10 Rules for Twitter Anons

theanonchurch.org

theanonchurch.org

There are all sorts of Xian Anons out there. I follow hundreds of them. Each one has his or her (or it?) own slant on how to do things. And while each one approaches Twitter differently, there are some things that you should understand if you’re in the Xian Anon game (or thinking about getting into it).

1. There are no rules: This is the most important to understand. What?!? How can you write about the rules for running an Anon account and then say that there are no rules? It really comes down to this: These rules are things I wish people had told me from my first day of tweeting. I have been fortunate to have some very intelligent and savvy people come alongside me and offer me some pointers, but there’s no manual to consult from the beginning.

So remember this: these are good ideas, but not written in stone. I’ve seen Anons that do not do these but have THOUSANDS of followers. I’ve seen Anons do these and never get more than 100-200 followers. There’s no magic formula. So take these for what you will. Some things that I believe about running my Anon account.

2. People with catchy names & sexy pics will get more followers and retweets than all of your incredibly witty & deep tweets. It doesn’t really matter how clever you are – you’re going to be limited by your avi and handle. I’ve seen people with a funny name and sexy avi get followers without having any substantial content. It sucks, but that’s life. Sometimes a theme or character will really help (like Snooty Seminarian or Back Row Baptist) – it gives people something to get behind rather than a vague generality (like The Xian Satirist) 😉

3. An avi, a bio, and some original tweets are more likely to motivate me to follow you back. If you don’t have these things the odds are that people won’t follow you. You’re an unknown quantity. Fill out these things and give people something to latch onto. People will identify you by your avi. It’s one reason we get so confused when some of our favorite accounts change their images (Church Judge, FairICBaptist, I’m lookin’ at you two)!

4. You have a greater chance of Tweets resonating with others if you Tweet things that resonate with you. I know everyone does it, but I really don’t want to read about your dinner. When you tweet something that really strikes home with you (either a joke or a serious tweet) you have a greater chance that it will resonate with the rest of us. Practically speaking that will give you more favorites and retweets.

5. Unless you’re a celebrity with a bajillion followers you should be interacting with people. I understand that some people are on Twitter only to promote their message, but I prefer to see people interact. I’m always impressed by those who have 10,000-100,000 followers still interacting with their followers. That’s pretty cool. It’s social media – why come you being anti-social?

Warning – I do know that some people will unfollow you if you’re filling up their timeline with conversations. They only want to see the 140 character zingers, not an ongoing conversation. You really have to determine what kind of account you want to run and find a balance between your original material, retweets, and conversation.

6. If everything on your TimeLine is a retweet I may unfollow. Show me some original thought besides what you find from others. Plain and simple. I like retweets, but I want people I follow to give me good original thought. If you put out good material I’ll retweet you myself.  🙂

7. A great concept, handle, and avi are wasted if you don’t tweet regularly and consistently. When I first started my account I was told by one of the popular kids, “I really like your account. I hope you stick around and don’t fade away like many Anons do.” If you put out good content people will want to stick around. Having a great account is a terrible waste if you’re not consistent and regular in tweeting. I’m not even advocating daily tweets, but find a balance that works for your life to be a regular part of Twitter and I’ll hang around to see what you’ve got.

8. You don’t HAVE to follow back everyone who follows you. It’s your account – handle it how you want. Seriously. I’ve seen a lot of people get upset about how a twitterer handles follows, follow-backs, and unfollows. BUT IT’S YOUR ACCOUNT! Do what you like. Follow, unfollow, and block people at your own discretion. You’re not a bad person because of it – you’re taking care of your own account. You may upset some people and they might unfollow you, but it’s.just.Twitter.

9. Don’t rejoice over every follow. Don’t fret over every unfollow. Too much anxiety on Twitter over numbers. I know. I’ve done it. I stopped sweating it only about a month ago and realized that I’m just gonna have people unfollow me every day. Twitter is like a small-town parade. As it goes by you’re gonna have people jump in and walk with you. You’re gonna have people jump out and leave. You can’t control any of that, so don’t sweat it.

10. There’s a fine line between trying and trying too hard. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Just be as authentically you (or your character) as you can be. It’s obvious when we try too hard (my wife always calls me out on it) and is less attractive. Just try to be you and you’ll do fine.

