This is about finding online engagement.
I returned to Twitter a few years ago after being away awhile. It’s been a test to see how it serves my interests. What I discovered is it’s not much better than Facebook, which I left permanently six years ago.
I’m bitter, of course. As with many of us small-fry, I put in lots of time and research to craft an interesting timeline. I follow and engage others with comments, likes, retweets. I’ve tried advice from various experts about post timing, using images, etc. I’ve accepted that I’m not that interesting to most people. My interests are fringe. My writing and art are not mainstream. And I am old. However, there are many uninteresting folks on twitter with a bigger following than me. What gives?
Do One of These Three Things
My “expert” opinion (from years of watching and trying) is that celebrity is the key, as with most things in our culture. Be as boring and infrequent at posting as you want, you will likely get thousands of followers and hundreds of engagements every day if you’re already famous. Alternatively, be offensive and get “cancelled” and get even way way more engagements. Cancel culture is anything but. It’s amusing to see the articles in national magazines and podcast interviews by those who were “canceled”.
If you’re not a media celebrity, you can still get a lot of followers and engagements by growing a one-dimensional feed. That is, you have to pick the one thing you’re there for. If you’re an artist, post art. If you’re a writer, post writing. Do prompts, share how-to articles and write your own. Whatever you do, don’t talk about your diet, family, or day job too much. Most followers are not there to be your friend but to get information or be entertained. Followers get easily bored and easily offended.
So this brings up politics. You can include politics in your posts if they match your general following. Say your art centers around LGBTQ people, then posting political thoughts and memes that are clearly left leaning is fine, since most of your followers will be of like mind. For example, much about my lifestyle is highly liberal (LGTBQ, polyam, Democrat) so I share things in common with many of my followers, but not my diet. I don’t promote a plant-based diet and in fact think it’s dangerous and bad for the environment–>and oops there go another five followers.
If you want the most followers and engagements, post political thoughts, memes, and links and you will find your tribe. Truly, it is a tribe, a rah rah go team, a “this is my guy/my belief and I will die on this hill no matter what sense you make for the other team” team. That’s what Facebook was like when I left. That is what twitter is like, as well. With Twitter’s letter limit, it takes more work to offend, but it can be done.
I don’t care to discuss politics. I’m a person with many interests and talents and I want to explore and share them all. And I’m an absolute nobody. The occasional step into notoriety for me has always been a bad experience, so I’m good with remaining under the radar.
So There’s Reddit
I returned to Reddit a few weeks ago. I had been there off and on and just found I had things I wanted to talk about online that I couldn’t on places like Twitter or Instagram. So far it’s been a dream. That’s because there is a subreddit for everything. I don’t have to be one-dimensional, I can avoid politics, and I am pretty much anonymous. I think I’m already following and posting in 20+ subjects. Reddit has its trolls but it also has moderators in every subreddit. If you’re feeling frustrated about finding online engagement, give it a try.