Twitter Time March 13, 2009

Twitter Time

I caved.

I’m on Twitter now. If you’d like to follow me, my dream of having thousands of stalkers will soon be achieved. You can find me at

I know this outs me as a Luddite, but I know very little about how to use it.

My immediate questions:

  • How do I Tweet without being annoying?
  • How often am I supposed to Tweet?
  • How do I not let this take over my life?
  • Is Tweet capitalized? What’s the past tense? I hope it’s not twat.

If you have any advice or hints, please let me know 🙂

"The way republican politics are going these days, that means the winner is worse than ..."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."
"It would have been more convincing if he used then rather than than."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Shane

    “How do I Tweet without being annoying?”
    Sadly, that is not possible.

    Twittering is another one of those stupid things that drains my faith in humanity. Enjoy though.

  • Ian


    How do I Tweet without being annoying?

    Don’t worry about it, if people are annoyed they just ignore the posts or not follow you. Just use it naturally.

    How often am I supposed to Tweet?

    Enough. But not too much. Really it’s as often as you want. Maybe a few times a day. Use it as a dialogue with people and it will be more rewarding.

    Phil Plait and PZ Myers tweet a couple times a day, although sometimes Phil goes on a live-tweeting rampage updating details from NASA.

    How do I not let this take over my life?

    Delete your account. There is no other way.

    Is Tweet capitalized? What’s the past tense?

    I think it’s tweeted or tweet, like “I sent you a tweet yesterday,” or “I tweeted you last night.”

  • I caved two days ago 😉

    I too don’t know yet how to tweet “properly” i.e. how to tweet without being annoying or too private.

    We’ll see soon I think

  • Jason

    My immediate questions:

    * How do I Tweet without being annoying?

    I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s up to those following you to determine how they get updates. I’m personally very selective about how I get notified by Tweets.

    * How often am I supposed to Tweet?

    As often as you like. Phil Plait just had an interesting blog commentary about this because his updates are a few times a day unless there’s breaking news, like the debris threat to the ISS yesterday and he was tweeting breaking news about once a minute. Find your own stride.

    * How do I not let this take over my life?

    I wouldn’t worry about that. You seem pretty balanced. Does your blog take over your life?

    Also, and this is up to you because I’m sure many of your readers just subscribe via RSS but some blogs have an auto-feed to their twitter account. Try following @andrewsullivan for a day to see what I mean. He blogs too much for me to follow an RSS feed but I can click on his tweets that look interesting if I want or ignore them.

    You might also consider getting a good Twitter reader like TweetDeck which allows you to group those you follow so they’re easier to organize.

  • Becky

    Yay! About time 😀 I added you (username: Roweena)

  • @betapwned

    One of us… one of us… one… *coughs*

    I digress.

    How do I Tweet without being annoying?

    The most annoying Twitter habit is having an ongoing @ conversation with another user. If the subject at hand is going to take more than one or two tweets, it’s probably best to take it to DM (direct message).

    How often am I supposed to Tweet?

    As often as you have something interesting and/or relevant to say.

    How do I not let this take over my life?

    It only hurts if you fight it.

    Is Tweet capitalized? What’s the past tense? I hope it’s not twat.

    I don’t capitalize tweet, it’s really nothing more than a short blog post, and post isn’t capitalized.

    For past tense, I use “twittered”. In a pinch, you can always refer to the Twit Dictionary –

    Lastly, I couldn’t help but notice that you’re not following Adam Savage of Mythbusters. He’s worth it just for the frequent pictures of him building and/or blowing things up – @donttrythis

  • Honestly I don’t see Twitter lasting long in its current form. I’ve tried like hell to like it, but have given up. 99% of what people tweet is inane drivel – the interesting stuff is almost always reserved for their blog. Twitter’ll be history as soon as the media stops hyping it. Now if Google or someone improves upon it, or integrates it with IM (where it belongs), there could be something to it. As it is, twitter is just doing to IM what did to folksonomies.

  • Alex

    Generally, tweets should be high-level, kind of like a “status” update. Refrain from tweeting directly to a person (although you can), but tweet to the tweeple instead. Attached images always make a tweet interesting. I use Tiny Twitter for my phone client (there are others) that combines tweets with images in 1 UI. I think what would have value for me as a reader of your blog would be a tweet each time you add a new topic.

