Twitter for Political Newbies (Both Left & Right)

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Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 12.11.05 PMWhen I first started using Twitter for politics, it was in 2008, during the McCain campaign.  I knew absolutely nothing about it.  By knowing nothing about it, I made sure I followed all the important conservative sources.  I followed the right celebs.  The problem, though, is none of those people followed me back.  I was following more people than followed me.  Consequently, I couldn’t grow my followers.  Today, Twitter is far more lenient about allowing a balance.  I have a bad habit of following back, unless I know the person is spamming me.  I don’t follow back, but I don’t delete them, either.

Oh, once upon a time, I always deleted them.  I’ve discovered why bother wasting my time.  They’re going to delete themselves within a few days.  There are times when I block people, especially those promoting porn and online sex dating.  They are almost always women.  No, I’m not a lesbian.  Why would I bother following.  If someone like a a total hunk was doing the same thing, I would not block them as quickly. (That’s just a joke).

The first thing you need to do, if you are serious about Twitter is invest in a good follower style app. I suggest Who Unfollowed Me.  You pay for the service, but it works,  like crazy.  If someone you are following doesn’t follow you back, if they are a celeb, use a ‘whitelist’ so that it doesn’t show up in who isn’t following you back.  Anyone else, if they don’t follow back in 24-48 hours, unfollow them.  They’re never going to follow you, ever, especially if they are following more people than are following them.

The minute I learned how to control my follow/unfollow lists, I began growing my Twitter following.  When you do start growing your following, have numerous interests.  I love baseball, opera, space, and science.  I happen to know that many of my followers are not political.  I try to keep my tweets a mix of things so that I don’t get bogged down with politics.

I don’t insult people.  I don’t get nasty with people who don’t agree with me, politically.  Some of my favorite people on Twitter are Democrats & liberals.  We have lively discussions, but don’t make it personal.  The first thing you need to understand about politics is that it isn’t personal.  Never, ever make it personal. When someone gets nasty, they get blocked.

Remember your values.  I don’t use certain words.  When someone uses the “F-Word” at me, they’re blocked.  When additional words are part of it, they’re blocked.  The other day, I told a Trump supporter I was unfollowing him because of his use of that word and another, which began with a “c”.  I explained why I was doing it.  I didn’t block him. I just unfollowed.  I block death threats, after taking screen shots.  FYI:  Always take screen shots of people who are harassing you.  Take screen shots of their Tweets.  I have a desk top folder where I save the Tweets.  If someone is going to do that, they could try getting you suspended.  If so, you have evidence to prove you are being harassed.

Juice up your profile.  Don’t use hashtags.  For one thing, you use up your characters.  Tell something about yourself.  You won’t find anything on my profile that says I support Trump. I say I’m political.  I tell people who I am.  My primary purpose on Twitter is to promote myself as a writer, and promote my books.  This, I do.  I also list my interests like opera, baseball, my poodle, cats, and the fact that I’m Episcopalian.  If people aren’t following you back, it could be your public profile.

If possible use your real name.  There are reasons not to use it, but to me, when someone is terribly nasty, and doesn’t use their name, it is for that reason.  If I say something you don’t like, you know how to find me.  I have the intellectual honesty not to hide.  What you see is what you get.

The way you tell a troll, on Twitter is look at the number of followers and tweets.  Professional trolls paid by political parties, will have very few followers, and very few tweets.  They will be the most insulting, and are the ones who are literally paid to make as much trouble as possible.  Their job is to do as much damage as possible.  They are also there to try goading you into saying something they can use against you, to get you suspended or banned from Twitter.  They threaten, insult, spew profanity, and are completely nasty.   No matter how nasty they are, just make sure you take a screen shot of the entire conversation, then block them, as quickly as possible.

Engage, but be polite.  Don’t be a troll.  Treat people the way you want to be treated.  Don’t be afraid to engage and befriend people who do not agree with you on politics.  They may become some of your best Twitter friends.

Let’s face it, I don’t know anyone who bases their friends entirely on politics. One of my BFFs and I have absolutely nothing in common when it comes to politics.  Would I dump her as a friend?  What truly annoys me is when people do that on Twitter.  It makes you wonder what kind of people they are in real life.

 

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