Twitter Basics – Wisdom

[If this gets picked up in the feed, sorry!  This was the last post in the series and it never properly got finished.  Better late than never.]

So I’ve said a bit about what Twitter is and how it can be used.  This final post acknowledges that, thought Twitter is very useful for certain things (and not very useful for a lot of other things), that occasional usefulness can come at a price…the world can follow you and see what you are saying/thinking/doing.

Here are some of the guidelines that I stick to when thinking about how I use Twitter.


I guess the key here is that the world is watching, and you shouldn’t say anything that you wouldn’t mind being seen by anyone, including:

  • a friend or relative;
  • a colleague or employer (or a former or potential employer);
  • the press!

Most of the interesting people I follow talk about a specialist subject like cycling in an impersonal way.  Either that or they share fairly trivial stuff about their lives.

If it really comes to it you can “go private” (so you need to authorise people to follow you), and don’t forget there’s a delete button if you Tweet something you probably shouldn’t have.

Real names and searches

Remember that your username and tweets can be picked up by searches and other tools too!  Do you want people Googling your name to find you on Twitter and subsequently everything you’ve ever Tweeted?

I, personally, am slightly enigmatic in my online presence, choosing not to reveal my real name.  Perhaps you’re happy with everything public, but you should at least think if that’s actually the case.


Some people think that follower numbers are the key.  The more followers you have the more popular you are.  I don’t buy this at all and would MUCH rather go for quality over quantity.  But if you may be wanting to promote yourself or an organisation, in which case quantity is good!

Even if your Tweets are public, Twitter will email you when you get a new follower and this is quite handy if you’re managing your followers.

And managing followers can be important.  Like email, Twitter is subject to “spam” or junk messages and followers and there are people you may want to “block” from following you.  This is easily done with the click of a button.

Spam was a real problem in Twitter’s early days, but it’s more under control now.  That’s not to say that it still doesn’t exist and can be annoying.

Closing thoughts

Some people deride Twitter for being a waste of time and full of irrelevant nonsense.  I can understand that people think this but I think it’s unfair of them to dismiss it so easily.

I’ve found it to be quite useful in sharing information both from my locality and with common interests.  I’ve found good tyre suppliers, made useful links with charitable organisations, been inspired by fellow cyclists and Christians, and I use it to keep up to date with a few friends too.

I find it simpler and easier to use than Facebook, and, in some respects, more fun.

But you do have to work at it somewhat.

There are dangers to being public (which, remember, is not compulsory), but with a little wisdom Twitter can be useful and fun.

As a final note, this post contained some wisdom – there is plenty more out there and some of it will conflict.  They key thing is to work out what you want to achieve using Twitter and use it as a tool for that.

See you online!