How to Get Started @Twitter

Many of you may not have known this, but for a brief while I was writing the Twitter jokes for Points in Case alongside our fearless editor Court Sullivan and fellow writer Paul Frank. Other than that, I have always been one to shun Twitter, mockingly referring to it instead as "Twatter." I have to say though, I did enjoy writing the jokes for PIC's Twitter and it fulfilled a desire/need to rapidly get some silly thoughts off my mind.

It was also kind of cool to see people respond to the jokes and pass them on to their friends. The reason I write all these silly articles in the first place is to spread more humor around the world. The PIC Twitter gave me an outlet to share laughs without sitting down to write an entire column about a particular subject. So when Court offered me a spot, within my column, to display my last four tweets from my own personal account, I simply couldn't turn it down. Problem was, I didn't have a personal Twitter account.

Blue Twitter bird
Welcome Andrei, try not to be too big of an ass, okay?
So, after much thought, a good deal of panic, and some careful consideration, I officially joined the Twittersphere: @AndreiTrostel

My first experience was one of crickets chirping loudly and I immediately thought what I imagine was everyone's thought when they first opened their Twitter account: "Um...I don't get it." Then I contacted my friend Maria who you may remember from my Viagra article. I immediately informed Maria of my ultimate acquiescence to the Twitter pressure she had placed on me when she first signed up.

After a couple of elated tweets from her about my joining, which I imagine was accompanied by her adorably jumping up and down, I realized that I wasn't alone in this world of 140 character thoughts. Sure, I had been here before, but that was sort of incognito. Before, I had the full force of PIC fans behind me whether they liked me or not. Now it was personal. Now it was just me on my own. If something I wrote wasn't funny or interesting, I couldn't blame it on Court or Paul anymore.

Tweetasaurus dinosaur
When you simply can't contain yourself to 140 characters.
The truth is that I don't have a lot of friends with Twitter, probably because I spent the last couple of years mocking it in my articles and those friends who use it don't talk to me anymore. What I did have was a rock solid fan base that tunes in to read my drivel each and every week, so I decided to get in touch with them directly....but as it turns out, my mom doesn't tweet either. This didn't come as a huge shocker to me since that woman couldn't fit a thought into 140 characters or less to save her life, which also explains why some of my articles are so damn long...genetics. (Hi Mom, love you!)

So I started following a couple of random PIC fans—some of you even followed me back, thanks for that. I figured the least I could do was check out the things you write since you're nice enough to read my articles. I kept following everyone who followed me back, presuming that those "two" people may have actually enjoyed some of my articles. A big assumption, I know, since they likely have an autofollow bot (not to be confused with a giant robot that turns into a yellow car and follows you). Then I decided to add all the other PIC writers I could find who had Twitter accounts, if only to make it easier for them to direct message me about how much I suck. (Note: Frankly, I was shocked this didn't actually happen. I can only assume it's because you can't be anonymous on Twitter like you can on PIC.)

Then, in the spirit of being polite, I made it a point to follow anyone back that followed me. I also followed a few random people who seemed like they had a really good sense of humor. I tried to implement the same philosophy on Twitter that I use when approaching commenters on PIC: if you take the time to write me a comment, then the least I can do is care enough to respond, regardless whether you hated the article or not. So when I received a direct message from someone in Twitter, I made it a point to respond in kind.

Things kind of took off rapidly from there and I went from a couple of followers to a couple hundred followers in less than a week. It turns out that, in the Twitter world, you actually have to be nice to people and give a shit what other people have to say, instead of just randomly yippity yapping to the world in bite-sized statements. Who knew?! Actually, I think everyone knows that on some level, but people tend to forget that you have to be nice to people for them to be nice to you back. Certainly that is a lesson for all things in life.

Twitter fail whale motivational poster
The easiest way to fail at Twitter is to ignore your followers.
So originally, I had only planned on randomly sending out one line jokes, into the world, that would also be published to my column. However, now I find myself regularly interacting with my readers and fans by direct messaging with them about all kinds of things. I am also meeting some really hilarious and interesting individuals who had never heard of PIC until now. On Friday I participated in the Twitter tradition of "Follow Friday (#FF)" by sending shoutouts to both Points in Case writers and some of the regular readers. I also picked one of the funniest joke replies of the week to feature in my column feed with the person's real name and Twitter handle. I've decided that I will regularly feature those followers who go the extra comedic mile with their responses, in order to show my appreciation for their great sense of humor. At the very least, you can expect that I will try to continually increase the amount of laughter in the world.

