There's no doubt that Twitter has changed the way we communicate with each other.
The primary reason for this is its 140-character limit. It forces us to be brief, concise, and to the point.
On one hand, this is good. We learn to identify the essential and tweet that.
And you have to agree, Twitter gives excellent exercise in writing headlines. You need to grab your followers' attention and get them to reply, retweet or click on the link at the same time. That's quite a lot for a 140-character message to accomplish!
The more your tweets achieve this, the better a copywriter you're becoming.
On the other hand, Twitter has also made us lazy, lazy, lazy.
1. Automatically Make And Drop Friends
With the Twitter apps now available, you can find Twitter users based on keywords or geographical location, and automatically follow them. You don't even have to see their faces, read their profile or know anything else.
Same thing with unfollowing people. You can do it without much thought at all.
2. Automatic Messages
Again, not completely a fault of Twitter but of the apps floating around the Internet. You can automatically send direct messages and replies.
For example, you can DM anybody who follows you. Or, you can automatically send a template @ reply to anybody who sends a tweet with any keyword you identify. Try tweeting the phrase “make money” and you'll be barraged by @ replies from total strangers, often with messages that are out of context from your tweet.
3. Retweeting Without Reading
Confession: I do this myself.
But before you judge me, please listen to why I do it:
I often RT an interesting tweet before I even read the linked page, because the Twitter stream moves too fast.
Most of the time, if I click on the link and read the page first, by the time I'm done, I can't find the original tweet anymore.
So I RT first and then I read. It's not the best solution, but if you have one, do share!
4. Retweeting Without Commenting
I've noticed that many people RT links to my blog posts… but don't leave comments on the post itself. This is understandable, since it's so much faster to RT and even send your reactions via Twitter than to actually submit a comment.
I've taken the bold step of actually asking people to post a comment. For example, I'll respond with something like, “Thanks for the RT. Looking forward to reading your comment on the post.”
I'm leaving number 5 blank for you. Can you think of another way Twitter has made us lazy?
Please post them in the comments below.
PS: I'm not at all advocating twittering your entire day away. We should take short-cuts whenever possible, without sacrificing authentic engagement, conversation, and community building. I rely on Twitter automation tools myself. I use MarketMeTweet to schedule my tweets and add a branded link to each of my messages. It also allows you to do all those spammy things I described above, but I don't recommend using those features. The actual Twitter management side is still a bit buggy, but at least the scheduling and branding functions now work perfectly. Click here to learn more about MarketMeTweet (<– shameless affiliate link)
PPS: Totally unrelated but thought you'd like to know: I've organized a series of webinars with blog traffic experts. It kicks off on Tuesday, July 6th, with Michael Martine as the guest expert. You know you want it, so go here to register (it's free!): http://alexisrodrigo.com/more-blog-traffic/
Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
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