So you’ve joined Twitter? Welcome to the world’s largest popularity contest. You did not know that’s what it would be, did you? Neither did I.
It all starts with you signing up, stating the basic information, name, email, etc. Then you select your handle which is like the username you will be known by on Twitter aside from your name. Usually when your are joining, your first handle will be the first part of your email address. So basically if your address is firstname.lastname@example.org more likely than not you’re handle will be @genius57.
Then of course twitter will tell you to follow a number of people based on your interests, be it sports, tech, etc. Most of these will tend to be celebrities or well know websites so their handles will be simple: @Arsenal @WayneRooney @TechCrunch, etc.
Then twitter will recommend to you people to follow based on the address book of your email address. It is here you will start to notice a disparity. Your “friends” will probably be using a handle different from their email address. While some will use the more straightforward full name like @BrendaWambui who’s one of my favorite tweeps (people on twitter are commonly known as tweeps), others will seek to pick something that distinguishes them from everyone else like @iamthececile @thatguymakosh @GMoneyizMe and so on.
With time depending on your usage you may or may not feel the pressure. I know I felt it and I possibly even succumbed to it.
But there is a key aspect that you may have already picked up. The whole point of you following people was to get people to follow you back. And here the contest begins in earnest.
Slowly your tweets (posts on twitter) will tend to be things you know your followers will like or that they will respond to. Their liking will be by retweeting your tweet, retweeting it with a comment alongside it, favoriting your tweet or replying to it to communicate what they feel or to start a conversation.
It is good to distinguish, however, that there are different kinds of tweeps. Some use it predominantly for information. Some use it to socialize. Some use it for marketing. Some use it to entertain. Some to be entertained. Of course there are those that use it for a combination of different things like information and entertainment which is where I like to think that I fall.
But one constant is that each of the tweeps will want to have a large number of followers, some do that by being themselves, doing their thing so to speak. Some do it by tweeting what will be make people like them, make them popular.
In the end you may be able to read through certain people’s tweets and realize that they aren’t being themselves. I tend to unfollow tweeps because of this pretense. I’ve unfollowed some who are Kenya’s most followed tweeps for this very reason.
The decisions of who you want to follow and why you want to be on twitter are yours.
The most I will say is that at the end of the day its much simpler to be yourself, that takes a lot less work and the best thing about it is that you have the satisfaction of knowing that majority of the people following you and socializing with you are doing so simply because you are being yourself. Period.