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 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)