Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
April 8, 2011 8:35 PM

The Twitter Test

I've been thinking a lot about Twitter lately. It's success and how much attention it receives in the public domain.

Beyond Twitter's dramatic growth and the buzz that still surrounds it, it's becoming an increasingly important place to be because as people used to "Google" one another to find out what they're about, you may note that a Twitter profile ranks fairly close to the top of the organic search results. What does this mean? It's means that if you're active on Twitter and looking to build your profile (or personal brand), it would be wise to remember that Twitter (unlike Facebook) is an open platform and anything you tweet (or say) is now open and available for all to see.

Twitter is like a real-time resume.

It's not hard to mold and craft a LinkedIn profile, Blog or even your Facebook profile to look pristine at all times. It's harder to to do that in real-time and when you consider how Twitter is best played in terms of engagement. It's interesting to see how certain people are able to connect, get followed, be added to lists, retweeted and generally treated like Twitter royalty while others fumble and grumble through the process, shaking their heads in disbelief at what accounts for an interesting Twitter experience.

The Twitter Test...

When was the last time you took a look at how someone would you "see" you on Twitter if they connected to you for the first time right now? Do this:

  • Head over to[insert your Twitter username here].
  • Take a look at all of the tweets you've recently posted that appear on the entire first page.
  • Look, read and think about all of them.

Now add a thought from The Economist into the mix:

The Economist magazine used to run a print ad with the copy: "would you want to sit next to you at dinner?" It's a clever line of copy and an even cleverer thought. You have to smart, interesting, pithy and curious, don't you? How do your tweets stack up? You see, beyond the basics of a good Twitter profile (a simple username, photo, legible biography, a link to something more relevant about you, etc...), it's really what you're tweeting (and how you're doing it) that's going to keep someone who is finding you for the first time interested in hitting that "follow" button.

Do The Twitter Test often.

Every month (or so), I'll do The Twitter Test. It's not a question of how many @ replies or self-promotional tweets are being pumped into the stream. It's more about the context.

  • How interesting (overall) is the conversation and engagement taking place?
  • Is it all mostly inside jokes or personal innuendos between friends?
  • Am I using language that would make me embarrassed if my mother read it?
  • When my children get older, would I be proud that this real-time flow of my thoughts over a series of years is now available for them (and their friends) to see?
  • How interesting is the content I'm publishing and sharing?
  • If I were looking to change my position at work, will these tweet leave a good impression to my potential employer?

Don't put too much pressure on it.

It's not meant to overwhelm you or have you change your tone and manner on Twitter... it's just something to think about. More often than not when someone recommends that I connect to someone else, the first place I turn to is Twitter to see what they're "really" all about (you know those late night tweets or the tweets after a rough day at work). I suspect I'm not the only one doing this. As we sprinkle our personal brands in different places across the Internet and the mobile channels, we create a more holistic and widely distributed perspective of who we truly are. It's important to remember that a personal audit of that content - every now and again - is probably a wise move to make.

What's your take?

By Mitch Joel