Bottom line though, if you want people to follow you on Twitter, then you have to get in the game, join the community, be polite, and it certainly doesn't hurt to be a little adventurous. I still reserve the right to refer to it as Twatter though, mostly because it's a habit that I don't think I will ever be able to break.

Thank you to everyone, both new and old to Points in Case. Let's keep the laughter flowing freely.

Sincerely,
Andrei Trostel
A Loon with a View

And now also:
@andreitrostel
Follow me on Twitter

P.S. In case any of you were wondering, this was my historical, first official tweet:


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Way to shamelessly self-promote.
I kid, I kid. I'm kind of avoiding Twitter. Gave in to Facebook, though. Either way, I shall lurk your Twitter from now on (without actually joining-- I'm ninja like that). So yes, good luck Andrei!

Andrei Trostel's picture

Thanks Evie. Yeah it isn't hard to lurk since it is over there on the right hand side. However for some reason retweets don't appear and it is also kind of difficult to follow a conversation without actually having an account and a twitter program that strings the conversation together for you. We all know how PIC readers love their voyeuristic IMs and AIM convos. This is a goldmine for being a fly on the wall in that sense.
;-)

Gavin Pitt's picture

I just don't get Twitter. Who needs to know about what colour underpants someone chose to put on, what they had for breakfast (or could have had) and what shape the clouds are over their house, sixteen times a day? It's like Facebook for people with ADHD!

Andrei Trostel's picture

I agree Gavin in that you won't be hearing what I ate for breakfast today, although if you have been following my column you should all know that it was a bacon egg and cheese sandwich from Panera. I'm telling you, there is crack in the ciabatta! My tweets will mostly be jokes and sarcastic conversations with readers/total strangers.

Gavin.. I'm glad that I never came across anyone sharing their below-the-belt details on Twitter!
I like twitter in general.. Though some people do take the " What are you doing right now" shit a bit too seriously!

Andrei: I'm one of the those random PIC readers you started following back randomly when you joined it.. Nice to have someone whose thoughts I can copy and pass off as my own on FB =))

Andrei Trostel's picture

I've already come across lots of information that falls under the TMI category. I have also had more than a few innocent, flirty/innuendo conversations with people, all in good fun. Yes, at the very least, Twitter is a great place to snag facebook status updates that you can pretend are your own. I will be providing quite a few of those for you that will be original and fully expect people to pass them off as their own. That is the whole point, to spread more humor and laughter through out the world.

Hey Anonymously bored, shoot me a direct message and let me know who you are and I'll send you a shout out on Follow Friday that will get published to the site.
;-)

Anonymously Bored's picture

My Twitter handle is @mridulkverma
sent a DM too

Bill Dixon's picture

I've had a twitter account for a year or so. I think i've been on it twice. Every time i go on I just think, "is this it?"

But you've inspired me old friend. I'm going to make an effort to submit to a new vice, starting today.

Thanks!

Andrei Trostel's picture

You're very welcome Bill.
I already have @BillDixonComedy listed under PIC writers in my account and Court has duplicated that list in the main PIC account.

In fact any PIC writers (Columnists/Bloggers/Contributing Writers who are new, present or old) who want to be featured in these lists, either leave your twitter address here in the comment section or shoot me a direct message if you are already following me and let me know. I don't know who has twitter and who doesn't and unless I have randomly come across you then I am likely to unintentionally over look people. This is an easy way for readers to follow the whole PIC gang all in one place, if they so desire.

Here is the link to my list:
http://twitter.com/andreitrostel/points-in-case-writers
and a link to the main PIC twitter list as well, which I assume Court will update regularly as I find more people.
http://twitter.com/PointsinCase/pic-writers

If this list gets too big I may also create separate ones broken down by category depending on how many of you out there are actually on twitter.

;-)

Tiffany Taylor's picture

I never could get on the Twitter train.. or the Facebook train.. or even the Myspace train. Not much for posting my life for everyone to see... Just a personal view.

But seeing as you all have made it so convenient, I will gladly follow you and the other PICers' tweets.

Andrei Trostel's picture

Yup, our ridiculous thoughts are at your voyeuristic whim...oh wait, they kind of were before, weren't they? :P
Thanks for reading and commenting Tiffany.