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.
- Deb Aoki
- Brigid Alverson
- Michelle Smith
- Melinda Beasi
- Scott Green
- Danielle Leigh
- Ed Chavez
- The Manga Critic
- John Jakala
- Eva Volin
- Johanna DC
- Tiamat’s Disciple
- Ed Sizemore
- Mathew J. Brady
- Jason Thompson
- Lost Phrack
Here are some manga publishers and websites/blogs that you might want to follow:
- Viz Media
- Digital Manga
- Udon Entertainment
- Manga Village
- Good Comics for Kids
- Yen Press
- Go Comi!
- Dark Horse Comics
- Manga Recon at Pop Culture Shock
- CMX Manga
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?