne is born to Kate and Wills you will find out via Twitter. When Bin Laden is captured (this does happen in your future) you will find out via Phil Neville on Twitter.
PHIL NEVILLE HAS TWITTER?!
Yes, he joins a few years after you. You need to be patient, but the day he sets it up you will be very happy. Gary Neville also has it. As does John Bishop, and lots of other people you like but I will keep the rest a surprise.
I’ll be honest, I am really looking forward to using it now, any final twitter advice for me?
Yes. 1) Do not be afraid to have an opinion. People do not agree all of the time. But make sure any argument you post is rational and can be supported. Basically all the debate stuff you are taught in history will help you.
2)Use the unfollow button if need be. You will not get on with everyone, nor will everyone get on with you. It is your Twitter journey, why clog it with people you don’t want to read tweets from?
3)A Retweet (when people ‘re- tweet’ what you have posted by pressing a snazzy little button to share it with their followers) will make you feel good about yourself. But do not live your life depending on getting such recognition. This is not Facebook after all.
4)It is not a competition. Sure, gaining followers will boost your ego and confidence a bit, but you will soon realise it is about the people that follow you that make Twitter fun, not the number.
Awesome. I think I’m going to enjoy this Twitter thing to be honest. One point though, I still don’t like the hashtag thing
You won’t say that when you take a role in the #BackTheBerg phenomenon.
Back the Who? Dare I ask?
Probably best not to. Time will tell.
Talking to myself: Twitter tips
Reproduced with kind permission from Heidi Turner. from her blog “Black Country Girl” – http://girlfromtheblackcountry.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/talking-to-myself-twitter-tips/