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Sweet or Bitter Tweet on Twitter

by Keith Bond on 10/21/2009 10:29:09 AM

This Post is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

If you were to ask my four year old if there’s any such thing as too many tweets, he would emphatically say “NO!”  To him, a ‘tweet’ is something with lots of sugar.  And the more the better.  I too enjoy ‘treats’ – sometimes too much.  Once, years ago, a co-worker brought some dipped chocolates to work.  He told us all to help ourselves to a few.  I eagerly obliged.  When I popped the chocolate into my mouth, it tasted anything but sweet.  It was a flavor completely foreign to me and totally unexpected.  It was gross.  Assuming I just picked poorly, I chose once more and popped yet another chocolate into my mouth.  I suddenly realized that I had fallen victim to a practical joke – chocolate covered silk worm larvae!  Yuck! Sometimes something undesirable, even awful, is disguised as something desirable and sweet (no offense to those who like silk worm larvae).

Also, when I am on a long road trip, I often get way too much junk food into my system.  It’s just too convenient to have a bag of junk next to me.  To keep me occupied while driving, my hand habitually goes from bag to mouth and back again.  Even though I may enjoy the treats, there is definitely a thing as too much.  I end up feeling sick.

Both of these ills can also happen with Twitter if not used properly. It is possible to tempt potential clients, then turn them off by offering a tweet that is not what they want or expect.  And you could potentially make them ill by giving them too much to swallow at once.

I admit that I haven’t done Twitter for very long and I am certainly no expert on the subject.  I have, however observed a few things that I would like to address.  There has been quite a bit written lately about content (how to effectively tweet - post sweet not bitter tweets), so I will focus on the quantity issue.

I follow a variety of people on twitter.  I follow them because they have something of value to me.  Their insights or links are useful and informative.  One of the downsides to Twitter is that tweets can quickly get lost as more recent updates come in.  To see everything, you would need to click through multiple pages or else be constantly checking for updates.  For those who use it like me, only the first page of the most recent tweets are read. Because of this, it was frustrating to me the other day when I logged into my Twitter account and found that it was bombarded with tweet after tweet from someone I recently started to follow.  I valued the person’s insights, but was given way too much at one time.  I follow several people and want to see what each of them have to say, not just one person.  Is it possible to send out too many tweets?  I only log in a couple times a day, so for me the answer is ‘yes’.  Perhaps others feel differently.   Some people may log in so often that it isn’t a problem.

But this does raise an issue for me.  I want my tweets to be seen, and I am sure that you do to.  Do you become one of those who sends so many to ensure that they are seen?  Maybe you don’t realize, but are just tweet happy.  Or are you like me and think that too much leaves a sour or even bitter taste in people’s mouth?

I suppose that most tweets are unseen by most people.  I don’t have any data to support this other than my experience as a follower.  Many won’t see your tweets, because other updates will push yours off the page.  But, some will, and if you have meaningful tweets, they will be re-tweeted.  Re-tweeting will enable your messages to spread across the web and they will be potentially seen by countless people.

So, how often should you tweet?  In my opinion, 3 to 5 sweet tweets up to about 3 times a day seem about right.  Too much is over-kill.  Too few and they will get lost.

In short:

  • Update with 3 to 5 tweets about 3 times a day.
  • Realize that many tweets won’t be read by many of your followers each time.  But someone will read them.
  • Make your tweets meaningful.  They are more likely to be re-tweeted, resulting in them being read by more people.

As a newbie, these are my observations.  What are yours?  What about you who are more seasoned?  Am I on the right track or way off base?

Share your thoughts and insights.

Best Wishes,

Keith Bond


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Related Posts:

Why I Love Twitter

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The Top 10 Reasons I Might Want to Tweet Instead of Make Art

Do Artists Need Twitter?

Topics: Keith Bond | Twitter 

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Lisa Call
Your comments are not unusual about twitter. It's not intended as an email system where all of your followers see everything. The more people you follow the less obvious it is that there are some people that tweet much more often than others.

I believe the solution is to use a platform such as tweetdeck to read tweets. In this way you can organize those you follow into groups and then rarely miss a tweet they make.

