How to write truly nauseating tweets and updates

write,tweets,updates,nauseating,funny jokes, hilarious

Here’s my little Sweetie nibbling at his breakfast – isn’t he adorable?

I spend a lot of time on the social media and am fascinated with the banality and downright lies some people post. Here, then, is my tribute to some of the more cringe-making posts we see…

The wakeup call
Morning everyone, just off to the first of 17 meetings today after checking 106 emails and eating a healthy breakfast of wheat chaff, diced poison ivy root and ass’s milk. Busy, busy! [Read more…]

How not to be rude on Twitter – quickie post

Twitter,rude,manners,tweets,favorites,retweetsA quickie post on online manners … how well do you look after your new followers, retweeters and favoriters on Twitter?

Do they just receive a banged-out autoresponse that fools no-one in its insincerity?

Or do they get the feeling that maybe – just maybe – a real person might have written this message of acknowledgement? [Read more…]

How to add value (and traffic) to retweets and shares

Write longer comments and tweets to get better trafficIf you use social media a lot you’ll often find yourself sharing and retweeting not only your own posts, tweets and articles, but also other people’s. Sharing helps to spread the word – but there’s so much more mileage you can get with just a few extra words.

I have found this out by accident, really, by watching my visits / reads stats here on HTWB. Posts of my own that I share get significantly higher traffic if I write a short (in the case of Twitter, very short) piece to accompany the title and URL, than they do if I just share title and URL alone.

Again in the case of Twitter where realistically the limit is 120 characters max, often it’s better not to use the title, but instead write a “teaser” line that’s more personal and less direct than a title can be.

For example … my recent article Restaurant jargon: gastronomic terms demystified got a respectable number of visits from Twitter when I tweeted the title with the link. But when I tweeted You’ll never be able to read a menu and keep a straight face again the visits shot up by about 40 percent.

Sometimes there’s only room on Twitter  for you to insert a couple of words. But even that can spark extra interest in the tweet, among your followers. For example (my comments in caps)…

BBC News – Sweden: Wedding ring ‘found on carrot’ after 16 years // 24 CARROT GOLD?

Brains of rats connected allowing them to share information via internet // AH, SO WE HAVE THE RATNET NOW

Edinburgh Zoo Pandas Listen To Marvin Gaye’s Mood Music Before Hanky Panky // MARVIN GAYE? MEH

BBC News – ‘Oldest marathon man’ Fauja Singh runs last 10km race // WONDERFUL MAN!

How to make a money vision board! // GREAT IDEA TO INSPIRE YOUR BUSINESS

As you know, Pinterest is mainly about sharing images rather than getting people to link through and read something. I get much more traffic from Pinterest now that I write a short descriptive piece of the article concerned and make it clear what I want readers to do next, rather than just look at the picture. For example…

This is the pin I wrote for the restaurant jargon article …

Restaurant jargon: gastronomic terms demystified, part 1 … I love eating out – don’t you? But so often we can be disappointed by the realities emerging from the yummy-sounding jargon on the menus. Here is part one of my, er, interpretations of those terms. Please add your thoughts to these ….!

The cover of my new book How To Smile Through Cancer, with these words to describe it and make it clear that it’s a new book, not a picture:

How To Smile Through Cancer … Despite many cancers now becoming much more survivable, in itself it is not funny. What can be funny, though, are the often hilarious things that can happen when dealing with doctors, nurses, hospitals, chemo-baldness, prostheses, ultra-sound tests, examinations and loads more ancillary issues which invariably you trip over while going through your cancer journey. That’s what this new book is all about…

And another article which got a lot of traffic from Pinterest, OK, hands up! Who stole SOCIAL?

OK. Hands up! Who stole SOCIAL? …If you’re fond of writing, there’s nothing more irritating than a bunch of knobhead technofreaks coming along and snatching a perfectly respectable word to use for their own nefarious purposes … read on for some laughs with humorist and business writer Suzan St Maur from

Do the same for your shares of other people’s articles, posts, tweets, etc. and help increase their traffic too

About an article in the Harvard Business Review, based on Don’t anesthetize your colleagues with bad writing

This is an interesting follow-up of an article (not one of mine, sadly!) called “Don’t anesthetize your colleagues with bad writing” that appeared in the Harvard Business Review a while ago – there’s a link to the original article further down on this page FYI…

About an article written by a colleague whose opinions I respect very much, How to fix three common online marketing mistakes …

Good article by my friend and client Ann Handley from the US site Do you agree with what she says about social media?

About another article, Writing with personality for a business blog

Really excellent blog post by a friend of my son’s, who has graduated from Uni and got a job in Social Media, God help him… 😉

About a case study of employees with disabilities, Best practice case studies, the National Trust

The National Trust run a course called Passport to Your Future, the aim of which is to encourage people from a diverse range of backgrounds to think about working in the Heritage sector. This is the story of one young man who benefited hugely from the scheme

blogging,writing,blog writing,business,newsletter,,How To Write Better,Suzan St MaurAnd so-on. It’s not rocket science; it merely takes a little longer to add a sentence or two to explain why you like the post or article, and why others should like it. It’s almost a courtesy; and it shows that the share has been done by a live human, not a software robot. It really does increase traffic, too.

What are your experiences with shares and how much to write about them?

More ways to generate value (and traffic): (instant downloads)

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write
“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English
The MAMBA Way to make your words sell“…how to think  your way to superbly successful sales writing

photo credit: kdonovan_gaddy via photopin cc

Twitter tweets: twiterature or bulltwit?

Twitter tweets: twiterature or bulltwit?During my meanderings on Twitter I find I’m becoming increasingly irritated by tweets that try to cram so much junk into those 140 characters that the message can only be read with the help of an electron microscope.

