How we use Twitter

We try to:

  • Tweet about beer
  • Tweet links to our lat­est blog posts (but only once, or occa­sion­al­ly twice…)
  • avoid Tweet­ing about our lunch, pub­lic trans­port, the weath­er
  • respond when peo­ple ‘@ men­tion’ us and
  • be help­ful, if we can, i.e. answer­ing ques­tions.

We try not to over-think Retweet­ing – it ought to be instinc­tive. As a gen­er­al rule, we Retweet if:

  • some­thing catch­es our eye and makes us think/laugh
  • we think a piece of infor­ma­tion is impor­tant
  • some­one we fol­low with a small num­ber of fol­low­ers has Tweeted/written some­thing which every­one ought to see.
  • We don’t Retweet on request, i.e. ‘please RT!!!’

We use ‘new-style’ Retweets (i.e. just hit­ting ‘Retweet’ rather than writ­ing RT) so that the orig­i­nal tweet­er ‘feels the ben­e­fit’ of fur­ther retweets; unless, that is, the tweet has no con­tent oth­er than a link or pic­ture and we want to explain what it is; or we want to add a com­ment.

We fol­low peo­ple because:

  • they Tweet most­ly about beer and
  • what they Tweet tells us things we did­n’t know or
  • is oth­er­wise interesting/entertaining.

We also fol­low one or two peo­ple who nev­er Tweet about beer, usu­al­ly because they are our win­dow into, e.g., food blog­ging.

We don’t tend to fol­low peo­ple who have most­ly auto­mat­ed ‘check ins’ from, e.g., Untap­pd in their time­line.

We some­times unfol­low peo­ple, again with­out over-think­ing it, because:

  • they start Tweet­ing about some­thing oth­er than beer (e.g. pol­i­tics, foot­ball) for a pro­longed peri­od
  • they get stuck in a rut com­plain­ing about pub­lic trans­port, col­leagues, friends, fam­i­ly, how tired they are, or the weath­er
  • they are repeatedly/consistently sex­ist
  • they are homo­pho­bic
  • they nev­er inter­act with us or any­one else
  • they engage in ‘spam­my’ behav­iour, e.g. repeat­ing the same mar­ket­ing mes­sage over and over again
  • they exhib­it ter­ri­fy­ing lev­els of aggres­sion.

We’ve unfol­lowed cor­po­rate accounts (pubs, events, brew­eries, etc..) for:

  • Tweet­ing fre­quent updates on how many fol­low­ers they have
  • Retweet­ing or Tweet­ing links to every­thing nice any­one says about them
  • run­ning annoy­ing ‘RT to win!’ com­pe­ti­tions
  • ran­dom­ly begin­ning to express strong polit­i­cal opin­ions
  • post­ing noth­ing but cross-links to Face­book and
  • ask­ing us to ver­i­fy our age.

We’ve unfol­lowed peo­ple for the fol­low­ing very spe­cif­ic rea­sons:

  • repeat­ed­ly using the words ‘retard­ed’ and ‘gay’ to mean stupid/bad
  • repeat­ed­ly using ‘the C word’
  • One guy Tweet­ed, out of nowhere: “A blonde on this train is mak­ing me real­ly horny.” Eew.

Some peo­ple Re-tweet a lot; and some busi­ness­es we’re inter­est­ed in re-tweet every­thing any­one says about them. In those cas­es, we some­times turn off Re-tweets rather than unfol­low.

We’ll make excep­tions to most of those rules if some­one is oth­er­wise ‘good val­ue’ or inter­est­ing (even if we don’t like them much).

We also under­stand that peo­ple some­times Tweet things while drunk they might not say sober, and cut them some slack: that is a haz­ard of beer blogging/Tweeting/writing.

We have blocked peo­ple for being real­ly offen­sive or abu­sive, or sim­ply because, even though we don’t fol­low them, they keep get­ting Retweet­ed into our time­line.

We occa­sion­al­ly take part in Fol­low Fri­day (#FF) and like to sug­gest one or two peo­ple we think are worth fol­low­ing, and explain why.

We don’t take it per­son­al­ly if peo­ple unfol­low us; don’t use any auto­mat­ed tools to track who has unfol­lowed us; and are quite hap­py fol­low­ing peo­ple who don’t fol­low us.

UPDATE 07/12/2014: how hav­ing a joint Twit­ter account works

(Because appar­ent­ly this baf­fles peo­ple.)

  • We both have access to the account and Tweet things on what you might call a ‘cor­po­rate’ basis, i.e. things that don’t par­tic­u­lar­ly express an indi­vid­ual point of view – ‘Here’s an inter­est­ing pic­ture of an ele­phant drink­ing stout’ or ‘We’re going to Der­by this week­end’.
  • If we’re togeth­er in the same room, we usu­al­ly com­pose Tweets togeth­er – we dis­cuss what we want to say, one of us writes it, shows it to the oth­er, and off it goes. (This is kind of instinc­tive and takes 10 sec­onds.)
  • Very occa­sion­al­ly – please make sure you are sit­ting down – we are not togeth­er in the same room. In those sit­u­a­tions, if Bai­ley drinks a beer or vis­its a pub and wants to Tweet about it, he signs his Tweets [Bai­ley]. Equal­ly, in the same sit­u­a­tion, Boak will sign hers ˆBoak.
  • We also sign Tweets some­times when we’re talk­ing about our own child­hood mem­o­ries, fam­i­ly mem­bers, pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ence, and so on.
  • FAQ: “Why don’t you just have sep­a­rate Twit­ter accounts?” Because then peo­ple would have to fol­low two accounts to catch every­thing we say, which is a bit annoy­ing; and because there might be peri­ods when one of us does­n’t Tweet for a few days or even weeks.

If you think we’re doing it wrong (‘How our dri­ving?’) let us know below…

6 thoughts on “How we use Twitter”

  1. Pret­ty much the same as me, although I try to keep lev­el I fol­low to a aman­age­able lev­el (once it got over 1000 which was just crazy) and I have a mix of whisky and cheese relat­ed peo­ple aswell

  2. I have to ask then. Why the hell are you fol­low­ing me?? I’m con­stant­ly moan­ing about the loonies on pub­lic trans­port, I tweet about foot­ball and which C‑word are you refer­ring to? C**t or C**k? I use both far too often. 😉

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