I’ll admit it, when I first joined Twitter I was completely against it. No really, I had just started TheGameAisle.com and the last thing I needed was another way to waste time on an unpaid hobby. But I realized that my readers weren’t always going to be checking to see if I had posted something new on my site; I needed another way (other than an RSS feed) to get the word out on new articles. Of course, I was also hoping to get a couple new readers too.
So I did what everyone who has a new blog does: I created a new Twitter account and then I installed a plugin and had my WordPress site automatically send a tweet when I published a new article. Sounded like a grand idea to me – I didn’t have to do any extra work and I was still tweeting. Now I’ve realized that if all you’re doing is sending automatic tweets you’re missing the point of Twitter and your feed kind of stinks. I may still follow you if you have interesting articles, but if you don’t I’m unfollowing you so I don’t have to see your lifeless auto-tweets in my feed.
Twitter is a conversation. Sure it’s also like a conversation in a crowded bar with a zillion of your friends, acquaintances, brand spokespeople and loads of random people from around the world – BUT you can talk to anyone! That’s right you can attempt to start a conversation with anyone who has a Twitter account – whether they answer you is a different story, but I find that there are lots of people out there that are more than happy to have a conversation – especially toy and game people.
I love the toy/game community on Twitter. Everyone is friendly and often volunteering to help play test new games, offering design advice and helping out other gamers in need. It’s really a pretty chatty community. It’s a great way to get the word out on new articles, events and games you love – but it’s also a great place to vent frustration on confusing instructions, cheap parts, overpriced products and just about anything else.
A few things happened over time to change my views on Twitter. It started when my auto-tweet plugin broke and instead of fighting with it, I disabled it and decided I’d post it to Twitter on my own. Then I got HootSuite, which allowed me to plan tweets in advance so I could write stuff in the morning and it would tweet later on in the day. Suddenly, I started seeing more responses. Now, as many of my loyal readers know (love you guys!) my only co-worker is a dog that is probably part koala because he sleeps 20 hours a day and therefore isn’t much for conversation – but there are many people on Twitter who are. It was like I suddenly had co-workers again! Then I realized you could ask them for advice. As an example, the other day I had an issue with my website’s SPAM filter and I was so irritated/frustrated/annoyed with legit comments ending up in SPAM that I vented on Twitter. Lo and behold, @TheToySpy came to my rescue and suggested a new service/plug-in. Cool! Later I had some issues with it’s installation and ended up emailing tech support. Hours passed and no answer came via email, so I went back to Twitter and posed my question there. Within minutes I had a tech person from the company answering my questions via Twitter. It was AMAZING – almost like being able to holler to an entire office full of people to see if anyone could give you some help. And that is when I realized that I do in fact love Twitter.
Some other great twitter moments:
@hakubak (Corey Young) – Made it his mission to get me a 1,000th follower
@RichardBliss (aka The Game Whisperer) – Donated $100 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society so I could reach my Light the Night goal
@Board_Games (Mary Couzin) – Nominated me for the 2011 Wonder Women In Toys Award for Social Media (which I won!)
A Fast Company writer contacted me via twitter for an article in their upcoming December/January issue.
The thing to take away from this article is that the key to Twitter is to remember it’s a conversation, not a shouting platform. Spend the time to interact with your followers, be yourself, and have some fun. You too may learn to love Twitter. (And be sure to follow me: @TheGameAisle)