Jonathan Ross is the latest celebrity to seize the opportunity to self publish through the the microbogging channel Twitter. It is part of the wonder of the the social web that a broadcaster can broadcast whilst still suspended from his BBC contract (although broadcasting is just one aspect of Twitter and if done exclusively defeats the object).
Wossy as he calls himself on Twitter is not the first celebrity to use Twitter. Stephen Fry has amassed an army of almost forty thousand followers. What is fascinating is that Stephen Fry attracted the same number of followers in half a day (circa 1,500) that it took Wossy three weeks to attract.
One of the reasons is that Stephen Fry, a technophile through and through, picked up the online etiquette of micro-blogging immediately, whilst Wossy is still coming to terms with the finer points. So here are some top tips.
1. Get a Clear Identity – It is fine to have an online persona if you’d rather travel the web incognito but most people want to identify themselves clearly. Ross has used a doubtful soubriquet and a picture of his pooch in his profile. There is no link to any site that might validate that this is actually Jonathan Ross twittering. I openly expressed doubt that it was actually he until a couple of journalists put me right.
2. Follow Back – This is an important part of the twitter ‘netiquette’. You don’t have to follow everyone back but you should follow back a substantial proportion. Twitter is a leveller and it requires reciprocity to work properly. Many have talked of the frisson of excitement in getting an e-mail saying ‘Stephen Fry is now Following you on Twitter”.
3. Engage in Conversations – You can direct a comment directly at an individual with an ‘at post’ using the @ character at the start of the twitter name. Clicking on the reply icon on any post does this automatically. These conversations are in public (unlike the private direct messages that can only be sent to people who follow you) and they are an essential part of Twitter culture. For celebrities this is really important because fans can get a piece of you and all it costs is 140 characters. Wossy admits he didn’t get this at first but now converses with the best of them.
4. Provide Some Real Insight Provide some information that people can’t get elsewhere. It adds to the sense of community and it gives real reasons to follow. I
5. Cross Promote – We all use Twitter to tell people what we are doing, what we think or to add links to something we have done. We should also promote things which interest us that other people have done. It is good to do and they might do it back.
6. Quality not just Quantity – this speaks for itself in both in terms of what we post and who we follow which in turn impacts on who follows us. It’s not just about numbers.
If you are reading this Wossy give it a go and watch your Twitter Rank rise and rise. Sadly we may never hear you say the words Twitter Rank but we can imagine.