Do these affect you the same way? And do you agree with me that a lot of junk not only obscures a business message, but also can make you feel positively hostile towards the product or service being punted?

Twitterjunk rules…

First of all there’s the adverb grabber, e.g. “Easily and simply write your autobiography: quickly get it written, published and selling well – become a published author http://etc.etc.” Am I really going to believe I can go from diddly squat to a published author selling loads of books in 140 characters? Stop, draw breath, and tell me something more realistic.

Then we have the hashtag queens …  “Great widgets #smallbusiness #bigbusiness #majorcorporations #nonprofits #littlecornershops #SMEs #younameit #whocares” http://etc.etc” No, no, dear. Tell us a bit about what you’re selling rather than shriek out your target markets like a parrot with its tail on fire.

Next, there are the never-mind-what-I-do-or-who-I-am-just-click-on-the-bloody-link business Tweeters. Unless a Tweeter identifies him/herself I’m damned if I’m going to click on a bald, lone link without any accompanying explanation. Why should we? Because we like the look of your beady eyes in the thumbnail pic? I don’t think so.

Finally, we have the Tweet-and-run artists. These people schedule their business Tweets 6 months ahead and then move on to other things, forgetting that Tweets for their money-making scheme in time for Christmas run all the way through to June. And especially during times of national stress like freezing weather and ankle-deep snow, their Tweets about cut-price lawn mowers are just the weensiest bit inappropriate. Does this encourage me to buy from them? Not.

Twittermation: OK, but within reason

OK, many business people haven’t got the time to supervise personally every Tweet that goes out on their behalf, especially if they use one of the myriad automated Tweetomators available now. But for heaven’s sake can we please encourage business Tweeting – whether automated or not – that:

  • Makes sense without throwing too much information at you
  • Is written in comprehensible English, not a string of lame adverbs and adjectives
  • Has fewer than 18 hashtags so leaving space for some information
  • Gives Tweetees information relevant to the time and day

What do you think? Could Twitter Tweets use some good old fashioned editing to make them comprehensible and reader-friendly?

Share your views, please …

Tweet on tweautifully… with my help!

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English
photo credit: Newchurch ™ via photopin cc

Hi sucker, auto-thanks for the Twitter follow

There has been a lot of discussion recently on some of our online platforms about the nature of auto-responder direct messages on Twitter – especially those in response to a “follow.”

I can understand the need for the rich and famous to use an automated response to “follows” from their fans. We must assume those pour in by the dozen every minute 24/7, and for the stars to answer each message individually would really eat into their manicure time.

But when it comes to the likes of me – or many, many other small business operators like me – why do we send new followers a standardized DM? These must assume that all Twitter’s 75 million-odd users are identical clones of each other, which is a bit of an insult to someone who has followed you because s/he thought you seem interesting.

A few examples from my inbox in recent days…

140…er, how many?

Hi Fellow Tweeters, I have just found the most responsive marketing platform on the net…. and what’s more it’s totally FREE…. if fact

That’s right we are launching our own TV channel and are looking for suitable businesses and individuals to promote their businesses, if you

Geography? Whassat?

Welcome to (name)! I am looking forward to learning more about you. Check out our guide to (city many thousands of miles away) at

Let’s not waste time on foreplay

Thanks for following me. If you want to make money on Twitter check this out: http://xxx.yyy

Excitable types

Thank you for following me!!! I look forward to following your tweets!!!!! What are your interests? Let’s share ideas soon…

Thx 4 follow! Following U back. Please enjoy these 5 free podcasts on writing & publishing from @xxxxxx http:yyy.zzz

No such thing as a free lunch

Thanks for following…(name)…founder…download your FREE marketing gift here…http://xxx.yyyy

This is Tweetbook, isn’t it?

It’s great that new friends are now just a click away…. Lets connect on Facebook and share great value together > http://xxx.yyyy

I appreciate you following me. Have you seen my Facebook page http://xxx.yyyy

So how should you handle follows on Twitter?

For my own purposes, anyone who follows me on Twitter deserves a personal response from me. I know that many of such “people” who follow me are automated and driven purely by the statistics I tweet about and all that.

But although I can determine the difference between genuine tweets and those set up by the spammers hiding behind names and pictures of interesting women offering all kinds of skills from needlepoint to S&M, I don’t want to take the chance on losing contact with someone who might be interested in my business offerings, and/or be interested in becoming a buddy who shares hobbies, views, etc.

Yes, it takes time, but it’s worth it

When a new follower shows a profile, I check to see if anything I’ve written may be of interest to them. This can be, in order of preference:

1. An article or post here on

2. One of my nonfiction books

3. An article I’ve written for BirdsOnTheBlog or other site

4. A relevant article that someone else has written

5. A relevant book that someone else has written

I compose my “thanks for following” note with words to the effect of “you may find this article about (whatever) useful” and add the appropriate link. If there’s room, I might also add a personal comment like “Hi fellow Canuck (Canadian)” or “your new book sounds great” – etc.

Then, I send that tweet as an open reply – not as a DM (Direct Message.)

This way, not only does the message get across to my new follower, but also it acts as a reminder to all my other followers at the same time.

Results? Out of every batch of 20 or so new followers I get, there will be at least 5 who reply back to me thanking me for the link and/or the personal comment. Some talk about whatever it is I’ve referred them to, so I know they’ve read it. And some enter into quite a long Twittersation with me about it.

It’s all good for business; it builds camaraderie and confidence; and it makes me quite a few new friends.

What are your experiences?

Please share!

Get your tweets tweeting right!

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English