Twitter tastes like crow? So I was wrong.

Frame it, copy it, blow it up and put it on your dashboard: I was wrong.

Not the first time, won’t be the last. Thinking about effective time management and social media, I’ve modified my position on Twitter: automation vs. self-scheduling.

I still believe:

What’s changed?

There is a difference in automated vs. scheduled tweeting. I’ve seen how it can be done, mixing programmed (not automated) tweets with real-time posts and engagement. It does work and can be authentic. Wonderful comments on Mark’s post about fake tweets, including Neicole Crepeau’s excellent breakdown of the differences in ghost, scheduled, blind, automated tweets.

Jon Buscall mentioned something in a comment about scheduling, that he did it not just for himself but for time zone management, for the benefit of his followers in the U.S. Epiphany.

The new plan:

  • To improve my efficiency and maybe benefit followers, I’ll schedule the tweets throughout the day to keep my stream interesting but not overwhelming.
  • I’ll mix in tweets hyping my own blog with many, many more about shit that’s actually useful.
  • I’ll only schedule when I’m around to reply, keeping TweetDeck or something running in the background. If I’m going to be off the Twitters for a while and can’t engage… then I don’t schedule. Period.

Don’t think I’ve gone soft. Automating your Twitter as a feed to RT every post by Seth Godin, Chris Brogan or Guy Kawaski still sucks. (But this feed to automatically reply to anyone who tweets about Firely or Serenity with a Jayne quote, that is made of win.)

Do you know some other way of “keeping it real” yet not falling into the Twitter black hole of time suck? Thoughts, suggestions are always welcome.

Photo credit: Old Geek & Poke comic, via CC license.

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10 thoughts on “Twitter tastes like crow? So I was wrong.

  1. Davina! You’re hilarious! And brilliant. All in the same package! I love this post and hate I didn’t see it days ago when you wrote it. Fun and insightful. I used to tout the praises of scheduled tweets and still do them to some degree, but find that I’m more effective (at least I think I am, right?) when I keep the tweetdeck on in the background (as you mentioned) and tweet, reply or retweet as I feel appropriate, then schedule the balance of my less impromptu tweets (my blog posts, other blogs) throughout the day so that I don’t have to remember to do them later when I get consumed by something else, and so that I don’t bombard my followers with a barrage of tweets in a 2 hour time frame.

    Glad to have stopped by and will do so more often!

    1. Wow Erica, thanks. Not sure if it’s good or bad you think I’m funny and clever, you may want to get that checked. 😉 I used to be a real-time stickler which was just .. dumb. So I’d get caught in the black hole of time suck. You’re right about the barrage.. rather than doing it all at once, I divide my time: schedule stuff throughout the day, then mix in more in real-time, as needed. NO broadcasting, not scheduling when I’m not around to listen (weekends).. trying for real but efficient. Thanks, look forward to seeing you again.

  2. I also tried the automation thing, mixing it in with real tweets, re-tweets, and interaction, and yes, it does work well for me. My lesson, though? Not long ago, I had recurring posts every 40 to 50 minutes. Recurring posts! No one said anything, and I was getting re-tweets. Then one day, I saw a public tweet from someone I enjoy tweeting with along the lines of, “If you want to schedule fine, but don’t repeat them.” He didn’t call anyone out, but the shoe fit.

    I did nothing. Within a few days I got a parting direct message from another follower who unfollowed, saying I had a nuclear follow cost (I didn’t even know what that was!) and was too repetitive (I knew what that was!). Chagrined, I googled follow cost, saw my flashing sign, and owned it. I was a twitter cyborg, and the borg was winning.

    I thanked her publicly (couldn’t DM since she wasn’t following, or yes, I would have!) and added that I would space my tweets out much farther apart. I also deleted all my tweets except the latest three. Now it’s pretty clear when I’m offline, people who’ve retweeted me still retweet me, and I gained that follower back after some further friendly Twitter chatter. We even connected via LinkedIn and e-mail.

    So good for your strategy, Davina–people are still people even on Twitter, and even being a nice person doesn’t cut the annoying. Doing my best to keep it as real as possible.

    1. Shakirah, Wow.. what a great comment. I’ve seen the difference in scheduling vs. automating. The thing with automation is that it’s broadcast, all you all the time, or just random noise. No one wants that in their Twitter feed. I’m now scheduling a good junk of my tweets to be spread throughout the day, and still 80% of them share things NOT about me. And I make a point about being around to reply, to make the most of how I choose to use Twitter. So in this case Resistance is NOT futile – BTW loved your Borg line. Thanks for sharing your story.

        1. Everyone uses Twitter their own ways. I’m trying to NOT be on Twitter all day, just keep it in the background as I get other things done. I’m trying to remember that yes there are those really watching and then there are those who follow so many, barely catch a thing. Like with wine, it’s about balance. Nice to continue the conversation.

  3. What a wonderful post, Davina! I have so much respect for anyone who is pubicly willing to say they learned something new and changed their mind! I hope adding some scheduled tweets makes your life easier and connects you with more people. And the best thing I learned from this post? You’re a Firefly/Serenity fan, too!! OMG!

    1. Nice to hear Neicole… as I have other such confessions drafted. Disclosure, Transparency, WOOT! I’ve got TweetDeck set up so I can time shift some tweets, to mix in with what’s real time see if I can’t do a little better at my multitasking. And yes big Joss Whedon fan. 🙂

  4. I had a similar epiphany, Davina, when I realized that scheduled Tweets can help you connect with people in other parts of the world. I think it\’s a fine idea. I believe Gini Dietrich has said she schedules tweets – so sometimes I\’ve replied to her and not gotten an IMMEDIATE response, but I always get a response!

    I love how many links you include in your posts, gives me plenty to read and learn.
    Jenn Whinnem recently posted..jennwhinnem- How To Build A Crappy Twitter Profile http-tco-y2I827x via @joey-strawn – the how-to Ive NEEDED

    1. My realization was several things, Jenn. The flow of the stream is so fast, you WILL miss SO much more than you catch. So it’s ok to RT your own stuff a few times, give people more chances to see it. You’re gonna go off Twitters, everyone will. Yes the real time part is fun, the instant response cool.. but unrealistic. Like you said, it’s getting a reply that matters. Ari Herzog just teased me about 2 days being “late” w/ a comment reply. Think email, Twitter, cell phones, have us all trained to expect immediate feedback. Plus I sorta took a naive, purist view.. just impractical.

      I get the timeshifting thing to a point, but won’t broadcast info and links 24/7. I will still mostly tweet real time, lots of replies and the like.. but think mixing in a few scheduled tweets will help me keep a better pace, maybe a little efficiency. Gini is a good example of a prolific tweeter who keeps it real with a mix of scheduled/live tweets; too many others still seem to just broadcast.

      About the links: It’s good to share! As a blogging thing, theory is if you send it out there, you’ll get it back. And it’s my way of backing up my claims, to suggest that maybe I’m not full of crap. 😉

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