342 – Five Tips For A Relational Approach To Twitter & A Conversation With Scott Stratten

by Cliff Ravenscraft on January 23, 2014

twitterFive Tips For A Relational Approach To Twitter
In several recent episodes of Podcast Answer Man, Erik Fisher and I have discussed our desire to get back to using Twitter the way that we did in the old days.

The main problem, however, has been that it is increasingly difficult to use twitter in this way due to the trend where the average user has made it a practice where a majority of their tweets are automated, scheduled, and/or contain mostly links to their own and other people’s content. It seemed that gone were the days where folks would actually use Twitter to share what is “going on” in their world, giving you more of a behind the scenes look into their lives.

In this episode, Erik and I had Scott Stratten join us for a 30 minute conversation about the use of Twitter as a channel for real-time conversation. Following our conversation with Scott, we shared five tips for taking a more relational approach to interacting with folks on Twitter.

1) Decide Who You Follow Carefully.
2) Start out by Making Deposits / Investing in Others.
3) Use TweetBot to MUTE undesirable content.
4) Use Twitter Lists to your advantage.
5) Don’t Interrupt people all day with your Tweets.

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  • OK GSPN ErikJFisher thoughts & questions for you.  I have made conscious effort not to tweet as much getglue stuff.  I still tweet Instagram stuff because I want to share.  When I do tweet from an app it means I really want you to join the conversation!  I’m trying to have more focused interactions with folks and live tweeting during TV shows with other fans.  I do however us buffer on Fridays to share music with folks.  I also will use buffer to send out things I’m thinking and some products/causes/things I wholly support and want others to see.  The main reason I use buffer is that, I’m sharing about personal things and I’m doing it during WORKING hours.  I ‘m trying not to steal time from my bosses.  

    Also I view twitter as a totally different social media than Facebook.  I feel people on FB (for the most part) know who I am, know what I support and are close to me.  Twitter my friends are more widespread and may never be friends on FB.  So I feel like I have a more diverse audience on Twitter and the things I share have a MUCH greater opportunity for folks to view & share those things I feel strong about.

    TweetBot is a good app but they do not have a native iPad app (my iPad is my primary computer).  I don’t like the fact that it does not scroll to the most recent tweet, it will not work in landscape mode and a few other things.  I like the mute features though. (muted Downton Abbey tweets from the UK and Sherlock ones as well so I would not be spoiled.)

    I understand that people can make list and view folks in those groups and catch up on things.  But does the mute override the lists?  Say you have me on a list and you check me out now and then.  But you have got buffered tweets muted.  So does that mean you never see my buffered tweets?  Or can you make an exception to mutes for and individual basis.

    So how can we engage each other on personal tweets and not have our tweets through buffer/other apps muted.

  • xforce11 GSPN ErikJFisher  Tweetbot does have a native app, just not the updated new one coming soon that is redesigned for iOS7 like the new Tweetbot: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tweetbot-for-twitter-ipad/id498801050?mt=8

    I’m not sure if muted tweets are also gone from lists. I assume so. That’s not to say that we don’t look at Twitter.com. I do.

  • xforce11 ErikJFisher I can confirm that if I mute a service in Tweetbot, it will also mute any tweets from that service from showing up in my Twitter Lists.

    For example, if I go to your Twitter profile (inside Tweetbot) and click on your timeline, I see that 19 hours ago, you Tweeted “DVRing #ChicagoPD #GetGlue…”  However, if I got to my list called  “Friends In Christ,” I see all your tweets for the past several days but nothing from GetGlue.

    So this means that I’ll never see your Buffered posts or your GetGlue Updates, or any other updates from services that I have muted when I am checking Twitter from Tweetbot on my iPhone, iPad, or the Desktop App.

    I will, however, see them when I occasionally browser twitter via the web (Less and less frequent these days).

    I do not mute Instagram.  So I do see all the photos that you tweet from instagram.  Also, i see all those tweets you tweet from Twitter for iPad, Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Web.

    The reality for me, though, is that I already have an amazing relationship with you and I’m also connected with you in a number of other ways outside of Twitter.

  • ErikJFisher xforce11 GSPN ErikJFisher good to know about Tweetbot.

  • Cliff Ravenscraft xforce11 ErikJFisher I understand the thinking and I appreciate the friendship with both of you.  

    But I totally understand the thinking about going twitter for the web less and less.  For me I have one app or way of viewing things and I do everything from that app.  Checking things in two different apps or two different ways just seems like a time waster.  

    So in general how do we as social people connect with others authentically, still have margin in our lives, and still share the things we are passionate about?  I think it takes work on both sides.  We have to actively engage with others and think about what we post and how we interact.  Does that mean that we have different accounts so that we can separate out the brand from the person, maybe.  Do we risk sharing things on multiple social media streams and offending people for see it over and over, but we do it because the audience is different or muted on one and not the other?  Do we sacrifice our time and ease to send our messages more personally so the messages we want to get out there go out to all? Do we give grace to others who are using social media differently than us, sure.  I know that an Erik Fisher is different than an Amanda (from Michigan).  He has a podcast and a brand so he is using social media for both fun and to promote that brand.  Where she is using it for more recreational use and may have some links in there from time to time.   It is a challenging world we live in.  No matter who we are we have to think about our social media lives.

    Thanks for starting the conversation!

  • xforce11 You have expressed the questions well.  I think the answers are different for each person based upon what they hope to achieve through social media.

    Thanks for joining the conversation.

  • tkd_hayden

    Is there an easy way to unfollow people on twitter that you don’t have already in a list? I have a ton of people I follow but don’t actually pay attention to anything that isn’t in one of my lists. I want to clean out all the other junk. Any tools you know of for that?

