Are you killing your own information on Twitter?

Everyday I see lots of great information on Twitter shared by some really amazing people, accounts and agencies.

Some of this information is through running streams, while some comes through lists and more is found from just basic search parameters.

But, one thing that shows up in almost every manner of information curating I see is the inexplicable Tweet that begins with a Twitter ID.   I hear you right now, “Tim, if I am responding to someone, that is exactly how a Tweet should start!”…and I agree with you there.  IF you are responding to someone that is exactly how a tweet should start.

But, what I am talking about is just a basic Tweet, sharing information that begins with a Twitter ID that is not in response to, or mentioning an account for specific attention / purpose.

Limiting your Audience

Here’s what I mean…

Never Start A Tweet With Your Own Twitter's just dumb.

Never Start A Tweet With Your Own Twitter ID…it’s just dumb.

Why would I compose a Tweet starting with my own ID?

  • I know what I am doing (normally)
  • I don’t speak in the 3rd person (normally)
  • I just limited the audience of this post

Here is another example of how it is often seen…

The potential audience is limited in a reply tweet or a tweet that starts with an ID

The potential audience is limited in a reply tweet or a tweet that starts with an ID

I’m not responding to@TheIACP.  I am providing an opinion statement, or information. Either way, by starting the Tweet with the Twitter ID, the only people who will see this Tweet are those that follow me AND The IACP.  Let’s say there 100 followers between both accounts and out of those 100, 10 follow both The IACP and me…that means the potential audience to see that Tweet is 10, or in this case 10% of what it could be.

Expanding Your Audience

Unless you are responding to someone, or speaking to that account, never start a Tweet with a Twitter ID.  Instead, start the Tweet with anything else…most commonly a period is used or you could just reconsider how you start the tweet to increase the potential audience pool.

Using the IACP example above, If I have 50 followers, then the potential audience to see my Tweet is 50 people.  Way better than the 10 who could potentially see it starting with the IACP ID.Tweet 3

In the example below, you can see the use of the period which expands the potential audience of the Tweet.  In this case though, the Calgary Police are actually providing information regarding a specific event in response to a Tweet they were mentioned in. The information/answer is so useful to the community at large, that to limit the response to just the account that posed the original Tweet would be a dis-service to their entire audience, so respond but add the period in at the beginning.

Awesome response for the entire audience

Awesome response for the entire audience

Happy Tweeting everyone!

UPDATE: Don’t believe me?? Gary Vaynerchuk put it on YouTube and explains this point awesome in a 2 minute video!

Related links:

Responding to crime reports on Social Media


About Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows was a sworn police officer for 25 years with experience in front line operations, primary response, traffic, detective operations and supervision. He has training in a broad spectrum of policing responsibilities including, IMS, Emergency Management, computer assisted technology investigations, leadership, community policing and crisis communications. Tim is available to assist you with your social media program and communication. Click here to contact him
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One Response to Are you killing your own information on Twitter?

  1. David French says:

    Reblogged this on Confusingly Simple and commented:
    This should be one of the first things anybody learns about Twitter! Unfortunately it is usually one of the last.

    It is such an importantly vital tip and yet I catch myself doing it several times a week. DMC

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