By Scott Kleinberg, Tribune Newspapers
March 21, 2013
Do you remember your first word? I don't. Knowing me, it was something silly like ketchup.
My first tweet? Sure, I remember that. And even if you don't, Twitter is making it easy to find out. Now anyone can request their Twitter archive for a complete history of their life on Twitter, 140 characters at a time.
So, back to my tweets. I have certainly come a long way since 2008, when @scottkleinberg began with "Trying out my own Twitter account." I think just about everyone started out with something similar. In general, I used to livetweet a lot of Steelers games and talk about computers.
Here are a few more gems from the collection:
•"I've always secretly wanted to wow the judges on American Idol. And now I know how: Wear a bikini. But is my body ready? Yeah, I think it is."
•"Pirates lose but I had a churro. It all evens out."
•"I wonder what it means when you buy an umbrella and that automatic coupon machine spits out ones for teeth whitener."
A bikini? Really, Scott? Here's where the learning from your mistakes comes in. While that tweet made me LOL several times now, it's not the kind of thing I'd tweet today. For several reasons.
Going back four or five years, many of my tweets were focused on me. Of course, that was before the social media rule of thirds. I've talked about that before, but to recap:
•One third of the time, post about you and/or your brand. So things related to you and where you work or blog posts.
•One third of the time, post about the things you are interested in but don't use the usual sources. For example, company news from another publication.
•One third of the time, just be you.
While the rule of thirds is generally easy to follow and widely distributed, some people spend too little time informing and way too much time oversharing. As my So Social cohort Amy Guth stated in a recent column, "if you never want to have to defend it to your future kids or grandkids, future boss, constituents, or company, skip posting it online."
I would recommend requesting your archive. Ultimately, it will make you a better communicator on social media. To do so, go to https://twitter.com/settings/account and scroll to the bottom. There, you'll see "Your Twitter Archive." When it's ready to download, an email with instructions on how to access the Excel file will be sent to the address in your profile. Don't wait too long between receiving the email and downloading, because the link will expire. No worries if that happens; you can always request a new email.
If nothing else, you can always make fun of yourself on Twitter by sharing some of your favorites. Or you can hide the file in a folder somewhere and never speak of those days again. Either way.
What questions do you have about social media? Tweet them to @scottkleinberg or @amyguth. We might select yours for use in a future column.
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