Three Strikes and You’re Out for Twitter is a tiny set of rules I made when evaluating my potential Twitter contacts. It’s a quick test I apply before I hit the “follow” button so my feed stays clutter-free, and more importantly, bullshit-free.
1. No personal stuff: no photos of children, food or animals. No politics, religion, or sports. Why? It’s not about you, it’s about me. It’s about the value I get from your updates. Chances are you are a lovely person and I bet your kids are amazing. You’re a good photographer and your wife cooks wonderfully. Oh, the dog is so cute. But you know what: I don’t care. I’m making an exchange here and my time is my only currency. And I’m not going to let anyone waste it.
2. No inspirational quotes and pieces of eternal wisdom. Let’s face it: you’re not going to change my life with the words of some dead guy. I’ve been to Brainy Quote before, everybody has. Posting these doesn’t make you look any smarter. It just shows a disturbing lack of imagination. Come up with your own shit, something funny, surprising and timely. Otherwise, sayonara!
3. No links to articles on Huffington Post, Tech Crunch, Business Insider, Engadget, etc. I’ve been on the internet for quite a while. I visit these sites daily (except for Huff Post which is crap) and I know how to find them. If this is how you curate content it might not work for me. Instead, surprise me, wow me and tell me something that I don’t know.
There is one bonus rule to the Three Strikes:
4. Auto DM. Twitter is about having a conversation, right? When you meet new people at a party do you always answer with the same exact line? Didn’t think so. Please, please invest a minute in this relationship and show some genuine interest. Btw, for the past few years I would reply to these auto DM’s sent to our accounts with “Hey, great to connect, thanks! What are you working on now? I’d love to learn more!” The number of replies I got: zero.