Why I stopped whining & learned to love Twitter


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)

**The adorable Twitter icons are from Mirkku and were found in Smashing Magazine.

2 Comments

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  1. Lindsey Smith

    I also eased my way into twitter and am now a huge supporter. Some of my twitter-accomplishments:

    I was interviewed for a podcast, a local newspaper feature and an internet radio show; all three found me via twitter

    I feel more connected to my profession via twitter than through any other source

    It greatly helps me promote my blog and I even solicited my two, weekly contributing writers via twitter

    I have an open forum for posing professional questions – and I get great responses!

    And most recently, a friend was in a museum in Tennessee. When the employee found out he was from Iowa, he asked “do you know Lindsey from Exhibitsmith?”

    That last one is totally awesome.

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