How I turned my toxic Twitter timeline into a free learning resource

Back in February, I discovered a Twitter thread by Marketing Examples summarising the rise of American rapper Lil Nas X.

The thread broke down how the unknown American rapper went from college dropout to top of the Billboard charts by using memes, creating a community on Twitter, a Reddit thread and adding his music to TikTok.

As someone who works in music marketing, the thread was one of the best explanations of strategy that I had ever read.

The thread totally changed my approach to how I use Twitter and made me think about how could I use social media better to improve my career.

This is my step-by-step guide on how I turned my toxic Twitter feed into a free learning resource for my business.

1/ I unfollowed sports pages and stopped engaging with tweets about football…

Before February, my use of Twitter was to follow live sport updates. Accounts like SkySports, BBC Sport, Paddy Power, Gary Lineker and Footy Accums constantly talk about sport 24/7 with the aim of either driving traffic to their website or to create engagement for their audience.

I realised Twitter’s algorithm was forcing other football supporters’ thoughts and conversations on me, thinking this is the content I want to see. Once you click into a comment section and engage once, Twitter’s algorithm will continue to show you more and more similar content. My anger from the conversations I reading was beginning to influence my mood in my real life.

After two hours of ruthless unfollowing, I went from following over 3,000 accounts to only following 500 in a matter of hours.

2/ I started to follow marketers and like their posts

First of all, I checked who Marketing Examples was following to see if there were any similar profiles. That didn’t quite work, as the page only follows two accounts – Harry, the owner of Marketing Examples and Kanye West. It did, however, lead me to another amazing case study by Harry on how he achieved incredible results by launching a Kanye West dating site (read here).

My next approach was to simply search ‘Marketing Strategy’ into Twitter’s search bar. This gave me a never-ending list of live tweets and user accounts who are all working on digital marketing across the world.

The first profiles I followed were:

  • Professor Scott Galloway (@profgalloway) – Best-selling author and Professor at UCLA
  • Matthew Kobach (@mkobach) – Social at NYSE (now Fast)
  • Jack Appleby (@JuiceboxCA) – a creative strategist who has lead campaigns for Microsoft, Beats By Dre and Spotify
  • Amanda Goetz (@AmandaMGoetz) – VP Marketing at The Knot
  • Taylor Loren (@taylrn) – Director of Content Marketing at Later
  • Steven Barlett (@stevebartlettsc) – CEO of Social Chain

I engaged with a few of their posts and closed the app. The next time I went on the app, my Twitter feed went from this… 😩

To this… 🤓

Twitter’s non-stop pursuit of showing you new content every time you open the app started to show me content related to social media, marketing and strategy. From one Twitter thread and a change of mindset, I had opened up a whole new learning resource from all over the world.

The best part about it, they were sharing their work and thought process for FREE.

Here is a list of must follows:

  • Naval (@naval) – Guru for everything
  • Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) – Head of Instagram
  • David Perell (@david_perell) – Writer, Podcast host and Business owner
  • Savannah Sanchez (@social_savannah) – Paid Ad Specialist
  • Katelyn Bourgoin (@KateBour) – x4 Founder. Obsessed with customer success
  • E.D Oritz (@edortivz) – Marketer and Author
  • Sarah Frier (@sarahfrier) – Reporter at Bloomberg and Author of No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram
  • Jack Butcher (@jackbutcher) – Unemployed Designer working on @VisualiseValue
  • Lenny Rachitsky (@lennysan) – Angel Investor in start-ups
  • Ross Simmonds (@TheCoolestCool) – Marketing specialist in SaaS
  • Ari Lewis (@amlewis4) – Twitter thread king
  • Jamie Russo (@JamieRusso) – Advertising at Amazon and founder of Goodnote
  • Brandon Zhang (@BrandonZhang) – Student at Columbia and podcast host

3/ What I learned about Twitter

Following these accounts gave me a great understanding on how Twitter works in 2020.

  • Threads are the most engaging way to post content
  • Threads are short and long-form content combined together
  • Twitter rewards thoughts and ideas
  • Find your niche and stick to it
  • Create conversation by engaging with users regularly
  • Reposting tweets and adding your opinion adds value
  • Only post a maximum of two clickable actions in each tweet
  • Hashtags no longer work unless it’s promoting a campaign (ie. #BlackLivesMatter)

4/ What I learned about myself

During lockdown in the U.K, I began to reflect on my own relationship with social media. I asked myself what I wanted to use social media in the future and how could I use it to build my own personal brand.

This is what I came up with:

  • I’m a spectator on social media, not a creator
  • Users don’t need to follow me unless you know me personally
  • Working in social media every day has created ‘burn out’ on how I consume content
  • I’ve never made any attempt at growing my own following thanks to an unhealthy relationship with social media
  • I don’t write enough
  • I’m jealous of content creators and influencers who have grown huge followings
  • I had posted four times on LinkedIn in seven years
  • Things in my personal life were not right
  • I didn’t have anything positive to say

5/ My new strategy: Finding my voice

Changing my relationship with Twitter led to a whole new perspective on my relationship with social media. On July 13th, I began sharing my thoughts and experience to Twitter and LinkedIn. After being a spectator on social media for so long, I called this strategy ‘Finding My Voice’.

In the past month, I have:

  • Built my new website
  • Launched a new business idea
  • Signed three new clients
  • Started writing every day
  • Created a content strategy for my own social media
  • Created short and long term goals with actions on how to achieve them

Thanks for reading, Andrew.

If you liked this article, I would greatly appreciate you sharing the love or engaging with the thread below on Twitter.