What kind of tweeter are you?

I’m not the one to judge, having been doing twitter seriously for just a year, but anyone with powers of observation can see certain patterns in the chaos. If it seems that the list leans towards those either writing, editing, agenting or publishing books, that’s because of MacNaughton’s Laws 1 & 2:

1. Every damn fool thinks he or she can write a book.

2. Every damn fool is on the Internet.

And yes, both the above apply to myself; I appreciate the irony. Note the order below is not arbitrary.

Live and interactive: You engage in conversation: some retweets, some replies, offerings of unique perspectives about your world. Replies are nice, we all appreciate the validation. (NOTE: I don’t think that tweets to “thank” after every follow or RT will qualify you for this category. Should I say “You’re welcome?” At some point the verbal paradigm is overkill.)

The Back-porch Chatter: Valuable insight can be gleaned from these. Agents, authors, editors chatting about stuff from horrible submissions to their toddlers’ transgressions. It isn’t riveting (most of the time) but it humanizes a tranche of humanity who otherwise loom Olympian above us: The Published and Those Who Control The Gates.

The Mixfeed: I know you are building your platform, and that’s OK when what you offer up is useful: links to things that are (currently) going on, like contests, or interesting conversations about publishing, technology or culture, You mix in some pointers to your blog, but, again, it’s stuff that actually serves others — writing hints with depth, your experiences engaging & winning the publishing wars. You have given some thought to velocity of marketing and value in delivery.

The ‘Hey Peeps’ Chatter: These are folks who clearly have a tight circle with whom they exchange remarkably personal communications. I don’t follow, it’s too voyeuristic. Hey, you know it’s public, why are you’re writing about your medical issues on Twitter? Use DM!

The incessant Imager: I love getting cool photos in my stream, and some tweeps post some insanely great photos. I do not follow many as I do not like having too many big, fat tweets. I like a tight feed. I read.

The selfie whore: This is a really weird category, You post selfies — on the bus, on the train, in the bathroom (too damn often), with your buds, your cat, your coffee — with everything you can think of. And hey, maybe your face is like Helen’s and you’ll launch a thousand ships. Or maybe not.

The Retweeter: If 95% of your feed is retweets, I creep out and wonder if you are actually a robot. Depending on the frequency, I might follow, but you know if you are spraying retweets like 9mm slugs from an Uzi, I’m staying under cover.

The Quoter: Incessant feed of quotes from famous people, usually writers. Hey, guess what, I know Stephen King hates adverbs, and that you need to have time to read. I know this because 20 other people are tweeting the same stuff. Why don’t you find obscure quotes, like from Henry Miller? Or Plutarch? Dig deep! Or are you a robot?

The Stentorian Didact: When you are always right, and others better get with it, you are this person. Hey, I get it, you have a message and your feel strongly about it. Well, if I want what you’re serving, I’ll go to church or a political conference.

The Shocker: Either naked people (or nearly so), bloody body parts or rough language. Yup, that will surely make me feel like I’m living on the edge. Except that after my 4 years in the Army (long ago), I have already been cussed out. What’s cool? Craft. Anyone can shout and swear. Turn a phrase or show me beauty, and I might follow.

The adult toddler jokester. Potty and sex humor, all day long. Some of these are funny sometimes, but I only follow one, and that’s because it’s the least gross. Somehow, I feel weird having these in my tweet stream. Some leftover Puritan imperative from my East-coast upbringing.

The Incessant Marketer:  Ads, ads ads all day long: Read my book! Like me on Facebook! Guess what, that’s not leading me to you, it is leading me to mute you.

The Spammer: “On Amazon now! ♣♥ YOU WILL LOVE ++ LIPS OF FLAB ++ ♥♣.” And that’s what you told all 10,000 of your followers yesterday. About forty times. Give it a rest. You are that guy on the corner in Las Vegas whacking the card deck of prostitutes.

And of course, the robots. These are pretty easy to spot. Every day, at the exact same time, 3 or 4 accounts I used to follow posted the same ad for the same book at the exact same time. Funny.

Author: H.W. MacNaughton

Technologist and communicator. Into technology, jazz, Formula One, sci-fi and any good writing about real stuff.

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