  • nobun

    Thaks for your great tips for the relational use of twitter.

    As for the Android twitter client which can mute the serveices,
    I am using janneter.  http://janetter.net

    Sorry that it is japanese client.
    But you can use in english.

    Just for the information.

    Thanks for all of your work.


  • nobun Thank you so much for sharing an Android alternative.

  • tkd_hayden  Have a look at http://manageflitter.com/unfollow

  • tkd_hayden

    Cliff Ravenscraft tkd_hayden Thanks!

  • inge_loots

    Cliff Ravenscraft xforce11 You can mute Twitter on the browser side as well. There are plugins who do that. I use ‘Open Tweet’ filter to mute people.

    Since I use Twitter for work and people follow me because of my work I find it hard to ‘unfollow’ people who support the network I work for, because that can get sensitive. Therefore I mute some people but don’t unfollow them.

  • inge_loots Great to know. Thank you Inge

  • ChasingDominico

    Cliff and Erik, 
    Another informational podcast with very detailed and down to earth ideas that can be utilized right now:)

    Scott’s viewpoint of only being on Twitter when you are actually “On” Twitter resonated with me.  My Podcast co-host is the main force behind Twitter for the podcast promotion and interaction.

    She has never used auto-anything for Twitter.  She only speaks and posts when she is there to respond and talk.  The level of connection and bond that she has cultivated with her “Twitter Peeps” is very emotional.   

    I always felt the phrase “having a presence” in regards to any online platform, was an oxymoron.  You have to be “present” to actually have a “presence.”

    Thanks again for the tips on how to mute applications in tweetbot.  That section alone will save everyone a lot of time and energy by just ignoring automation and let the truly present and emotionally invested people hear each other a little easier.

    I will continue to listen each week and appreciate the information and the high production value that you put into the show:)

  • ChasingDominico Thank you so much for your feedback and for letting us know that our message resonates with your experience.

  • Brian Wallace

    I have had a twitter account for almost 2 years.  Do to all the links and marketing I see I have had no interest in spending any time at all on twitter.   ( LOL, To be fair I set up the account for marketing).  I spent 2 years having no interest in twitter.  

    After listening to your show yesterday, I sent out my very first tweet!  What’s more is that I am really excited about it, and I have a plan for building relationships and creating value on this platform.  Thanks guys.

  • Brian Wallace  I love it.  Thank you for this feedback Brian.  What’s your Twitter ID?  If you are going to use it relationally, I’d love to follow you.

  • Brian Wallace

    Cliff Ravenscraft Brian Wallace  I’m at @paexamreview.   I’m really looking forward to using it to connect with my audience.  🙂

  • travelingiraffe

    I use scheduling programs for some of my tweets, for several reasons, most of which do NOT revolve around me not being on Twitter at the time.
    1. I often go through the news on my topic once or twice in a day and instead of having 5-10 tweets in a 20 minute period of time I would rather break them up over a longer length of time so I don’t overwhelm people’s timeline.  
    2. I’m often going through the news very early in the morning, the lowest period of time for when my followers are online.  By scheduling I can space the tweets out and send them at times when more people will see them.
    3. I can look at real time analytics of how many people are retweeting, and favoriting my tweets. I’ve found that very valuable since what I think will be popular and what people actually like are two different things. It helps to understand my audience and what will resonate with them. I know that Twitter has analytics, but it’s much more cumbersome to use.  
    4. I may be retweeting something that someone else said, and if I think it’s “important” I may want to wait 30 minutes or so to space out the tweet so that the information, between the 2 feeds, can reach a larger audience.

    Having said all that, if I’m not busy with stuff, I’ll keep an eye on twitter all day long, particularly to see what others are responding to me and interact back with them.  It’s rare that hours would be by before I would notice a reply to me.  And frankly that can happen even if something “interesting” happens and I tweet it.  I might be engaged at that moment with other people (creating such interesting tweets) but not prepared to engage with people about it for a while. 

    So while I get the argument that many people are using scheduling software to tweet when they aren’t around, there are a lot of legitimate reasons to use them when you are around too.  

    But I will agree that Tweeting Facebook and Instagram is annoying. It’s kinda like going to Fridays and telling the waitress how great Applebees is.

  • travelingiraffe  Thanks for sharing how you use Twitter and automation.  We all have our own unique ways that we desire to use social media and your way certain seems to be a way that fits in with current trends among most users.

  • travelingiraffe

    Cliff Ravenscraft Thanks, I think there is also a huge difference between using an account as a “person” and has an information broadcaster.  While the lines may blur at times, an information broadcaster will generally use their account much differently then someone who uses it to connect with friends and learn from other people.  As such, I would expect a different set of behavior from both.  But either way, it is important to be available at times to interact with others.
    Crissy (from Long Island)

  • travelingiraffe I totally agree with you there Crissy.  There are some twitter profiles I may follow, like 37signals to be kept up to date with announcements and news related to the the product that I pay for from them.   I don’t expect their account to follow the standards that I’ve mentioned here.

  • I, too, use Buffer for a lot of things. Sometimes, it’s just easier to post from Buffer to my Facebook and Twitter accounts at the same time.

    I also use Buffer because it prevents me from tweeting too many times in a day.

  • DanielJLewis  Nothing wrong with that Daniel.  A lot of people do.   There cool things is that with an app like TweetBot, it’s possible for folks to mute the content that is published in this way if that would prefer to not see it.

    Since I’ve muted Buffer and a few other services, I’ve seen Twitter look a lot more like it did back in 2007.

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