Well, that’s it. What would you add?

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8 thoughts on “10 Rules for Twitter Anons

  1. Great post TXS! I would also add that people–whether they’re an Anon or not–should always treat their followers like humans and not pawns to build their follower base. It’s understandable for organizations to do this, but not people.

    I look at 95% of all follower profiles when following back. Why? Because I want to see if they’re someone I want to interact with on a regular basis. I have my own personal connections list filled with Anons and Reals. There are many on that list that would’ve never been on there had I not taken the time to view their profile.

  2. Comments on your points:

    2. You are correct. When I first started an anon, it was something like “Church Media Guy” or something very sub-divided like that. I got a handful of followers and barely any interaction. But when I thought up “Back Row Baptist” AND found out that it wasn’t already being used, I was so happy and it immediately took off. The right name is crucial.

    3. When you start an Anon account, don’t follow anyone until you have AT LEAST five solid tweets. And don’t make any other them requests for shoutouts from bigger Anons or RTs. Stand on your own two feet. Prove you belong here.

    4. Too many anons are filling their feeds with pointless nonsense. The fact is, if you are a funny anon, you are supposed to tweet jokes. Each tweet should be a joke. You can have conversations, but your feed is not a running play by play of your life. If you need to vent a lot or tweet a bunch of boring stuff, do that on a personal account, save your Anon for the funny.

    5. I’m BARELY over the line into having too many followers to interact with. I do my best to read every tweet directed at me (which is why I favorite them all, to show you that I read it and to remind myself that I did see it). And I reply when I can think of something funny off the cuff. I still do try to interact from time to time, but at this point (and it’s only going to get harder as my followers grow), it’s rarer and rarer that I have the time.

    7. I usually write the bulk of my tweets for the week on one day and schedule them with HootSuite. That way, even when I’m too busy to tweet, I know that I’ve got content coming all day, every day. I schedule between 5 and 7 tweets per day. Then, when I have the opportunity to just goof around on twitter, I post more stuff straight from my brain to your eyes.

    9. Even a big, semi-popular account like mine loses about 30 followers a day. But I usually GAIN about 50-70. As long as your follower count keeps going UP, then you don’t need to fret or change things. Here’s some truth people don’t realize. A) Some followers are fake or malicious. Of the 30 followers I lose everyday, usually 10 of them are “suspended” accounts for breaking Twitter rules. B) People follow you before they know if they like your humor. They follow recommendations or see a single RT of you and follow to see if they connect with you. But humor is subjective and sometimes, people just don’t get your humor. C) Some people can’t handle certain jokes or sarcasm. That’s their problem, not yours.

    10. I know there is a place for parody accounts, like people pretending to be Joel Osteen or people pretending to be crazy Fundamentalists, and everything they ever say or reply to is in character… but to me, that gets annoying at a point. Back Row Baptist IS a character, but I don’t confine myself to it. I tweet funny things, most of which are related to church or Christian culture in some way, but not necessarily from a dude who is always sitting in the Back Row. You don’t have to be so strictly in character. But at the same time, if you get too comfortable, you can wind up tweeting a whole bunch of things completely randomly and OUT of character, which is no good either. Walk the line.

    ADDITIONAL NOTES:

    A. Be original. When you start up a joke anon, you have to be original. It’s okay to look at other tweets and jokers for inspiration or topic ideas (parody tweets are okay too from time to time), but copying tweets and posting them as your own is not only unethical, it’s a real jerk move.

    B. Be original, part 2. There are tons of old classical jokes and puns that aren’t really attributed to anyone, so they are fair game… but don’t rely on them as a standard… because we’ve heard these jokes already too.

    C. Pick an Avi and Stick with it. I’ve changed my avi one time. My original avi was a photo I found online. As I got more popular and branched out a bit, I wanted an avi that was my own. But even then, the avi stayed the same in design. The avi is the first thing people associate your account with on Twitter. They connect it with your name and your humor. When you change your avi (especially if you do it a lot), you are breaking that connection with your readers, because you are basically changing your brand. Even if nothing else changes and your humor is spot on, when an avi changes, people intrinsically lose trust in your account.

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