I've created a timeline from the moment I started using Twitter in 2007, analysing the strategy and use I've made of this platform, right to the present, just as we're entering 2014. These are the results of the analysis:
2007 and 2008
I couldn't find my way around it! I needed to work out how this thing worked! Twitter? A bird? What a drag!
2009 and 2010
Twitter was a place where I would share my blogposts once a week. Yeah, it was OK. Everything else in it was just a machine gun endlessly firing information on social media and anything connected with it. Everything that fell into my hands was shared. I probably wasn't objective enough yet. 95% of the content I shared belonged to external sources. I spent almost 4 hours a day reading, learning, implementing. I was sleeping 5 hours a day on average (less so in 2009.)
I was possibly using Twitter for up to 3 hours a day. Unbelievable.
During 2011 I would massively share loads of links regarding social media, online marketing and Internet. Resources, best practices, newly-arrived platforms and tools, start-ups regarding the Internet and similar stuff. Most of the content came from blogs, platforms and English-speaking websites. This was possible thanks to the number of sources I was hooked up to on a daily basis. I spent two hours reading and filtering content (at night).
Meanwhile, among such content, I would also share the posts from both my blogs, in Spanish and in English. The workload then was less as I wasn't publishing on isragarcia.es every day (that would start at the end of 2011.) The ratio then was 85% external content vs. 15% own content. I used Twitter 2 hours a day on average, or slightly more.
In 2012, I decided to stay more human. I would look for interesting stories on my timeline and share them, without turning to the main platforms such as Mashable, TechCrunch, Social Media Today or the blogs on Social Media Examiner, INC, Brian Solis or Jeff Bullas to recommend valuable and interesting content with my community. This increased my interaction with Twitter users and significantly increased conversations regarding these stories. This, in turn, led also to my own content having more repercussion and a greater reach. This led to more connections, visits and, as a result, more leads.
I noticed how Twitter improved my efforts to market my contents. This made me take greater care on what I published. The ratio in 2012 was 70% external content vs. 30% own content. I realised at the time how important it is to becoming your own communication company.
I continued to decrease the time spent searching for information, reading and filtering contents, from two to one hour a day. The average use of Twitter that year must have been approximately 1.5 hours a day. Not bad at all!
2013 came. One thing was clear: once you regularly share interesting content from the same platforms, it's no longer a novelty, it's accessible to all and it's no longer relevant. If it becomes a routine, it no longer adds value. 60% of the platforms I was sharing from in 2012 had already reached saturation point. I say 60% as I'm always looking for places where I can find interesting ideas. Nowadays, the number of sources I work with is 400 blogs and 175 platforms or specialised sites. Of course, I don't read them all. In fact, I'm reading less and less.
There has been a significant change in the way I use Twitter this year. I stopped sharing as much external content from other sources, although I continue to use what I consider to be the star platforms: Social Media Today, FastCompany, eMarketer, INC, Chris Brogan or SmartBrief. I've shared the best content from these, but in an irregular way. I'm no longer necessarily sharing content from these platforms every 2 or 3 days. The content I've been producing daily has been up to 5 times the amount I produced in 2010, for instance. Projects, ideas, collaborations, speeches, blogs, adventures, challenges, etc. I've simply become my own communication enterprise. Another great change is that I've stopped being connected to Twitter during the day. I never log on while I'm working at my computer. I only check it out using my smartphone or tablet and the time I spend on it is 30-45 minutes. Lucky me!
The ratio this year has been 30% external content vs. 70% own content. That 30% external content is shared as follows: 15% is from selected sources, 10% from contents I've come across during the day and the remaining 5% I dedicate to contents I've found from anonymous people who have great stories to tell.
The time I've spent to reading, searching, filtering and absorbing contents this year is 30 minutes a day, maximum. Obviously, my search is now more clearly guided and intuitive and my expectations much higher.
Above all, I've tried to stay human first and foremost. I've answered and connected 99% of the times, with the remaining 1% left to the "not worth my time" segment. One of the things that best works for me is asking questions. Asking specific users, or asking the entire world; asking out of curiosity. You always get some sort of answer.
2014? Will my ratio of external content continue to diminish? Will I stop publishing so much of my own content? Will I look for more personal stories to share? Will I use Twitter for longer every day or less? What will be my strategy? Will I publish more of my own posts per day? I frankly don't know. What I do know is that I'll continue to work towards creating and sharing the content that creates a greater change in you.
Photo credit: Neil Cummings.