When I announced to my Power of Prog friends(September 2012) that I was giving Twitter a try, many expressed apprehensions about it & some asked that I let them know how it worked out for me. Well it has been over five months & I think I’ve developed a feel for it, so here I present what not to do. If you’d like to learn more about Twitter use, etiquette, terms, & functions there are plenty of explanatory websites.
My purpose in utilizing Twitter was to meet prog rock bands & fans who might enjoy my free downloads. However, Twitter has an estimated 250,000,000 “active” users, i.e. those who have participated in the past 30 days (plus a guesstimated additional, less-active 250mil!), therefore, as one might imagine, there’s a considerable process of elimination in order to find those in my target market.
When you begin, your profile statement(at the top of your page) needs to be full & contain only useful keywords/links directly related to your intentions as well as a good profile pic & relevant background image. You must also be very selective about whom you choose to Follow lest you be inundated with irrelevant recommendations via Twitter’s “Who to Follow” suggestion box & their similar emails. I initially made the mistake of Following numerous guitar, effect pedal, & drum manufacturers & to this day I still receive related suggestions even though I’ve Unfollowed/Blocked them all(I had no idea how many hundreds of guitar, pedal, & drum companies there are!). I Block all useless suggestions to prevent them from reappearing, but be advised that Twitter’s “Who to Follow” box is extremely hard & slow to “train”/reprogram once it gets the mistaken idea you’re interested in any particular category of accounts. In short, it’s a very “dumb” search engine with no ability to specify search parameters or important keywords. Think ahead before you do anything.
Twitter also uses keywords in your tweets so be careful what you type & abbreviate words that may be misconstrued & misused by Twitter’s “brain”. Never spell-out “Follow” or “Following”; always use “Fllw”/”Fllwng”(trust me) & never “hot” or any terms that could even innocently pertain to women(misspell or add spaces). Additionally, they use accounts Followed by those you’ve Followed as suggestions, i.e. they’ll assume that because you unwittingly Followed (horny)”Prog Rock Band X”, who Follows every woman with an attractive profile pic(regardless of whether she’s a prog fan), Twitter will think you might also be interested in these types resulting in a flood of useless “hot chick” suggestions not in your target market & far more likely to be into Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga than prog. The good thing is, Twitter reveals which of your Followers is Following these types so you can Unfollow/Block them immediately; you lose a Follower, but you save yourself an infinite deluge of useless suggestions.
Also, if the purpose of your account is to promote your music …stay on topic! Resist the urge to tweet personal views, philosophy, politics, sports, world events(with rare exceptions), or anything critical of others. These will distract from your goal & may result in Followers Blocking/dropping you like a hot potato.
Here’s a general list of accounts I virtually always Block & never Follow:
- Verified accounts are indicated by a white checkmark in a blue circle. Unless you’re really interested in what these typically insanely rich & famous ego-maniacs are doing all day long, avoid & Block them, as they won’t Followback & will only bask in how many Followers they collect. My two personal exceptions to this rule are former Yes keyboardist, Rick Wakeman(because he’s hilarious) & former Genesis guitarist, Steve Hackett(because he’s very cool & down-to-earth).
- Accounts with far more Followers than those they are Following are equally-likely to not Followback stroking their inflated egos with how many Followers they can accumulate making themselves feel/appear more famous …similar to “Verified” accounts, but usually complete-to-relative unknowns.
- Rabid fans of my favorite bands because these fans are often so devout they won’t listen to anyone else’s music. They’re recognizable by their allegiance-swearing profiles/usernames, band logo tattoos, & endless tweets about one band & its members. Most common are Rush, Yes, & Dream Theater.
- Those who send a “Thank You” for Following, but don’t Followback =rude: Unfollow/Block them.
- Those who don’t Followback after a month (there’s lots of free software to help you keep track).
- Those who promise to “always Followback” yet their Followers vastly exceed those Followed …duh.
- Those who auto-post in tweets how many they’ve Followed/Unfollowed each day with their software.
- Those who promise/threaten in their profile: “Follow for Follow” & “Unfollow for Unfollow”.
- Those extending their middle finger in their profile pic. (wuh?!)
- Those with ridiculous claims in their profile such as,”Greatest band ever, ready to rule the world.”
- Those who list numerous unrelated hobbies with “prog” &/or “music” tacked on near the end.
- Those with only a name, but no profile description whatsoever or one that’s uselessly vague.
- Padlocked Accounts with a notice saying their “tweets are protected”; i.e. they’re hiding crap.
- Those with no profile pic, only Twitter’s generic “egg” icon.
- Those with flashing, animated profile pics: does anyone else find these super-annoying?
- Those with zero tweets.
- Over-tweeters =tweet total well-into five digits, but saying nothing of significance.
- Underage kids/women in their early-20’s (see previous).
- Spammers (you can “Block as Spam”).
- Porn Stars/Hookers/Escorts/Sluts/& Nuts.
- Those who Follow Porn Stars/Hookers/Escorts/Sluts/& Nuts.
- Additional creepy horny dudes who Follow underage girls.
-I don’t care how much they say they “love prog”, if any of the above apply I steer clear.
One DO: Do send a “Direct Message”(or tweet) thanking anyone who Mentions you in a tweet, Retweets one of your tweets, Follows you, or Follows you back …but don’t beg them to listen to your music or plead/barter for fb Likes; this will make your “thank you” appear insincere. Also, be advised that unlike your own tweets which you can delete at will, retweets will become a permanent part of your page …so be really sure you want to retweet someone else’s tweet before doing so.
Despite all these cautions, I have met quite a few cool proggers & music fans & have attained over 600 meaningful Followers(or about 70 per month)! However, it has required consistent effort.
Well, that’s all I can think of for now, but check back periodically as I learn more & make additional recommendations/changes! Feel free to add comments below if you think of anything I missed.
Good Luck! 🙂