Approaching Twitter Like a Blog

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Twitter has been described as a microblogging service for a LONG time, but that aspect really set in with me this week.

For a while, I’ve considered it good therapy. I get to express and share what I want, when I want — from photos, links, quotes and thoughts. And I have to admit I enjoy that.

I like getting responses to posting photos of our dogs, or asking for software or plugin recommendations and getting 10 responses in 10 minutes.

When I first signed up for Twitter, I let my account sit for almost 8 months before I actively used it. Then after getting linked on some WordPress developer lists, and finding I had a large number of people following me, I realized I needed to start engaging those people with it.

(Anyone that signs up to get any kind of notifications — whether email, feed or Twitter — of what you do or talk about is EXTREMELY valuable.)

So after a couple of months of tweeting actively, I started to actually like it. A lot.

I switched from taking a strictly business and reserved approach, to sharing anything I wanted. It was something with my blogs that I wanted to do — in fact, I’ve always reserved this blog for doing whatever I want, when I want. For other blogs, I tried to stay focused on a topic.

So this week, I started thinking about my Twitter account like a blog. These people have asked to get notifications from me and I want to be responsible with that trust.

So I asked myself, why do my Twitter followers follow me, and get updates from me?

If Twitter is a blog, what’s my blog topic? How can I engage them more? How can I be more relevant to them?

I can segment three groups on Twitter for me personally ….

  • Greater WordPress community — these people know I lead a WordPress theme company and I’m attached to topics in the bigger WP community since I’ve been involved with it for over 4 years now; I think these initial people followed me after I was linked in big Twitter WordPress developer lists
  • Our customer community — I’ve met a number of our customers who follow our entire team on Twitter; they like to know when we trash talk each other, or what things we’re working on, or even where are. These are THE most important followers on Twitter for me. I love to engage our customers through Twitter. The beauty of this was illustrated when we were at a WordCamp and two ladies came up to us and introduced themselves and said they’ve been following us on Twitter. I love that! Those are real connections built through social media.
  • Personal friends — these are people I typically see (in persona) throughout the week. Our banter is usually irrelevant to the other groups, but I also think engaging my friends on Twitter, and when the other groups see that, it makes me a real person — something I’ve tried to demonstrate in our recent videos. I laugh because a number of these people follow my tweets about business or WordPress and say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I like to read them.” What’s interesting is that the majority of people I know use Twitter for personal use only. They have about 100 followers, sometimes protect their updates, and just use it to stay in touch with their buddies when they’re at the mall, or whatever. If I’m beingĀ  honest, I’m jealous of this. I’ve almost thought about starting a new Twitter account just to talk about anything I want without regard to who might un-follow me.

So those are the types of things I’ve been thinking about … but thinking of it like a blog, with an audience and subscribers who have real topics and interest in mind, is helping me frame the next stage of how I use Twitter.

What about you?

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