Twitter quitters just don't get it

For those who are still trying to figure out what, if anything, Twitter has to offer them, here are a few easy tips for getting more out of the service:

1. Follow people. A lot of people.Whether you're the last in your social group to sign up or the first, it helps to follow a whole lot of people. Don't just add the dozen or so of your friends who are tweeting; look up and add some of your favorite authors, newscasters, and others you trust to deliver information that has meaning for you. Don't be shy, and don't worry about offending them if you later decide to stop following them because they turn out to be too noisy, boring, or self-promotional for your tastes. Following or unfollowing someone is a one-click affair. But if you don't follow enough people to keep your stream filled with fresh tweets each day, you'll never get a real feel for how the conversation works.

2. Don't self-promote. (Or, at least, don't overdo it.)The recent surge in Twitter's popularity has everyone thinking that joining Twitter is a smart way to boost their business, raise their public profile, or otherwise improve their social and monetary standing. In most cases, that's bull. If all you tweet about is your latest blog post, book, or other commercial venture, you'll quickly turn off most of the people who follow you. So even if you did sign up just for the hope of pecuniary gains, make a point of at least occasionally tweeting about something that real people might care about. If your followers are intrigued by the latest news story you've linked to, they might think twice about dumping you over all those get-rich-quick posts you've been spamming them with.

3. Use a Client AppTwitter's Web site is terrible. Even if it weren't constantly over capacity, its interface is static and unhelpful. But a decent client app will put all of Twitter's coolest features at your fingertips, as well as helpful third-party features like URL-shortening and photo support. I've tried most of the leading clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and my personal favorite across all three platforms is TweetDeck.

Conclusion

It doesn't really matter to me whether Twitter is a viable business unto itself. If it collapses, there are plenty of other social networks out there. And even if its user-retention rate were upwards of 80 percent, I doubt it would have any impact on Twitter's ability or inability to turn a profit. So the effect of newbies abandoning their accounts is probably a net gain for the rest of us in terms of reduced congestion on the site and fewer annoying, clueless tweets.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not dissing those who check it out and then bail, even though it may sound that way. As near as I can tell, almost everybody goes through that check-it-out-then-bail phase when they first try it out. What I am saying is that if you're not getting it, and it's not resonating with you, we won't miss you if you log off until you get a clue.

Robert Strohmeyer is a senior editor at PC World, and he tweets as @rstrohmeyer. You can follow him if you want to, and he may follow you back.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags social networkingtwitter

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert Strohmeyer

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?