How one notification email got me to use Twitter again
and why I stopped using it for good
by Brittany Taylor
published September 8, 2016
updated June 5, 2018
¶ Gmail’s social inbox is one of my favorite things. Mostly, I use it as a notification-specific spam folder.
Sure, I periodically weed out the good stuff, like my 99U newsletters, which always get stuck there (insert massive sigh here).
And yeah, since I started paying actual, strategic attention to Pinterest (follow me here y’all), I do open my celebratory “your pin kicked ass today!” emails (mostly because any number higher than a zero makes me giddy at the moment).
Today was the first day in, oh, a few years that I bothered to open a Twitter notification. And hot damn, kids, I am so glad I did. It’s changed my whole POV on Twitter. It’s turned my frowny face into a smiley (more on that in a later post). It’s making me feel like that kid in Pay It Forward, before he dies (whoops, spoiler alert).
It made me want to use Twitter again.
I want to tell you about what happened and why and what I’m planning to do moving forward, but first, I want to discuss where my brain was re: Twitter before this particular notification hit my social inbox.
Before today: Why I hate Twitter and do not use it for business at all
If we happen to be in the same Facebook groups (you can see which ones I heart here), you’ve probably witnessed at least one of my abbreviated Twitter rants. Here’s the full-length version:
Twitter is the biggest non-social social platform in the entire world.
Until about five years ago, it was a great place for discussions and community building and news gathering. Now, it’s a tangled cluster-fuck of spammy links sent out by business people who don’t give a shit about the people actually reading them.
Twitter is urban sprawl-meets-rush hour every minute of every day. And with every update, it gets worse.
It is over-scheduled, over-optimized, and over-populated, with too few opportunities to cut through the drek and read stuff you actually care about.
It’s nearly impossible to follow conversations, and there are too few people interested in having conversations there, anyway.
Verdict: Thumbs down. Way, way down. Never would I ever again use Twitter.
Today: What happened to change my entire outlook on Twitter
Today has been a great day. I went to the dentist and got my snaggle tooth fixed. I went out to lunch and got a piece of chocolate cake to make up for my balsamic-drenched salad.
Then, I opened up my social inbox on Gmail and found this:
¶ It’s a tweet from someone I don’t know linking to my blog post on how a mission statement can help businesses build momentum.
Maybe I’m premenstrual, but I’m just so…touched. When you’re a small business owner who more often than not feels unheard and unnoticed, it’s the tiny things that puff up your self-esteem and keep you grinding away.
This tweet was my tiny thing. I’m touched and grateful and holy crap I’m tearing up really proud that this stranger thought my work was good enough to share with her followers.
And you know what? I want to pay that feeling forward.
After today: How my strategy is going to change now that I'm going to use Twitter again
My new Twitter strategy will revolve around creating one-on-one interactions between SeeBrittWrite and other online bosses.
Though I will admit to enjoying the odd Twitter chat every so often, I’m largely giving up on the dream of using Twitter as a community builder or a traffic driver.
If I'm going to use Twitter again, I'm going to push my values and my mission, not my occasionally desperate desire to boost my Google Analytics. Right now, I’m more interested in using it to delight, assist, and motivate potential readers and customers, and to gain a little good will in the wide world of online business.
I plan to:
- Schedule tweets of my favorite blog posts (many of which I can source from Pinterest) and tag the blog’s Twitter handle and offer a h/t (hat tip, yo) to the boss who sourced the good stuff in the first place
- Curate a public list of online bosses who do good stuff on Twitter and elsewhere in the online business world
- Spend 10 minutes a day scrolling through my feed of Twitter bosses and replying, messaging, and retweeting the messages that resonate with me.
My goals are four-fold:
- To plant the seeds of business relationships with bosses I don’t interact with elsewhere online
- To discover new bosses who might be prime future collaborators, ace interview subjects for Happy Mail for Bosses, or potential leads
- To listen to what my audience is saying, needing, and loving in real time
- To bring a tidbit of joy to bosses who, like me, sometimes feel a little less-than amongst the loud crowd of six-figure superstars
¶ And you know what? I’m kind of excited about it.
(I know. I didn’t see it coming either!)
Update: June 5, 2018
Remember when I said I don't like using Twitter? Yeah. I still don't.
Aside from the tweet I recounted above and aside from a few #twitterchat conversations I've had with other bosses that I also speak with on Facebook and Instagram, I've never enjoyed the time I spent on Twitter.
And, no matter how much I tweeted, no matter how much I retweeted, no matter how much I shared, no matter how much I engaged, I didn't see any ROI. Zero.
So, I stopped. I still have a presence on Twitter because, hey, better me than someone else with my username, But I don't spend time there at all because it's not worth the effort.
My name is Brittany, but my friends and clients call me "Britt." Online small business owners hire me to create content strategies and write their blog posts, email newsletters, and social media updates. I work with bosses around the world from the marshes of Charleston, S.C.