How to Convince People to Join Twitter

We all have that one friend or client who dismisses the very idea of Twitter as shallow and pointless. Yesterday Twitter rolled out multiple updates –including one that makes conversations easier to follow. The updates are refreshing for veteran twits who have been hashtagging since 2009 and can be the kick in the pants that your friends need to finally create an account.

If you’ve given up on the prospect of your boyfriend, best friend, or boss ever getting a Twitter handle then try one more time but use my handy list of Twitter rebuffs to tear down their defenses.

Twitter is just a bunch of people making statements about themselves.

False. Twitter is about conversations. The latest updates make it easier for users to keep up with Twitter conversations and encourages third parties to follow along and join in.


Before the update, all Tweets were displayed in chronological order. If Stephen Colbert tweeted a question and someone that you follow answered him, you would see the answer first and have to read down until you found the question.

Now conversations are displayed with the original tweet first. Look at this example:

editedpic1The response came after the tweet, but the original article appears first, so it’s easier to follow the conversation.

But I don’t want to listen to other people’s conversations.

(If a marketer tells you this: shame on them! Listening to target audiences is one of the most important aspects of communication.)

Tweets that begin with handles – for example: “@StephenAtHome you’re awesome!” – are considered semi-private. This means that unless a user follows both Stephen Colbert and me, they won’t see the tweet. Twitter implemented this to let people communicate publicly without cluttering the timeline. @ColdStone is a perfect example of this:

coldstone1The top tweet is public and will show up in the timeline of their followers, while the second tweet is private unless you follow both accounts. This reduces the clutter so users can follow their favorite brands without having to claw through hundreds of thank-you and damage control tweets.

I’ve seen this continuously trip up veteran social media managers. If you want a tweet to be public, try to incorporate the handle into the middle of the sentence. For example: “Hey @StephenAtHome you’re awesome!”

People just tweet about what they had for lunch.

A whole social network littered with 140 character blurbs about food? The horror! The only thing worse than that would be a social network where people just publish pictures of food. Oh wait, that’s called Instagram.

If your friends are still using this excuse, kindly show them their own Instagram profiles that basically double as food diaries.

Twitter is confusing.

Yes, Twitter is confusing – at first. But so is Reddit, and so is Tumblr, and so is any new website or social network. The more you experiment and play with Twitter the more you’ll learn the tips and tricks. Trust me, it grows on you.

About the author

Amanda Dodge