While I am anything but a Twitter expert, as I’ve begun my journey as a published author, I’ve learned to embrace and even enjoy the 140-character-based social media platform. It’s fun to see which pics get retweeted most often, which hashtags seem to provoke responses, and which followers pick up on the subtle (and not so subtle!) nuances in my tweets.
However (and yes, I’m decidedly old-school when it comes to communication), it’s somewhat disheartening to see an increasing level of follower auto-response services within Twitter. For example, I’ll follow someone’s feed and immediately receive an automated “thank you” response along with an offer to subscribe to the same service that generated the “thank you”. Now, please don’t misunderstand me, we all like to be acknowledged and thanked, but somehow being thanked and upsold by a bot just isn’t the same, is it? I think I’d just as soon not get the message in the first place.
Now, of course, comes the time to toot my own horn. From the beginning, I’ve made it a point to thank each of my Twitter followers via direct message, when possible – although if I’ve missed you, I apologize! It take a few seconds, but it makes a big difference. I’ve had a number of people respond with their own messages of thanks, follow-up comments and questions, or even a quick emoji. I’ve “met” people from all over the world and have had the opportunity to discuss books with them. I’ve even had some folks ask me which service I use to generate my responses, to which I invariably respond, “I don’t have a program. It’s all about the personal touch!” It makes the experience more rewarding and humanizing for everyone involved, and I’m always astounded at the impact a quick, genuine “thank you” can have on someone’s day.
I’m not saying that Twitter management tools are inherently bad, but I firmly believe that the best results stem from a careful balance between professional platform development and the personal touch. Just a little dose of the latter has the potential to go a long way, and, curmudgeonly though I may sound, I think the twitterati out there would be well served to keep this in mind.