“You may not post duplicative or substantially similar Tweets on one account or over multiple accounts you operate.”
In the past, I used Buffer to share a piece of content across several days. People may not see your tweet the first time, so I scheduled subsequent shares to increase the chances of it being seen.
In response to this new restriction, I adapted in two ways:
1. I began to retweet my own tweets 😎
2. When scheduling subsequent shares of content, I’d vary the sharing text, so that the tweets were not “substantially similar.”
In the past, I’d see people retweet themselves and think it was cheesy. I’ve since done a 180. Retweeting yourself adheres to Twitter’s Terms of Service. And, it’s equivalent to sharing the original tweet at a subsequent day and time.
But it feels odd each time I do it.
So I started experimenting with a feature Twitter released in late 2017: threads. The Twitter Help Center has a guide on how to create a thread on Twitter.
Two Ways to Create Threads
The first way to create a thread is to stage all of the tweets up front:
Compose a tweet, then click the “+” icon to compose the next tweet. If your tweets build off one another (i.e. order is important), then make sure you stage the sequence properly. When users come across any tweet in your thread, a “Show this thread” link is displayed, which allows them to see the entire thread.
Your tweets will be listed in the order you staged them.
The second way to create a thread is to view the permalink of a tweet, then enter the next tweet in the “Add another Tweet” area:
Next, I’ll cover benefits of Twitter threads and provide tips on how to use them.
Benefit: Get Tweets Noticed
The half-life of a tweet is short. If you don’t receive clicks, likes and retweets in the first 30–60 minutes after tweeting, the Twittersphere moves on. Your tweet is forgotten.
That’s why we used scheduling tools in the first place!
With a thread containing 10 tweets, it’s not a single tweet that may live or die, it’s 10x that amount. Each tweet in a thread has its own permalink and can be individually clicked on, liked or retweeted. If you’re sharing a link, the thread gives it 10x more chances of being clicked on.
You can add tweets to a thread over time, reaching people who were not on Twitter when you originally tweeted. I’ll cover more on this in the “Tips” section below.
Benefit: Share Insights and Commentary
When I share content, I like to provide the reasons I found it interesting or informative. When Twitter was at 140 characters, this was a challenge. With limited characters available, I usually tweeted just the title and a few hash tags. That made my tweet look like everyone else’s.
When Twitter expanded to 280 characters, we got a lot more freedom to add commentary. I took advantage of the extra space and composed tweets like this:
By adding my own commentary, I accomplish the following:
1. I make my tweets distinctive
2. I let authors know that I enjoyed their piece — and why
3. I convey my own knowledge and experience
And now with threads, I can take things to a whole new level.
Here’s an example:
Note: Click on the tweet (above) to view the thread at twitter.com or in the Twitter app.
In the original tweet, I make full use of my 280 characters. And then I add threaded tweets to share additional takeaways I found valuable.
Now, let’s move on to a few tips.
Tip: Add to the Latest Tweet in the Thread
When you compose your thread in one step, getting the right order is simple. When you want to add to an existing thread, it’s easy to create unintentional branches.
To prevent this:
1. Find the thread, then click “Show this thread”
2. Scroll to the very bottom of the thread and click “Add another Tweet”
3. Alternatively, click on the last tweet in the thread (you’ll see the tweet text enlarged) and look for the same “Add another Tweet”
4. Avoid clicking the “Reply” bubble in any mid-thread tweet. That will result in an unintended branch
Now add your tweet text.
Tip: Bring Tweets Back from the Dead
I once composed a Twitter thread to make a point about Netflix:
In this scenario, threads were used in a fashion similar to publishing a blog post. More often, I use threads to share a piece of content. I’ll add 3–5 tweets to the thread, then gauge the response.
Days or weeks later, I come back to past threads to try and get some more engagement around them. Here’s what I try:
1. Add more tweets to the thread. When people see the new tweets in their stream, they may click “Show this thread” and engage with any of the tweets in the thread
2. Add more tweets and tag people. For example, I find someone’s quote from the article, share that quote and tag them
3. Retweet a tweet that’s part of the thread
Going back to my earlier point about retweeting myself, doing it as part of a thread now has so many more possibilities!
I’m using threads to provide commentary and gain attention for the content I share on Twitter. I’m interested in hearing how you’re using threads. Thanks! 🙏
[UPDATE 08/18/2019] I used a Twitter thread to share photos from a recent vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico:
[UPDATE 4/29/2018] To see more examples of threads I created, visit this thread:
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