  • DaveKan

    Hey, I beat you by a whole day…I am sure that you will figure out the right balance. I am still set up as private, as I am not really sure what I am going to do with it or if I actually have anything to say that needs to be broadcast to the world. Right now I am just enjoying the people I am following…it feels like I am sitting in the lunch room and overhearing all these conversations. I am using Twhirl, which is pretty cool…

  • @neonbubble:

    To get the most from Twitter you have to follow people; unless you’re super famous and it’s beneath you or you think you’ll have so many followers it simply wouldn’t be fair to pick and choose. But, in general, the benefit comes from following people rather than simply being followed. In this way you can spot trends developing in what other people say or retweet, or you can discover news through friends of friends. If you don’t follow enough people likely to tweet about things that might interest you then it’ll all seem a very quiet and puzzling place and I suspect that those who claim they don’t get it tend to be that way because they’re not getting the most out of it.

    So, follow people, download and use Tweetdeck from to make things easier (search columns are very useful), and once you’re feeling confident you can take a look at Friendfeed and move to the next level again 🙂

  • Nicole

    If there’s any justice in the universe, the past tense of tweet should be twaat.

  • I wouldn’t worry about annoying people I follow too many people to get annoyed – if something has no relevance to me I ignore it and let the stream flow by.

    I have found tweeting to be useful for getting the “early mail” on others blogs and for picking up on news stories to blog about.

    I participated in the Ben Goldacre Smackdown of Jeni Barnett mentioned on London Tonight because of twitter.

    It has also been instrumental in organizing quick opposition to the Australian governments ISP filtering plans – so quick that it destroyed much of the ministers and governments credibility.

    I don’t care if its a passing fad, its a vehicle for action

  • Bart the Pirate

    After a few weeks of Tweeter, I found it utterly useless.

    (Obviously, that’s a minority opinion.)

  • This is funny.

  • I caved, too. I’m still kind of clueless as to why or what I’m going to do there. I deleted my Facebook account, however, because all I ever used it for was to post status updates and to read those of my friends. I didn’t care for all the other crap I was constantly getting (Lil Green Patch, etc.) and found the rest of it redundant for me (I use Flickr so don’t need the photo app, have a blog, etc.). I’m still assessing whether it’s worth the time to bother with it at all.

  • By all the norms of English, the past tense should be “tweeted”. However, I believe the people who do it call it “twittered”. I don’t know if the present tense is “twitter”, or if they’ve created a verb pair like “go/went” …

  • Does this mean that you have “followers” now?

  • How do I Tweet without being annoying?

    Don’t tweet whenever you have a new blog post. I subscribe to your RSS feed! I don’t follow most of the bloggers I really like because that ends up being 90% of their content, and it’s redundant.

    How often am I supposed to Tweet?

    I’ll second whoever said “whenever you have something interesting to say”. I also like to share links. I don’t blog, and know you share interesting things on here, so that may also be redundant, but you could use it for non-atheism-related links or things that didn’t make the blog. Sometimes you’ll find yourself going a whole day with nothing to say, and then you’ll tweet a few times in the course of an hour.

    How do I not let this take over my life?

    *shrug* I’m not finding it difficult. I have it in my gmail sidebar and on my iPhone, so I just do it when the mood strikes me and it’s pretty easy. But I tend not to get obsessed with these internet fads anyway. I still only log in to Facebook once or twice a day and do not gain endless amusement from looking at everyone’s pictures.

    I don’t know. It’s kind of cool, I guess. not the be-all-end-all. You’ll start getting annoyed if you follow a bunch of people you don’t really care about. just don’t follow so many that it feels like a chore.


  • # How do I Tweet without being annoying?
    Engage with followers, at least occasionally. Someone like yourself may end up with thousands of followers, it’s going to be very difficult to follow them all back, but people understand that. However please be courteous and at least occasionally reply back to replies people, you aren’t following, send you.

    # How often am I supposed to Tweet?
    As often as you like or have time for.
    Between 1-5 times a day appears to be appropriate, unless, as others have pointed out, you live tweet breaking news.
    One of the best tweets I followed recently was someone live tweeting a movie they were watching, I think their commentary was probably funnier than the movie.

    just remember that old adage ‘if you have nothing to say, say nothing’.

    # How do I not let this take over my life?
    Too late! bwahhaha.
    Seriously, I think it’s a personality thing. If you are prone to getting carried away with something twitter can be very distracting. oooh bright shiny thing …
    However, if you are a balanced person, with good with time management skills, you shouldn’t have a problem.

    As others have said, get yourself a copy of tweetdeck it makes tweeting a lot simpler.

  • Mathew Wilder

    @Nicole: WIN!!!111!!1!111!

  • @Tatty

    First of all: There are no rules on how to use Twitter, it’s all about what you yourself want out of it.

    If you want it to be social “@” people all you like, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    Tweet about only interesting facts etc. if that’s what you want, or include personal nonsense (which can be just as fun/interesting) if you wish.

    Tweet 100 times a day, or 5. No one is forced to follow you if they don’t want to.

    Good luck! 🙂

error: Content is protected !!