How to use twitter

Figuring out how to use Twitter was one of the best things I’ve ever done as a .NET software developer, there’s a vibrant intertwined community that deeply cares. Here’s the instruction manual that I wish I had when I was first starting out.

  • Your avatar is very very very important have something distinctive and don’t change it ever unless it’s to get a professional mugshot taken. Changing your avatar damages other peoples mental association of who you are and will set your progress back dramatically in the early years when people are getting to know you.
  • Use the same avatar in Slack and GitHub as you do on Twitter. Be consistent.
  • Ignore the twitter new user onboarding workflow. Don’t follow super star personalities like Kanye West (even if you like Kanye) or the media as they will drown out the real opportunities on twitter.
  • Use this feature to block anything related to American politics (if you are not american) otherwise twitter is a super depressing place at times. I mute the following words: president, Republican, Democrat, Congress, Trump but deliberately follow a couple people who are very active politically from right-wing and left-wing that often broadcast views that oppose mine. This balance is important.
  • Start with following @dotnetoss and then follow anyone who is building stuff.
  • Over time you will learn things about people, you’ll start to be able to stereotype what someones interests in software development is and the domain (security, distributed, mobile, backend, frontend) they operate in. This knowledge is critical. You put the same amount of effort into this as you would get to know a co-worker you want to get to know.
  • Anytime they are sharing something on twitter that is an opportunity to help them out with the problem they have or to create content that makes that person looks good. Two examples:
  1. #trainops - I saw some person on a train using Octopus Deploy and deliberately tweeted it out as they could use it as part of their marketing content.
  1. My daughter was playing baby smash by Scott Hanselman, and I snapped a video to show a coworker how Twitter works and commented that Scott will probably retweet it, which he did. Thanks Scott. David Burella of Microsoft saw some of my remarks regarding that it would be neat to have it in the windows store and setup a live-coding session with Scott to convert the app and make it reality. Double win!




Once you have above mastered, something cool happens.

  • These people you interact with on Twitter usually travel internationally, often - very often. I’ve lost count of the amount of beer I’ve purchased for people in exchange for IOU’s where they have helped me out when I’ve been in a jam. The same is also true in reverse.
  • When you leave your employer and eventually you will, these relationships on Twitter will still be there. The people you interact with on Twitter are your co-workers and will be with you for life if you treat them well.