dirk strauss

Fire Starter: Dirk Strauss, Software Developer

By: Dirk Strauss, Software Developer

Coffee Drinker and Twitter Addict

I am always amused when I read the first tweet of people who gave up on Twitter after a few weeks. It always goes something like ‘Let’s see what this Twitter thing is’ or ‘Don’t really know what to say here’. You will see an odd tweet here or there and then the tweets seem to taper out and stop. Then of course you get those people who like to tweet the song they are currently listening to on their iPhone. That is all they tweet. Then, one day they stop using Twitter.

Dirk Strauss

I feel that this is another person that has missed an opportunity to be part of something really excellent. You see, for me Twitter isn’t about myself. People don’t really want to know what music I listen to (especially not if I tweet about every song I listen to). That is what Facebook is for. Twitter is something greater than just us.It is all of us. Let me explain… There is a saying that goes as follows; ‘None of us, is as strong as all of us’.

This is especially true of Twitter.

I have always seen Twitter as a wealth of information on tap. You can literally just throw out a question, and someone will answer you. I write software for a living, and sometimes I need to research a particular topic. I always turn to Twitter (among others) as a source of information. Twitter has also been very good to me. I have networked and made friends with people from all walks of life from all over the globe. There is no other platform that allows me to do this. Facebook is too local where Twitter allows me to follow and stay up to date with anyone, as long as they are using Twitter in a public capacity.

In the beginning, I did follow a bunch of celebrities. Okay, I’ll admit it, I did follow Kim Kardashian. There, I said it. But I felt that there was more to Twitter than just following someone’s Tweets. It wasn’t long before I realized that the juice is in the conversation. I soon started following people with similar interests as me. I have had excellent conversations with a group of people at once. I have shared some awesome ideas with people via DM. There are no limits really. Twitter allows human interaction with people you normally would never have met otherwise.

I also started trying to find my niche on Twitter. I mean seriously, people don’t really want to know what I am doing right now (unless I am Bill Gates or somebody). So I started using Twitter to share some information. Before then, I was just consuming information, but never gave back. These days, I like to tweet great content. Some of those Tweets come from blogs I follow and really enjoy reading. Some of that content is from my own blog. I feel that I am contributing by sharing good content. If you can find value in that, great!

Lastly, there are so many people out there that say that you must abide by certain rules on Twitter. I initially paid attention to those ‘rules’. These days I don’t bother. I make Twitter my own space. To give you an example, I once asked a group of folks if you should always thank people for retweets. The split between yes and no was 50/50. In fact, one of those that said Yes, has never ever thanked anyone for a retweet.

But like I have said, to my mind there are no rules. If you feel that you want to thank for retweets, go ahead. Another thing people say is that you should never automate tweets, because automating tweets will make you lose followers. Well tell that to Guy Kawasaki. In fact, why shouldn’t you automate tweets? If you really want to provide great content across all continents, by all means schedule.

I have also never followed everybody that follows me. I don’t just follow back, especially if I see that the new follower has thousands of followers. We all know that this is a tactic to take advantage of auto-follow back features to build a large follower base. I believe in building a quality following and in turn I follow people who are engaging and provide excellent content. Anyway, those accounts that mass-follow to build up their follower base generally tend to unfollow you after a few hours anyway.

Personally, I never tweet or engage in religious or political conversations on Twitter, especially if it is controversial in nature. I leave that up to the folks who know what they are talking about. At the end of the day there are no ‘experts’ on Twitter, no matter how many followers you have. Just make it your own space, get to know people, engage and have fun.