A lot of people use Twitter these days, and if you’re like me and a photographer then you enjoy finding out about cool photography-related blog posts, news articles, and images, and Twitter is a great place to discover them. Now, everyone has their own purpose for being on Twitter. Some people use it for informing the world about their personal life, or finding out about other people’s personal lives … lots of people use it for keeping up with their hobbies, and others use it for marketing, etc. I don’t really fit entirely into any of those categories (most people don’t) but I do my best to keep my tweets photography-related, with a few dabbles of other randomness in the mix. :)
First of all, you are free to use Twitter however you like and don’t feel like the below tips are a “requirement”. For me Twitter is like my work-place so I have a different perspective on how I manage my tweets, and so if your goal is like mine (to find and connect with other photographers on Twitter … and maybe gain some new followers along the way) then here are some tips that you might useful:
1. Un-lock your account. If I (or anyone else for that matter) can’t see your tweets then there’s a really good chance that I won’t follow you.
2. Turn off auto-tweeting. If you use Facebook, that’s great, but if everytime you post to Facebook it pops up on Twitter and I have to go through 2-3 different clicks to get to what I thought was going to be something interesting, only to find out it was the same status update that was on Twitter, then I get annoyed. This also goes for everytime you advance a level in that oh-so-cool online game you’re playing. I really don’t care. ;)
3. Self-promotion is great, but don’t overdo it. A huge part of being on Twitter is to share our photography, right? Well, I also do my best to “spread the love” and share other photographer’s tips, images, blog posts, etc. I find things through random web searches, All-Top, and RSS feeds, and also try to re-tweet the stuff that I think is relevant, entertaining and/or useful.
4. Minimize your personal conversations. If all I see are random conversations between you and another person (or several for that matter) then it’s the same as being in an elevator listening to another person’s conversation when I have no idea what’s going on. Usually the “ignore” flag goes up and I move on. Replying to people is awesome, but when it goes on-and-on then your tweets are viewed as “diluted”. You want to try and maintain at least a 80/20 ratio … for every ten tweets you do try to keep about eight of them relevant to photography.
6. Link directly to what you want to share. Don’t link to your blog – link to your post. Also, try to only put one link per tweet (unless you are specific about where each link goes). And if you are tweeting on-and-on about something then be sure to link to what you are talking about! I can’t share your content if I don’t have anything to link to. :)
7. Link to your website in your profile. One of the best ways to learn about other photographers is to look at their blog. If you don’t have a blog, there’s a good chance that you have some sort of photo-sharing website (like Flickr or Smugmug), right? You can do this in your Twitter settings … and while you’re at it add some info to that mini-bio as well.
8. Use the crowd to your advantage. Are you in a conundrum and can’t Google your way to an answer? Jump on Twitter and do some crowd-sourcing! I’ve solved many problems through the help of some really awesome people online, and I’ve also found that most people are happy to share what they know to help you out. Don’t forget that the mirror looks both ways … do some Twitter-searching on topics you are good at and see if you can help someone else out as well. :)
9. Be yourself! These days it’s all about branding, and people want to see honest, open people be who they are. Share as much of your photographic life that you feel comfortable sharing, and throw in a TwitPic or two while you’re at it.
10. And, last but not least … follow me on Twitter! (Hehe, I just had to throw that one in) ;)