Think like a Toddler and find your Voice on Twitter

Find Your Voice on Twitter.jpgAs the parent of a toddler (that’s my boy @xrowse in the pic) and as a lover of Twitter I couldn’t resist this guest post by Nicole Nicolay “NikNik” from MyTechOpinion.com.

For some, it’s hard enough finding your voice in a 500 word blog post. So when it comes to expressing your thoughts and opinions on Twitter in 140 characters or less, you’d think it would be even harder. Right?!

Well actually, finding your voice on Twitter can be a pretty painless process if you employ the right strategies. For those of us with kids, we “get it” right away. Twitter can be a lot like your 2 year old. It screams and whines and will bark orders at you all day (ex: give me….get me….follow me, etc). Parents know that getting your child to communicate with them is truly an art that requires patience and creativity. And Twitter is no different. So when it comes to finding your voice on Twitter, I suggest you start thinking like a toddler or how you would communicate with one!

The following list includes my top 10 tips for developing better communication  with toddlers on Twitter:

1. Toddlers have a limited vocabulary. So make your tweets simple and not too complicated. Do your best to tweet how you speak. Don’t overuse acronyms.

2. Toddlers have the attention span of flies. So you need you to get to the point. Think in titles and summarize. You wouldn’t read a chapter book without pictures word for word to 2 year old.

3. Toddlers like toys. So share helpful resources like links to smart blogs, industry reports, funny YouTube videos, free ebooks, etc.

4. Toddlers have favorite characters… The Wiggles, Backyardigans, Elmo, etc. So find a niche you know and are passionate about. Infuse your tweets with information about it, share your expertise, and foster relationships with others in your niche. Start a fan club or TwitterGroups for your niche interest.

5. Toddlers naturally embody a transparency radar. They can see right through you. So don’t be something you’re not. And especially don’t spam or sell to twits. If you’re a genuine twit you will get the respect you deserve.

6. Toddlers learn best from hands-on experiences. So be sure to share your most interesting daily happenings, life ponderings, and hair raising questions.

7. Toddlers can benefit from the right equipment. For example, a high chair, bib, and sippy cup can make for a cleaner and more efficient lunch. So take advantage of Twitter support tools. Utilize mobile and desktop apps to streamline the tweet process and be a more efficient conversationalist (Tweetdeck, Twittelator, Twitterific, Twitterberry, SnapTweet, Twitpic, etc.).

8. Toddlers like Kung Fu Panda and Tom & Jerry! So share a variety of media and expand your voice to include updates or links from: Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, Blip.fm, your blog posts, etc.

9. Toddlers can learn a lot from their peers. So read other twitter streams to get new ideas, style, etc. Remember to learn new ideas, but update them with your own twist upon implementation.

10. Toddlers rely on consistency. So be the same person online you are offline.

Once you understand that Twitter is not just a broadcasting tool used for barking orders…but a Web of communities with interest-based conversations, you’ll find your voice and a new respect for it in the process. Good luck and be nice…or I’ll put you on a time-out!

Comments

  • January 6, 2009

    Who comes up with the idea to write a post about thinking like a toddler? LOVE IT :)

  • January 6, 2009

    That barking orders thing… it’s not just the kids… it’s the significant others too. :)

  • January 6, 2009

    Great analogy! I have a 6- and 3-year old, and this is pretty spot-on, especially #2.

    Thanks for the smile =)

  • January 6, 2009

    Very well done, and what an interesting take on this. But if you’re really using Twitter like a toddler does that mean all of your Tweets have to be an endless stream of questions? :-)

  • January 6, 2009
    JiMpiSh
    @JiMpiSh

    This is only partially related, but I just got my son on twitter yesterday because he’s really starting to enjoy writing and spelling. It’s great practice, but it’s somewhat difficult to find other kids for him to tweet with.

    Are there any other parents that have created accounts for their children? Send me a DM and let’s connect ourselves and our kids!

