Recently I’ve been struck by the disparity in the way different celebrities are “utilising” Twitter, and how different the results can be for them when they do. Whilst some commentators would have you believe that the rich and famous are “ruining Twitter” for the rest of us, I personally like nothing better than observing the goings-on of the twitterati in their daily lives. Far from ruining Twitter, I actually think that the mix people it is bringing to Twitter is actually enhancing the experience – there’s something for everyone on there these days! However, despite the joy they can bring (watching the banter going on between two slightly deranged Hollywood one-time leading ladies can be a heart-warming experience…!) It can at times be a little painful watching a celebrity find their feet on the famous micro-blogging platform…
So, I decided to put together a little “beginners guide” for all those celebs who are only just joining Twitter now. I know there are many much more comprehensive guides to tweeting out there, but this one should be fairly easy to digest for the celebrity with little time on their hands… Here goes:
5 Basic tips:
- Seeing your messages – This one’s an easy’n’obvious one, but still worth pointing out (I’ve seen many people going for weeks on end without knowing this!). To see the replies people have posted to your tweets, click the little @yourname link on the right menu. This takes you to a long list of messages people have written you, which you can either read and ignore, or reply to by clicking the little curly “reply” arrow next to the message.
- Mentioning other users in your posts – If I (for instance) have written you a message which you want to reply to, start a new message with @henweb (my username) and then write your message. You could also write @henweb anywhere in your messages (or indeed any number of users) and it would show up in my “@YourName” list.
- Who sees what – I often see people asking whether everyone sees the messages they write (or reply to) or just the respondee. Here’s the rule: If you start a message with someone’s @username, only they and anyone who follows *both* you AND them will see this in their feed. If you write a message without a username at the start (even if the username in the middle), everyone who follows you will see this.
- Quoting someone, aka “re-tweeting” – If somebody has posted a message which you want everyone to share (maybe a link you want to give wider exposure, or a witty comment) simply copy the message (including their username with an @ at the front) and write “RT” at the front.
- Posting photos is easy. There are loads of services out there that will allow you to upload and share your photos directly to Twitter. The most famous is probably Twitpic, which you can use straight from your iPhone if you have one, but you could also try Tweetphoto, Pixim or yFrog
5 Bits of advice
- Get yourself validated! As with everything else on the internet, there are a lot of people out there pretending to be people they’re not, and you as a celebrity will be an obvious target. For this very reason, there are a number of great services on Twitter which exist to provide users with validation about which celebrities are the real deal, and which are fakes. My personal favourite is Valebrity – ping them a message and they will contact a rep or manager of yours to confirm you are real, then tell their followers. Not using a publicly-available photo of yourself for your profile photo is another good way of making sure people know you’re you… After all, any faker could type your name in to Google Images and pretend to be you!
- Ignore people who moan about you not following them back – Whilst the basic rules of Social Media state that it’s all about two-way conversations, you don’t actually need to be following someone on Twitter to reply or interact with them. Whilst your fans will all be desperate for you to follow them (after all, who *wouldn’t* want that little bit of kudos?), if you start following 20,000 people, your feed is going to become virtually useless. So my advice is to follow a few people that you yourself admire, work with or know, but make sure you regularly check your @replies and interact with people that way.
- Don’t get involved with anything too contentious. It can be very tempting to re-tweet every good cause, political arguement or “help me” request your followers ask you to, but this can get you in to some really ambiguous territory. It can also come back and bite you on the ass, especially if it turns our you’re being perceived to be endorsing something which isn’t actually what you thought it was. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no harm in forwarding on the odd thing here and there, but don’t become somebody who is known as an easy target for the re-tweeters and do-gooders. If nothing else, if can make for some really boring reading for your followers!
Don’t post when drunk. This one should be fairly obvious I hope, and something they presumably teach you in Famous School. But you’d be surprised how many people ignore it. Just remember this one little nugget – whilst you can hit the little trash-can icon to delete your message from your feed, it exists in the Twitter history and search forever. So don’t post anything you might regret later.
- Don’t be a Twitter fly-by-night. If you’re going to join twitter, make sure you are in it for the long run… or at least for longer than a week!
There you go, ten tips that hopefully might prove at least a little bit useful. Next week – Ten top tips for twittering… Brands!Tweet