Let's just say I might be married to someone who might have a Twitter account. Again, let's just say...
And let's just say that I might have a brother who has a Twitter account. Hypothetically speaking of course...
And to complete the trinity, let's just say I might happen to have a sister in law who has a Twitter account. Following so far?
Their commonality isn't me. What they all have in common is that they have Twitter accounts but don't really use them. As my three year old would say, "Wait- what?" It's true, my wife Cary has a Twitter account, (@carystpierre) but she doesn't really use it at all. Same goes for my other family members.
And there are millions of other official Twitter users who activate an account and then never actually use the account. I've found at least four reasons why folks don't use their Twitter accounts, followed by what you can do about it:
1. They haven't downloaded a Twitter app for their smartphone.
2. They don't feel like they have anything interesting to say.
3. They feel like they might use Twitter "wrong" and then be criticized.
4. They aren't in the habit of publishing what they perceive as "private" matters.
Do any of these sound familiar? I know that when I began using Twitter, each of these was in my mind. Still, having been a classroom teacher where you have to think like a reporter (i.e. discovering new things every single day to share with your students), I also found Twitter to be fascinating and fun.
So let's respond to the four objections I listed above:
1. They haven't downloaded a Twitter app for their smartphone. Solution: go to the App Store (iOS) or Play Store (Android) and download the official Twitter app for your phone. If you want to spend a few bucks, I suggest Tweetbot for your iPhone and Fenix for your Android phone- both are excellent and make Twitter even more fun.
2. They don't feel like they have anything interesting to say. Solution: think of yourself as interesting to those that know you. You don't have to be Kim Kardashian or Bobby Flay to be interesting (although I wouldn't mind cooking like Bobby). Your friends and family probably find you very interesting. There are a ton of others out there who might also find your interests to be fascinating. You do have interesting things to say!
3. They feel like they might use Twitter "wrong" and then be criticized. Solution: there is no "wrong" in Twitterland so just go for it. Who cares how you choose to use it? If you want to talk about bananas or Toyotas or the treehouse you're building for your kids... do it. Who cares what others think? Twitter is what you make it to be. Post every hour or once a day. Tweet famous quotes. Tweet about your favorite TV show. Tweet about how adorable your kids are. Tweet about your relationship with God.
Here are some surprising and excellent Twitter personalities that you might want to follow and may find intriguing:
-Fr. James Martin: a Roman Catholic priest who is a voice for justic issues and faith (and occasionally appears on late night TV).
-Erik Fisher: a podcaster who gets to interview some of the best voices in productivity (and loves bacon).
-Nancy Caramanico: an educational consultant who hosts a weekly Tweet-up called Catholic Ed Chat (and loves the ocean).
-Joshua Becker: a pastor who sold 50% of what he had and now writes about simple living (and how his wife didn't divorce him in the process).
4. They aren't in the habit of publishing what they perceive as "private" matters. The internet has made the lines between public and private very blurry. I'm not suggesting that you should be tweeting during child birth or as someone is dying. (although both have been done!) Solution: post things that interest you. Don't worry too much about whether they are public or private. Focus on what captures your imagination and your fancy. Try different things out.
This post was a long time coming. I felt that I had to write it, especially after seeing the people I love try to use Twitter but face common roadblocks. By testing out the four solutions above, you'll enjoy Twitter more and overcome obstacles that all of us face from time to time.
What do you find most useful about Twitter? Which obstacles did you have to overcome in order to get more out of Twitter?
Photo courtesy of fdp