How to be awesome in 140 characters or less.
Though I’ve used Twitter for nearly four years now, I’m not a heavy tweeter. I prefer to be an observer, much to my friends’ annoyance (“Why didn’t you reply to my tweet? It was soooo funny.”) Though I understand the merits of tweeting (which have never been more apparent than they are right here, right now), I kind of get a buzz from reading a couple of hours’ worth of tweets from the eclectic people I follow. Can you imagine the rollercoaster ride of emotions I go through when I find out that H&M has a sale on, some guy I met twice is performing at Bikya, Rihanna has a new tattoo, Mubarak is dead, alive or dying, Lana Del Rey – Video Games is #nowplaying on my friend’s iPod and Romania’s former prime minister underwent surgery on Thursday following an apparent suicide attempt, all at a flick of a thumb?
My Twitter voyeurism got me thinking recently about what it takes to make it in the Twittersphere. We all know a couple of people with jealousy-inducing numbers of followers (my one-sided relationship with the social network leaves a lot to be desired in my follower figures) and sometimes it’s hard to figure out why. So I did a little more browsing and I think I’ve come up the perfect formula to help me become a responsible and active (popular) member of the Twitter world, starting with writing a list of basic tips I think we can all benefit from:
1. Whenever you go on a trip, tweet ‘En Route to Gouna/St.Tropez/London/the bank!’ When you get there, tweet ‘I’m in [insert location], bitch!’
2. Make up a hashtag every once in a while. #OneDayI’llTrend!
3. Have private jokes with your ‘real friends’, making ‘Twitter friends’ curious and jealous.
4. When upset, make thinly-veiled references about the situation or person making you feel this way. Alternatively, tweet lyrics by an obscure band or a quote by a cult novelist.
5. Follow and retweet obscure bands and cult novelists.
6. Transcribe the occasional funny conversation in a tweet. This can be tricky given the character limit, but totally works when done right.
7. Get behind a cause or two. Remember #ComeToEgypt? You totally got retweeted a couple of times that day!
8. If you have a really profound thought, come up with an artsy quip or think of a really clever pun, tweet it. If you don’t get any kind of response in half an hour, delete it and tweet something vague and general instead.
9. Have a Twitter tantrum or two about the poor service you received somewhere/the traffic/something political. Twitter praise should only be reserved for really expensive restaurants/someone famous you kind of know through a friend of a friend/hip, up-and-coming brands.
10. Do that +1 thing. I don’t really know what it adds to your regular retweet, but people seem to like it.
So there you have it; Twitter for dummies, like me. With these 10 easy steps, I was ready to turn a new leaf in my relationship with the little blue bird. And then something happened. You know #TheAwkwardMomentWhen you’ve spent hours working on something really important and you’re just finishing up before you realise that you’ve made a huge mistake and have to start all over again? Well, this was just like that, except I only spent a few minutes making that list and the likelihood of me getting fired for getting something wrong is slim. Anyway, just as I was getting started with my resolutions, a friend of mine tweeted sarcastically at someone who had launched a Twitter tirade about something or the other (see point 9, above). At a first glance, things were good – the fact that she’d found this person, who neither of us know, based on the sheer fury of his 19 tweet-long rampage meant I had hit the nail on the head with my list. Then, he called her a cunt. He called her a cunt, then a fascist bitch, and then publically announced he was blocking her. He has nearly 4000 followers. Back to the drawing board.