  • January 6, 2009

    One of the coolest things with 2-3 year olds are that they can analyze situations very well with a few words. I think this post is not only a good approach to tweeting but also a good list on how to build your communication skills online in general.

  • January 6, 2009

    My eyes are opening :) Thanks for these helpful tips !

  • January 6, 2009

    Don’t forget to add sparkly things. Toddlers and tweeters are distracted by glitter and anything new.

    Seriously, great points and well made – plus, short enough to grab my attention. (Those of us who have been put through the wringer by toddlers may be getting more like them as we go along.)

  • January 6, 2009

    Wesley- A mom does. Actually, a TwitMom! Glad you like! :)

    Steven- Well, I AM working on the a Twitter -Spouse article. Both my hubby and I work in the social media space, in fact we both work out of the same home office. And we still use Twitter to talk to each other, even when seated back to back. Twitter came in REALLY handy over the holidays as I was sick and hubby wasn’t. So I would just DM him with orders like…”more tea”, “jello please”, ” a back rub would be really nice right about now”. Gotta love that!

    Chris- Thanks for returning the smile! :) I have an almost 3 and almost 5 year old. I was also a first and second grade teacher for 5 years….boy do I wish I had Twitter in the classroom. Even just conversing back and forth with teachers. Kids can be high maintenance for sure…but they also say the funniest things. During share time, I once had a kid tell the whole class he brought “diarrhea”….it was his diary.

    Jimpish- That’s actually a great idea! As long as everything is on lockdown, kids could work on their typing, spelling, and early writing skills. Nice! It would work especially well to group kids by age/ability level. My oldest is about to start Kindergarten in the fall…and I think Twitter would be a great tool for practicing spelling words (ex: using them in a sentence “tweet”).

  • January 6, 2009

    VERY Cute! :-) S (3.5) and Z (2) agree!

  • January 6, 2009

    Great idea, getting your kids online so early. If anywone is interested, we have been thinking the same way and are creating a space where all those classic early tweets [and lots of other life experiences] can be captured for posterity. Check out our site – if you like it pass it on.

  • January 6, 2009

    Fantastic analogy! So simple even a toddler could understand! I specifically enjoyed the transparency bullet point – very true!

  • January 6, 2009

    Darren – I know this article is meant for the grown-ups but the “Twitter for Kids intrigued me so I added the idea at GetSatisfaction:
    http://getsatisfaction.com/twitter/topics/twitter_for_kids

  • January 6, 2009

    Great advise – agreed! The beauty of Twitter is the fact that it forces you to be succint and to your point, rather than rambling on and having your audience lose interest. A good “business writing” tool as well.

  • January 6, 2009

    Great post, but you forgot the part where every @reply ends with “Why?” :)

    Thanks for the advice, though, it’s a great analogy!

  • January 7, 2009

    Gosh this make me smile! Very engaging – and I will definitely be putting these tips to good use!

    Seriously, some really good pointers here – thanks!

  • January 7, 2009

    Actually I’ve made a Twitter account for my kids. My daughter is 5 and we’re using it to help teach typing and spelling too. If you’d like to follow them just ask me @marcbattaglia.

  • January 7, 2009

    Great but funny its areal fact.

  • January 7, 2009

    quick and to the point….

  • January 7, 2009

    Brilliant! :)

    (as long as my Twitter doesn’t start whining at me, if it does, I’m outta there)

  • January 7, 2009

    I really like this post. I must become a toddler now and so do we.

  • January 7, 2009

    Great guest post! Really good advice.

  • January 7, 2009

    Nicole!
    As a mother of three, including one toddler who fits your above description to a “T”, I say BRAVA!!!! What a clever & supremely useful article. Loved it.

    Thank you so much!!
    Heather Allard
    The Mogul Mom

  • January 7, 2009

    As a tweep and mom to a 19 month old, I can totally relate to this post!! Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  • January 8, 2009

    Great post. It also helps if you outsource to a toddler to update your tweets.

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