In this way you can follow those that tweet more often with getting stressed about it.

Clint Watson
Lisa - I agree with what you are saying - having software to organize people I follow into groups helped quite a bit. I have small group that I never want to miss their tweets, but can "jump in" to the entire stream of people I follow when I'm killing time...or when one catches my eye. Thanks.

Keith Bond
Lisa and Clint,

Thanks. Being somewhat new to this, I wasn't familiar with tweetdeck. I'll look into it.

Lori Landis
Keith, I certainly agree with you. I have written a note to people who put tweet after tweet after tweet 10-20 of them. They are disrespectful of others and have poor manners. If they continue I block them. Why follow someone who doesn't care about others?

Lori Woodward
Keith, I manage those I follow with Tweetdeck as well. I use four columns. The far left has the tweets of everyone that I follow.. it's moving constantly. I just glance at this column, and like clint does, if something catches my eye, I'll take a closer look.

the middle-left column shows any tweets that include my tweet handle: @Loriwords These tweets are called, "Mentions" on Tweetdeck.

the middle right column displays any DMs (Direct messages) that I receive or send

The Far Right column is a group where I enter only those Tweeple who I want and need to hear from. There are fewer than 20 on that list.

Tweetdeck also has it's own URL shortener, search icon, and you can manage more than one of your own Twitter accounts at a time.

Lori Woodward
Didn't someone in the Bible die from worm larvae? Herod?? Sounds dangerous - as well as just plain "icky".

Were the larvae truly dead? Give me the answer on Twitter - @Loriwords ;-)

I relatively new to social networking, twitter, etc.
Although I have an account and a few followers,I have not focused on twitter very much yet,possibly for a few reasons.
I have been more focused on my primary website(FASO), my blog (blogger), youtube,and Facebook, most recently a facebook "page" rather than my profile.
I like the ability to automatically message between them, including twitter and the having gadgets displaying on blogger. When I blog or update my FB page, I am
happy to have figured out how to make it an automatic tweet. Because I am attaching artwork or videos, I tend to kick it off in FB or blog.
I can even do that from a mobile device in a pinch. So I have to learn the importance of just sending out a quick sentence through twitter...can't figure out that necessity yet.
All this after actually painting...phew!

Nancy Pingree Hoover
As I read the article "Sweet or Bitter Tweet on Twitter" by Keith Bond, I knew exactly what Keith was talking about!! I, too, am new to twitter and I am following several people who are relevant to me and to my career. I am very interested in what they have to say, but when I sign in and find a whole page or even half a page taken up with nothing but one person's tweets I want to scream! I have a dial-up connection and to have to load page after page just to read what people have sent out that day is a real time drainer for me and gets on my patience. Thus, I sadly have had to delete a few people I was following. It's amazing how it cleaned out my list of daily tweets to read and I was able to see everyone's I was interested in without spending hours doing so!

With that thought in mind, I try to pay attention to what I tweet about. Is it relevant to the people who follow me? Since I am an artist and that is why people follow me, I keep (or at least "try" to keep) my tweets relevant to my career as an artist. Since I dislike so many tweets from one person in a day, I limit my tweets not only to relevant information, but also in quantity. Keith mentioned a tremendously big number to me. 3-5 tweets three times a day. WOW! I only send out three a day total - tops!!! But then again, I have so much to do online that I try to limit my time so I can get more done and still get in painting time.

When I first got on on twitter, I remember reading people's tweets that said, "In the studio now and ready to paint!" So I started to post tweets like that. Then I thought about it and realized that it was not a relevant nor important tweet. In other words, it a wasted tweet. So now my standard for tweeting is, if I can't post a topic of real interest in it, I need to hold off until I do have something truly interesting to say. Then I don't "waste" my tweets nor do I over run my followers pages with completely irrelevant tweets.

Thanks for a great article Keith!!! Loved it!

Nancy Pingree Hoover

Keith Bond

I'm still alive and it's been 15 or 16 years since I ate the larvae! It was from a can he got from an oriental food store. There's more regulation now than in bible times, so it was safe.

I poured the juice in his soda when he wasn't looking! Paybacks are great.

