12 lessons from 12 years of Twitter

This weekend marks my 12th year of being on Twitter and it is a time to reflect and see what I have learnt from it and is it still a place I want to be. Back in 2009 social media was in its infancy and so was negative commentary, trolling and the dark side of these new channels. Despite all these issues and problems with social media I still find myself scrolling through, liking, posting and sharing.

There is continued chatter about whether Twitter is still relevant, whether people are using it and if it will last. These are discussions that have been taking place for many years and yet it is still here. And more than a decade on I am still drawn to posting and sharing updates through it. So here are 12 things I have learnt from the 12 years tweeting.

  1. It is a great way to signpost people to important updates and content. This can include links to blogs, website updates or other forms of content.
  2. In the most serious situations or crisis Twitter can help you get a message out that can be widely shared and in a few words. When you are looking to broadcast something with speed it is ideal.
  3. You can connect and get to know people through Twitter which will help with in person meetings when we are able to get back to them.
  4. Don’t get obsessed with it. There is no requirement to be on social media 24/7 and fear of missing out needs to be avoided.
  5. People are sometimes not what they seem on social media. Check, read and check again. Only retweet when you are happy with what you are sharing.
  6. Be aware that if you surround yourself with similar views and opinions it can act as an echo chamber, and is only one version of reality.
  7. Try to step outside of your usual network. Look at hashtags and trending subjects to see what people are talking about.
  8. Don’t post in anger, frustration or too quickly. I stay off social media when I am in a negative mindset as it will always end badly.
  9. Be true to yourself and post with honesty. This can be a challenge when you are representing yourself, your business or your organisation. But don’t try to create a persona that is not you as it will be found out.
  10. Know why you are using Twitter or any social media. Is it for work, for friends, for fun? Knowing this will help you focus on how and when you post, and what you share.
  11. Never chase the figures. Amassing followers means nothing. I have said this many times to many organisations. It is about the quality of the conversations not the numbers as these can be fake, bought or be irrelevant.
  12. Enjoy using it and if you don’t then switch it off.

I am not sure whether I will still be using social media in another 12 years but for the moment I am just enjoying the good things it brings.

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