Want to Twitter? Here’s how to screw it up…

Note: This is part of a series of posts I’m starting of “Here’s how to screw it up.”  In the course of my daily life I see a lot of people trying different things, and do a lot of things to screw it up.  This isn’t meant as an attack on the people who do these things, but rather the actions themselves.  Please feel free to add or debate anything listed here, my hope is that by looking at the way things are done poorly, we can see how things can be done well.

If it has been apparent over the last few weeks, Twitter has become mainstream.  You hear it on the nightly newscasts, sporting events, awards shows and the list of celebrities on Twitter is just blowing up.  After using Twitter for over 2 years and over 3,300 Tweets later, I’ve seen a lot of people try to take up the Twitter ball and fumble miserably.

So if you’re looking to get started on Twitter, here are some things you could do to screw it up:

  • Following significantly (+20%) more people than the number that follows you: I understand when you’re starting out you obviously need to invest in following some people, but there’s nothing that screams “loser” quite like following 2x or 3x the followers you have.
  • Use Twitter solely as an outlet to pimp yourself. There’s something to be said about personal branding and Twitter being an opportunity to do so, but if the only thing you’re contributing to the Twitter is talking about what you’re doing, posting links to your blog, talking about your services, etc – then you’re missing the point.  Converse with other people, say clever things and offer insight. I don’t want to see a never-ending commercial about yourself.  It’s pretty easy to see right through it, and people will wise up and drop you.
  • Try to be an Expert at Twitter, and market that “skill”.  Let me save you the snake-oil money you’d spend on these “Experts” by offering you some free advice: Update consistently, be yourself, engage in conversations and try to add value.  Do you need an expert to teach you to use a cell phone?  Trust me, you’ll be fine on Twitter.  People will follow you if you’re interesting, not because you’re showing your LinkedIn URL in your Twitter background.
  • Use Terms like “Tweeple” or say “Tweet ya later” We get it, Twitter is a great new form of communication and way to get information, but it doesn’t constitute it’s own vocabulary.  “Tweet ya later” may be a bit subjective, but when did someone say “Cell ya later” on their phone?
  • Directly command or take advantage of your followers. The list of who can get away with this is very short: Shaq, Jason Calacanis.  Everyone else simply looks like a tool trying to wield an imaginary gauntlet.  It’s one thing to invite your followers to do something, or even ask a favor, but don’t order me around.
  • Constantly send @ replies to celebrity Twitterers.  I understand, we all want to get that magical response from a celebrity Twitterer that we can print out and frame, but you’re not going to do that by pretending to be every celebrity’s best friend and sending them 25 replies.
  • Misuse Twitter lingo. Not to contradict point #3, but there are a few terms that Twitter has coined: It’s called “TWEET-UP” not “TWITup”.
  • Repeat Tweet over the course of a few hours.  We heard it the first time, it just wasn’t that compelling.  It’s one thing to keep bringing up the same topic by adding something new – for example, when I talk about Greenfoot’s shows, I say that we’re sound-checking, watching the first band, etc.  I keep mentioning the show, but find ways to add value.
    I’m sure there’s plenty more, feel free to offer your “how to screw it up suggestions” in the comments.

Hopefully the last Cutler post ever

The picture of Cutler showing his Bear excitement was too classic to wait for a post, but I have plenty of thoughts over what transpired last weekend in Denver. Rather than rehash the whole scenario, I just wanted to offer a few random thoughts.

cutler2

First off, Cutler had to go.  He could talk about feeling snubbed by McDaniels all he wants – but when he stops taking call from the guy who signs his checks, Cutler becomes just another disgruntled employee who should be shown the door.  The nerve that he had to claim that he never received any calls, and never wanted to be traded said all that you needed to know about his character.  Despite what really happened – and we may never know – this situation was beyond repair.

Now the Bears, that was definitely a team I didn’t expect to be vying for Cutler, but it all made sense. I think this was a good move by both teams.  People can debate who got the better of the deal, but only time will tell.  It’s up to the Broncos to make smart decisions with these picks, which they’ve honestly could have done better with our First Round track record.  I still think Mark Sanchez may end up in Orange and Blue before we know it.

I like Kyle Orton.  He’s obviously not as talented at Cutler, but is a winning quarterback who did throw for 3,000 yards last year.  When you considered the other quarterbacks on the trading block (Jason Campbell, Brady Quinn), Orton is was probably the most consistent of all.

While the dust settles, it’s still frustrating to think that Bronco fans have endured all of this drama.  After being known as one of the more stable and quiet organizations in the NFL, to have this kind of circus is very Dallas-like.  I’m sick of hearing about Cutlergate every time I turned on ESPN.