Keith Bond

I too try to limit my time on-line so I can paint. Some days I don't tweet at all. Sometimes I only send 3 or 4 tweets. But on days when I am able, the number in the article would be my ideal. It may be too high for you, and that's fine. Most important is your studio time.


I haven't gotten into Facebook yet. I'm dreading another thing to do on-line, but I keep hearing how valuable it is. When to paint?

Nancy Pingree Hoover
Keith - Right now that small number is fine for me, but I do hope to have enough of interest to be able to post more soon. And you should try Facebook. Get a fan page. It is a valuable marketing tool, so long as you don't let it suck you in for even more time, which I have let it do to me .... until now that is. I have reorganized my time so that I am spending much more time in the studio now!!! Only problem for me is, when I post a new piece I've completed now, I've got to post it to or 6 different online locations. THAT can be a royal pain!

K Cooper
Hi Keith, maybe there are some of us born to tweet, and some of us not? The phrase "too much already" applies here, I think. I am pretty much a speed reader and have a fast internet connection (with pity for the dial-up person)but it's still too much. And benefits? Are they really there, or are we just told they are, and because we are so busy reading, we haven't had time to check that part out? I guess you can put me in the "not a fan" column, but being a glutton for challenge will probably keep on trying.

Later, K Cooper

Nancy Pingree Hoover
Just a little note here. I basically rate twitter and Facebook's success as to whether or not they lead a person to either my blog or my website. Once the person gets to one of those two locations, I have a far greater chance of either selling a piece or getting a commission. According to the statistics on my website, people have been coming there from twitter and Facebook. I have been commissioned by people I have met online, so it really does happen!

For those of you who do not currently have the ability to see any stats on your website or blog, you can set it up using Google Analytics (


Keith Bond

Thanks for sharing how social media is working for you. That is encouraging for us all to keep at it. I too have found clients and potential clients from these efforts.

Clint Watson
Nancy - that's great advice, for our customers (FASO customers) - we have a new feature under Statistics->Basic FASO Stats -> FASO Analytics Alpha

It's basically our version of GOogle Analytics with all kinds of cool goodness especially for artists. It's still in a "test" mode but feel free to play with it.

And yes, just like Google Analytics it will tell you if you're getting traffic from facebook or twitter, just click on "Top Referring Sites" :-)

Charlotte Herczfeld
Keith, glad you survived the larvae! With friends like that... larvae, ick! =:-o The article and the comments have been very helpful, especially the parts on Tweetdeck. I got seriously overwhelmed after two days on Twitter, a good while back when Clint invited us there.

Facebook is manageable, as you can block out people's virtual gardening and horoscopes, virtual poker winnings, and other "white noice", without blocking the persons. You can just ignore virtual pillow fights, too. OK, those things are what annoy me personally, so I'm glad they can be blocked.

You make new friends on Facebook, that is, widen your network, and, you can create a tribe of followers by having a fan-page. That is way more business oriented.

Rationing online time is a necessity. Oh, and keeping one's agreement with oneself to ration it. :-)

Jennifer Moore
Keith, great post. Too, too funny about pouring the juice into your "friend's" drink! LOL! Love it!

I have found that being able to link my blog-Facebook-Twitter is a huge time-saver.

1. My blog's RSS feed is on my Facebook fan page. When I update my blog, the post appears on my fan page.

2. My fan page is linked to Twitter. When I make a post to my fan page, it gets Tweeted.

3. I think my blog is also connected to Twitter.

SO. When I update my blog, it appears on FB and Twitter both without my having to do anything more. When I post anything to my Facebook page, it gets Tweeted.

HUGE time-saver! I'm afraid I don't remember the process for connecting my fan page to Twitter, though. :(

As far as my habits go,I log into Twitter 2-3 times a week. I read the first page of Tweets, and that's it. I reply as warranted, read any relevant links, etc. I then check my @ replies and respond to any of those that warrant it. I then check my list of followers and update as needed. This all takes maybe 15 minutes.

If I'm just directly Tweeting, I tend to Tweet small things,like what project I'm working on or some small, personal insight. I like a mix of networking and socializing, though. Everyone is different.

Does anyone know if Tweetdeck or something like it is available for Linux? We tried a program, but it did not work.


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