10 secrets to avoid common Twitter newbie errors

Photo by webtreats

I didn’t join Twitter on day 1 but I’m not a Twitter newbie either. I believe my first tweet was in October 2008. I learned Twitter the way I learn most things. I followed people who seemed to know what they were doing, read blog posts on how to do it and went on from there. I made some mistakes, but that is how we learn right?

15,997 Tweets later, here I am. I’m still very fond of Twitter and it has developed many great relationships. At this point, I do encourage my Design Resumes clients to test the waters of Twitter and other social networking applications (Facebook and LinkedIn mainly).  And I really want others to enjoy Twitter too.

Common Twitter newbie errors:

  1. Complete your profile: Twitter gives you 160 words. Make it your branding statement. Tell me something about you.
  2. Add a Link to your Profile: Do you have a website, a LinkedIn profile, a blog, a Facebook page, whatever it is, add the link in so people can learn more about you. 160 words is not enough in most cases.
  3. Privacy Lock: You are following me but you turned on Protect my tweets in Tweet privacy. If you are only using Twitter to talk to friends, I suppose the privacy level is important. The difference in Twitter from Facebook is that you don’t choose who follows you. Anyone can follow anyone in Twitter. If you follow me and want me to follow back, then make it easy for me to follow you, don’t protect your tweets.
  4. TrueTwit: Again, If you want me to follow you but you make me jump through authentication hoops, I just won’t bother. I know there are bots and spammers on Twitter but I don’t have time to prove to you that I am real.
  5. Don’t Broadcast!: One of the problems with the name social media, is that people think of it as advertising. Stop! You cannot build community by broadcasting. You may have a message to share, that’s fine. But if every tweet repeats your message and you don’t engage, you can guarantee that Twitter will not work for you.
  6. Direct Message (DM) Tip #1: If you aren’t following me, I cannot send you a DM. If you want to send a DM to someone, follow them first.
  7. Direct Message (DM) Tip #2: Do not send me a DM with a link to your new site, your blog, or secret offer. I will not open a link from someone I do not know in a DM.
  8. Direct Message (DM) Tip #3: What are DMs for? You are having a conversation with a Twitter friend and you do not want the whole world to know. Or you want to give someone your e-mail or phone number. Then use a DM.
  9. No Gravatar: When I spoke to the Competitive Edge group in Green Bay recently, they were learning about the basics of social media. One of the members told me to find his profile and he was there but everyone teasing him because his icon was the default Twitter egg. One of the keys of using social networking is to let people get to know you. It isn’t hard to upload a photo. It doesn’t have to be a professional photo but neither should it be a mug shot. Check out this post by Mark Harai for more Twitter avatar tips.
  10. Law of Subtraction: Quickest way to ruin either a business building or job search social networking experience is to implement the Law of Subtraction… (which is the opposite of the Law of Attraction). You can read more here.

OK, that being said, you know how to get my attention on Twitter? Talk to me. I love it when you retweet my posts because it brings more people here to read my blog but there are many people that I know that I didn’t know before because of Twitter.

How did that happen? They talked to me. I am much more likely to follow you back if you talk to me. You don’t have to talk about job search or resumes with me, I am interested in much more. You can talk about the weather, or coffee, or dogs.

Did I miss anything? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


  1. Shahrzad Arasteh | Career Consulting Services on February 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Great tips, Julie! Thank you for sharing them. I especially like the one on paying attention to your tweets and the attitude they convey (your “Law of Subtraction”).

    • Julie Walraven on February 21, 2011 at 7:12 am

      Yes, Shahrzad, I bet you have seen as many inappropriate tweets as I have. Cyberspace is a crazy place and not a place to leave whines about your job, your employer, or your clients.

  2. Brad Merrill on May 9, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Great post Julie!! Will keep this in mind as I begin to navigate the waters of twitter……

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