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Does Twitter Distract From or Inspire Your Blogging?

You really have to spend some time on Twitter to appreciate it’s value. One ten-minute visit isn’t enough. There are so many thoughts and ideas flying past at the speed of light it seems. Until your eyes become accustomed to following the stream you really don’t feel the whole impact or grasp the full potential. However, there’s a fine line. Spend too much time on Twitter and you can easily become distracted from the things that matter most, like blogging.

Every time I go to Twitter I know I’m going to see at least one Tweet that says, “I need to get back to work! Twitter is so distracting!” And I’ve heard horror stories about bloggers who’ve abandoned their blog in favor of swimming in the Twitter stream. In my opinion, though, I think these bloggers probably allow many distractions into their lives, not just Twitter. Twitter is just a handy excuse.

I literally spent four years arguing with myself over the benefits of Twitter. I’d start a new account and make a half-hearted attempt and it always seemed like a distracting waste of time. Today, though, I find Twitter inspiring – and I only actually spend about 20 minutes a week reading Tweets.

How Can Twitter Inspire Your Blogging?

There are two types of people on Twitter – those you follow, and those who follow you – but it all boils down to this: People follow you for any number of reasons, but they only read your Tweets if you provide something valuable. And that’s very important to remember.

Bloggers waste inordinate amounts of time cooking up Re-Tweeting schemes and trying to create the perfect viral Tweet. They follow other bloggers for the sole purpose of getting a Follow Back so they can increase their number of followers in the hopes that all those followers will equal more Re-Tweets. It’s really ridiculous the amount of time some bloggers waste on Twitter tactics and of course it doesn’t really do anything for their blog. But instead of blaming it on their tactics, they just say Twitter is too distracting and it’s not worth the effort.

What these bloggers don’t understand is most people, like me, use Twitter as a tool. If the first Tweet I see from you contains a promotional link to a sales page, I won’t follow you and I might even block you. I use Twitter as a tool to help make me a better-informed blogger and human being, and I don’t want your promotional crap clogging up my Twitter stream.

I follow people who Tweet about topics I can use for blog ideas and these are also topics that interest me personally. After all, I think most of us blog in a niche that we’re passionate about. Yes, their Tweets contain links, generally to their own blogs, but not to sales pages – they lead to relevant articles. Articles I can use for inspiration for my own blog posts.

By following only those people who can enhance my life, both personally and professionally, I’ve minimized the amount of time I spend on Twitter. If I am distracted, it’s by something valuable. And I don’t have to waste time trying to craft the perfect Tweet because my followers and I all share the same interests, they haven’t been hoodwinked into following me.

Spend a few hours of quality time on Twitter and carefully choose who you follow. When you do, Twitter will become an inspiration for your blogging, too.

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6 Comments (Add one)

  1. A. J. Sefton

    I am an historian and twitter inspires my blogging when I follow other historians and their interesting discoveries. Distractions happen when I follow tweets I have no interest in. It happens sometimes.

  2. dan
    dan

    I have to admit that twitter can be very distracting. There may as well be a sticker right on my laptop that says something like don’t be distracted. Write a goal before going onto twitter, or anything like it so that you’re likely to get something out of it. Save your entertainment for the end of the day, or whenever you’re done accomplishing for the day / week.

  3. Jennifer cunningham

    Excellent points were made in this post. As bloggers we do lose sight sometimes that twitter is just a tool for inspiration of another post. If we look at twitter as a tool to help us research topics it will waste less time.

  4. Sita Gabriel

    Twitter inspires me as I blog daily. It gets me inspiration to blog, and it’ a great tool to share my ideas with other bloggers and share my content to get more traffic to my blog. Distraction happens when I watch other tweets and follow them, tweets I don’t like that much, but I am interested in seeing them.

  5. Nick Lewis

    I think it’s a symbiotic relationship.

    Blogging in isolation away from Twitter will ensure that you *wont* have the finger on the pulse of any conversation you wish to contribute to, whereas spending all your time on Twitter just engaging with other people’s content will guarantee that you will not produce any of your own.

    As with so much in life, it is about balance and moderation.

  6. Chadrack

    Great post here. I must confess I’m one of those who have not really found any usefulness in twitter. I’ve tried several times to put in more time to really see what happens but all to no avail. Will see what I can do with these tips.