There’s been a lot of talk in the media lately about Twitter, especially with Ashton Kutcher reaching 1 million followers and Oprah joining and getting 220,000 in one day.  And, while it might be nice to follow celebrities like them, it might get real boring real fast.  I know when a technology has reached a saturation point when my Mother asks me about something.  She’s not very techie (she’s just started using a cellphone), and prefers running her old Mac with OS7 than a PC.  She asked me, “What is Twitter?”

The more complicated answer is to say, it’s a microblogging platform that can be used for marketing and networking.  With the addition of celebrities, it’s become a sort of voyeuristic way to watch what the rich and famous are doing, if, in fact, it’s the rich and famous doing the actual tweeting, and not some assistant.   But if this is all you do with your twitter, you will probably become one of the “Twitter Quitters”, who give up after a month.

If you really want to make Twitter a fun and real experience, you need to ignore the Twitter suggestion list, and search for people you know, know of, or like reading.  For me, that meant manga bloggers.  When I started, I knew there were manga bloggers on the service already, and searched for them first.  As I built up my following, my follwers started to grow as the people I followed followed me back.  As I read the tweets from the people I followed, I found even more people to follow.  But let me say right here, that Twitter isn’t about collecting Follwers.  If you put more importance on gaining followers than on writing good content, you’re going to get bored.  And so are your followers.  You don’t need 1 million followers to have good conversations.

And that’s what I’ve gotten out of Twitter.  Lot’s of good conversations with people that I might not otherwise have thought I would be able to.  Tweets are only in 140 characters or less.  It’s a good mental exercise to try and figure out how to express your thoughts in that short amount of space, and you might be surprised at how much you can actually say.  Having said that, here are some tips for making Twitter a good experience:

  • Don’t be afraid to jump into a conversation. If you have something to add, add it.  If you have some thought or question, post it.  Some one will invariably answer you.  Twitter is social media.  Be social.
  • Go ahead and plug yourself. If you have a blog, post links to your new posts.  Not only can it get you hits, but it can generate discussions on both Twitter and other blogs.
  • Share interesting links. Twitter uses tiny.url natively, but you can use any url shortening site to get your links in in the allotted space.
  • Retweet. This is reposting an interesting or useful comment someone else has said.  Just put a RT in front so everyone knows it’s not your words.  This helps spread content to other feeds.
  • Use hash tags. A topic with the pound sign (#) in front of it becomes searchable on Twitter.  You’ll see these pop in tweets.  Some popular ones are #followfriday, where you can list people you would recommend others follow.  For manga, there is also #mangamonday for recommending US licensed titles.

Now that you know what to do, who do you follow?  Here’s a good starter list of people (not in any particular order) that always have something interesting to say, and won’t mock you for talking to them.  ;-)

Here are some manga publishers and websites/blogs that you might want to follow:

Also check out the followers of people you’re following.  You never know who you might find.  And if I missed anyone (which I’m sure I missed lots), add them in the comments.

Twitter isn’t just about celebrity or your small circle of friends.  Don’t just take the suggested followings that Twitter gives you.  Twitter is what you make of it.  So why not make it something good?

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11 Comments for this entry

  • I couldn’t agree more with what you write. Just because someone follows you dosen’t mean you have to follow them. Look at what they have to say in their own tweets, is it related to what you talk about?, are you interested in what they say?, if so follow back, if not don’t bother.

    Even if you stick within a narrow frame (for example i tend to only follow manga/anime reviewers and fans) your list will still grow at a good rate. And you’re likely to have more fun conversations.

    Also be more careful, as lately there have been a huge surge in spam bot following, and porn bot following. If one of those follows you report them. Twitter is pretty good at getting rid of the bots.

    And thanks for the linkage Lori!!! :D

  • Thanks, indeed! It’s good to have all of these in one place.

  • Jim Chadwick says:

    Hi. Just wanted to let you know that CMX is tweeting too. http://twitter.com/CMXmanga

  • Laur says:

    Thanks for the list! I’ve been following Deb Aoki for a while now and she’s been linking to all these manga people- I’ve been meaning to go through and follow them on Twitter but wading through the backlog would have been tedious. :)

  • Connie says:

    This is all good advice! I’ve only been using the service for a few weeks, and I still couldn’t figure out what the hash tags were, or how to search. And it’s so strange that so many people get addicted to follower numbers and following people back. I would actually be kind of concerned if a ton of people started following me, I know what I have to say isn’t all that exciting!

    Your lists are good, too. It took me a long time to find all those publishers since so many of them are pretty quiet.

  • I’m so sorry Jim! I don’t know how I could have missed you. I knew CMX was there. I love following all your guys’ tweets! Officially corrected!

  • You’re welcome Tiamat! Auto follow isn’t good, and how can you have a conversation with hundreds of tweets going by. Targeting my follows makes it so much easier to manage.

    Connie, I listen to tech shows, and they’ve been going on about Twitter for a while now, but I only just joined a few months ago, so I knew some of how it worked and what I wanted to get out of it. That made the list easier. As did rifling through other follower lists and hitting that “Follow” button. :)

    Laur, glad you found the list useful! Hopefully more great links will get added as more people join the conversation.

  • I love getting to talk with fellow reviewers. It’s much easier to do that on Twitter than via comments and such. Plus, it’s such a nice and friendly community, willing to share review copies and such.

    How does one tell one is being followed by a bot? I certainly get the occasional “who is *that*?!” person following me, but I pretty much just ignore them.

    Oh, and LostPhrack is Ken Haley, a Manga Recon reviewer. :)

  • Ed Sizemore says:

    Lori, thanks so much for putting me on the list. Honestly, I’m just humbled to be among such great company. I love your point about it being a conversation. Because that’s exactly how I look at it. I enjoy getting a chance to talk and get to know some wonderful people. I love learning how people think and I always learn something new from all that’s going on.

    My followers number is a great source of silly fun for me. Over half my list is people trying to boost their followers number. There are a few suspended accounts that Twitter won’t delete for some mysterious reason. The other half of my list are people I actually talk to. When someone follows me I check out their page see if it’s anything I’m interested in. If so then I add and see what happens.

  • sesho says:

    Wow, thanks for all the good info. I actually started my own Twitter after reading your article and finding out that so many people in the manga community are on there. I had to go with the tag of “sesho1″ though instead of just sesho. Somebody already had it. The nerve of some people:)

  • Neal Burgard says:

    Twitter drives MOST traffic to my sites

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