Wednesday, February 10, 2010

10 Ways to Love Twitter Better

As many of you know, Twitter and I broke up a few weeks ago. If you read my break up letter then you know that things weren’t going well between us. I know this may sound weird, but we are living together again and thanks to some good counseling sessions with @Joannefunch and @iknowtiffany , and @Mox_eMediaGirl , I really think we might be able to make our relationship work.

As you might know, I was introduced to Twitter about a year ago and we maintained a cordial relationship during that time. I didn’t really understand her very well nor she me, and I didn’t share that much of myself with her. To be honest, I was still in a relationship with Facebook and a lot of my energy was still going toward that relationship. Even though things with Facebook had started to take a turn for the worse, I guess I was still holding out that things would eventually get better.

I guess it has a lot to do with my Sicilian blood. I sometimes like to throw the baby out with the bath water. Often, my lack of patience gets the best of me.

You see, my first step in changing things with Twitter was downloading THE TWEETDECK. I say it like Donald Trump refers to himself as THE DONALD. With THE TWEETDECK I felt like I had gone from an “elementary school puppy love lets hold hands during film strips kind of guy" to a full blown “going together junior high school romance kind of guy"

If you are newbie to Twitter then you may find yourself in the same frustrating relationship I found myself in. I can honestly say though, now, 1 month after downloading THE TWEETDECK I'm already looking on-line for engagement rings. Let me explain.

1)      Understand Twitter Baggage
When you sign up for Twitter it gives you the ability to open the front door to the on-line world and scream your bloody lungs out. It’s the equivalent of me going into K-Mart and yelling, “Hey everybody. My name is Slash Coleman. I’m a storyteller. I have a PBS special called The Neon Man and Me. Does anyone want to help me?” For a moment, K-Mart gets quiet and then everyone returns to what they were doing. I am now utterly alone and feel stupid. My scream is soon forgotten.

But you not only have the ability to scream, you also have the ability to be on the other side of those screams. If you sign into Twitter, you basically get to see a bunch of other people screaming their bloody lungs out too. Once you choose to follow someone, you now get to eavesdrop on every scream they make. The more people you follow, the more screams you’ll hear. I’m following 726 people on Twitter. That’s a lot of noisy people!

2)      Learn to use “I” statements:
When you download THE TWEETDECK (free) it gives you the ability to have individual conversations with specific people inside the K-Mart. And you and everyone else inside the K-Mart will now be wearing name tags. This is so you will know who you are talking too.

Each name tag in Twitter has the @ symbol in front of it. My name tag on Twitter is @slashcoleman. Remember my friend Tiffany Glass Ferreira, founder of the Real Small Art League, who I wrote about a few weeks ago? Her name tag is @iknowtiffany.

Whenever I want her to see something that I’m screaming, I’ll make sure to put @iknowtiffany in my message. Cool huh?

3) Wait 30 minutes before you go into the pool after eating

THE TWEETDECK  will give you the ability to divide all the screams up two ways. 1)By a persons name tag and 2) By topics that might interest you. You can divide THE TWEETDECK into columns and follow these two types of screams.

As I said before, name tags have a @ in front of them. Topics have a # symbol in front of them. The # symbol is also called a hash tag. For instance if I want to mention something going on in Richmond, VA when I tweet it, It’s better to type, “I love the #rva #snow and drinking warm coffee with @iknowtiffany” rather than “I love that it’s snowing in Richmond and am drinking a cup of joe with Tiffany.”

One is a scream. The other is a part of a global conversation.

I have one column that follows #rva topics (Richmond topics) and in my Tweetdeck I put people I follow in Richmond into that column. Now, whenever anyone uses the topic #rva I can see those specific conversations.

4) Look in the mirror and say, “I love you.”
Rather than screaming downstairs, “Hey baby doll, is dinner ready?” You can now walk down the stairs and go up to your lover and whisper in her ear, “I can’t wait to eat dinner with you. I luuuuuv you. Is it ready?”

In one of my Tweetdeck columns I’ve set it up so if anyone mentions me (@slashcoleman), I can now see it immediately.  That’s pretty dang cool! When I set Tweetdeck up, I was surprised to find, within minutes, mentions of me that dated back almost a year.

5) Take it to the next level.
I’m not one of those Tweeters that has a fancy phone to send tweets out all day. Plus, it's not my style. Hoot Suite allows me to sit down in the morning and create all the tweets I want and schedule them to be sent throughout the day. Since I’m sending tweets out to every PBS station for my campaign, this application is the bomb! Plus, Hoot Suite, like Tweetdeck, allows me to break up all the screaming into columns to follow certain people or conversations. In less than a month, I’ve gone from a bonified Cro-Magnon man to a civilized bird. Tweet! Tweet!

6) Go on a Twitter Cruise
Still want to go to the next level? At, you can type in a hashtag (a topic) and you’ll find out who’s using it on Twitter. Better yet, it even breaks usage up by date, hour and number of times it's been used with a really cool graph.

