Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Lessons Learned after 20,000 Tweets

At some point in the past week, I crossed the 20,000 tweets threshold on Twitter.

Twitter

  • That’s five figures of 140 character messages.
  • That’s 20 grand’s worth of thoughts, replies, and nonsensical statements.
  • That’s a lot of time reacting, and a little time creating.

What have I learned in the past four years of tweeting over 20,000 times?

A few things…

Less is more

I used to tweet twenty or thirty times a day.

Any time a thought came to mind, I’d share it. Anytime I came across an article or quote I liked, it went onto twitter.

Now, I try to do more through less. I try to share only a handful of helpful resources, tips, and insights. And it’s working. What I mean by that is that people are listening and paying attention.

The response has been staggering; apparently, people like hearing from you when you really have something to say (and not when you don’t).

This has forced me to be more thoughtful with my tweets and try to say as much as I possible can in as little words as possible.

Others first

Twitter isn’t really about me. It’s about you. After all, I’m showing up in your feed.

So that’s what I’ve tried to do — find ways to serve other people, make the conversation about them, or make them better.

Every time I talk a bunch about me, people usually disconnect. But when I ask questions, give advice, share resources, others are excited to come along for the journey.

When I interviewed Michael Hyatt on Twitter, hundreds of people joined in the conversation each night for a week.

Moreover, whenever I’ve made Twitter more about me, it’s been less than fulfilling. Life is more fun when it’s not just about you (yep, even on social media).

Conversation is king

The best type of content shared on Twitter is a conversation.

One of the reasons I have 20,000 tweets is because more than half of those are replies or mentions of other people.

While Twitter has a direct message function, the best way to get onto someone’s radar (even someone famous) is to tweet at them publicly. It’s also the best way to acknowledge someone or thank them.

Of course, only someone who is following both you and that person will see this in their feed. But the point is that this thing is messy. It’s about community and friendship and connection.

When Twitter merely becomes a broadcast medium or a celebrity platform, it loses its potential to bring two very different people from different parts of the world together.

And that’s what’s fun and powerful about social media — the fact that it’s social.

The next 20,000 tweets

I’ve made a lot mistakes on Twitter.

I’ve said some dumb things and every once in awhile done something kinda smart. But I want to be a lot more intentional with the next 20,000 tweets (which, I hope, will take me a lot longer to get to than the first 20K).

I am going to try to say less with more, seek to serve others first, and above all, be relational.

Let’s see how it goes.

Are you on Twitter? What lessons have you learned from tweeting, Facebooking, etc.?

By the way, you can follow me on Twitter here.

*Photo credit: hongkiat

About Jeff Goins

I am the best-selling author of five books, including the national bestsellers The Art of Work and Real Artists Don't Starve. Each week, I send out a free newsletter with my best tips on writing, publishing, and helping your creative work succeed.

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