Written by Dan Regan, vice president of Operations and Special Projects, Jasculca/Terman and Associates, Chicago, IL
My wife and I are addicted to “Clean House” on the Style Network. Every time I watch, I’m amazed at the amount of clutter people accumulate in their home and find myself asking, “How can anyone live like that?” And then I look in my own basement…
Inspired, we’ve been on a mission to eliminate clutter from our daily lives. Old VHS tapes collecting dust, even though we haven’t had a working VCR in the house in years? Gone. Textbooks from old college anthropology classes? History. Jeans with a style and waistline from 10 years and 10 inches ago? Later.
Which brings me to Twitter. Like so many other communications professionals, I spend a great deal of time trying to understand, and help my clients understand, the ins and outs of social media opportunities — how, when and why to use them. What’s useful? What’s not? And of all the social media avenues out there, Twitter is the one I get asked about most often.
See, Twitter is like having the UPS guy drop off a package at your home or office every two minutes. Those boxes just keep stacking up and what’s in them eventually doesn’t matter anymore. And there’s probably some really cool stuff in there, but you just cannot get to it because you’re buried.
So, my campaign against clutter extends to my online existence and starts with Twitter. Here’s my three very simple rules for getting the most out of it while also keeping your Twitter-litter to a minimum:
What’s in it for you? – First off, you need to decide what you want from Twitter. It’s a platform that can be loaded with interesting and useful stuff, but you need to be discerning about what you’re after. Are you using it as a way to communicate amongst a group of friends or colleagues? Are you tracking information on a specific industry segment? Or are you just into white water rafting on the stream of consciousness? There’s something for everyone, but it takes a little thought if you’re going to get something out of it. For example, I find Twitter has become my number one source when it comes to breaking information, be it general news, business or sports.
Use it or lose it – Check out stuff that’s coming in on your feed. Share the good stuff. For your own content, don’t tweet for the sake of tweeting, but get new content out there on a regular basis, when you’ve got something interesting to offer. If you’re doing a blog or some other online publishing, utilize your Twitter page as another distribution channel. Twitter is an interactive platform. It’s called “social” media. If it’s not your thing, then eliminate it.
Quality not Quantity – This seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people evaluate their Twitter experience based on the number of followers and followees. They get caught up in a simple numbers game and that’s a mistake. It’s not about collecting as many friends as you can to build your Internet self esteem, like Facebook (which is a topic for another day). Approached like that, Twitter can be maddening and overwhelming. Don’t just follow 500 people in the hopes they’ll follow you back. Follow the folks who offer content you find interesting and useful. And don’t be afraid to lose those who don’t. Purging is a good thing. Ask yourself when was the last time you read, opened a link or re-Tweeted a post from this person. Chances are if it’s more than a week, it’s time to hit that “unfollow” button.
Dan Regan is Vice President of Operations and Special Projects at Jasculca/Terman and Associates (JT), a full-service public affairs and strategic communications firm in Chicago. An 18-year veteran, he oversees daily operations and human resources issues while also providing strategic communications support for a variety of clients and projects. You can follow him on Twitter @dregan.
From → Social Media