7) Visit the Swiss Alps and Marvel at their Beauty
At, you can type in a name or a hashtag and all the tweets using that name or hashtag will be displayed in a stunning, incredible and quite trippy way. Put some good music on your I-Pod, type in some hashtags and be prepared to be wowed. For those who are looking for an artistic way to find out what to follow on Twitter - this is it.

8) Be Up Front About Your Intentions
Adam Ant sang a song in the 80’s about this topic or maybe he had an album under the same name. Anyway, will allow you to type in your Twitter name and it will tell you which followers aren’t following you back. Is it important? Sometimes it is. It looks bad if you’re following 1,000 people and only 13 are following you back. If you’re using Twitter to develop relationships most of the people you follow will want to follow you back. The best advice I was given in terms of this was from Jonah Carla Holland. She said, "You need to look at why you are following someone and see if their mission aligns with yours and reevaluate if you still want to follow them, even if they aren't following you." After that, I went through my list and un-followed a lot of people that weren't aligned with my mission. She was right. Once I did that, I found I was able to get more focused on why I was using Twitter.

9)Remember Our Anniversary
There’s a trend or a holiday on Twitter that happens every Friday called #followfriday or #ff. When you want to thank someone for helping you out or want all your peeps to follow one of your own followers, you can make a list like "@iknowtiffany@Mox_eMediaGirl #followfriday" and send it out into Tweetland. This results in friends of friends finding out who your friends are. They in turn sometimes follow your friends and you've just made the world a better place. A website that has taken the Follow Friday concept to the next level is It’s kind of like a chain letter for Twitter. If you actually want more followers and you don’t care who they are, then this is a good way to get them.However, there's something to be said about too many on-line friends.

10) Be Etiquette!
What does this mean exactly? If you follow the rules of social engagement in your everyday off-line life, chances are you’ll want to follow them in your on-line life too. As Kimberly mentions in her blog post (see above) it's good to know your neighbors. How? Use the following steps in this order to develop stronger Twitter relationships.

a. After a day or two of following someone, send them a direct message that shows them you’ve been following them, visited their website or at least read their Twitter bio. When I found out that @GingerTice loved making artwork I wrote," I'm looking forward to checking out some of your artistically inspired tweets."

b. If developing a relationship with followers is important, then re-tweet some of their tweets, which means you copy and paste a previous tweet of theirs into your tweet bar and send it off into tweetland with a RT before it.

c. Find ways to begin to ask your followers questions or include them in your own conversations. This is an example of something that doesn’t work. A performer was trying to get on the Ellen show and wrote, “Hey @theellenshow I know a great performer you should check out!” This is just a scream.

And speaking of screams, my Jewish grandmother Hilda, when I would say something weird and funny to her would say (with her Yiddish accent) "Oh Slashtipher, Yewr such a scream!"

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit


  1. thank you for this, slash... i'm trying out the tweetdeck... though it keeps logging me out of facebook every minute or so. did you experience that?

  2. i have to disagree with you on 10a. i really dislike that people feel they have to DM me once followed. i hate getting the email notifications, and unless they are very personalized, i think, 'you sent that to everyone who followed you today.' it's a supreme turn-off, personally.
    i'd prefer no DMs ever actually.

  3. I just learned a ton from reading this...!! Man ~ Way to break it down. I think Twitter will take you back with open arms.

    For DMS, I think the key to be specific (as Shana said)~ to show that you're paying attention to them +because you genuinely are+ but you can't DM someone unless they are already following you back. (right?)

  4. Wow, Slash-- that was very interesting and well written, and clear until I started feeling a bit of overwhelm, and frankly I have no idea what the above comment is talking about, without going back to your article! I never got it on with Twitter, but I get emails from people who say they are following me. Is that cause they want me to follow them? Well, thanx for this-- I'll attempt to get more engaged.

  5. I meant the one above Tiffany's-- Shana. So I went back and read 10a and understand it a bit better, but don't know whether I would like DMs or not-- guess I gotta try it. So how much time do you average a day social networking?

  6. I agree with you Shana. Usually when you follow someone, you'll get a Direct Message (a short e-mail) in your Twitter account that usually goes right to your e-mail account.

    Here's one I received today:
    "@financecrisis: Hey thanks for the follow-don't stick your head in the sand-wake up and look around you to see what is happening. Go to"

    Is this pretty lame? Yeah. Is it uninviting, Yeah! Does it feel like a robot sent it? Yeah! Did I click thru the link? Yeah.

    That's why I don't have 20,000 followers and I'm not following 50,000 people.

    I don't fault @financecris for sending this out. It is kind of spammy. But unlike most people that send this kind of DM (direct Message) out, she doesn't have 20,000 followers, she has 125.

    She works for PBS and I'm glad that I can now have a conversation with her which is something only Twitter allows me to do.

    I have mixed feelings about the DM. On one hand, it's nice that a response is limited to 140 characters and it acts as a barrier between others who want to write me a 10 page e-mail to connect with me. In terms on the 10 pager over the 140 character DM, I'll take the latter every time.