My 10-Step “Twitter Bootcamp” Gets You Ready for Free Speech Under Elon Musk’s Ownership

Now that Twitter is owned by someone who seems to like both freedom and capitalism, it’s time for everyone reading these words to reconsider Twitter.

Like you, I skipped all the MySpace, TikTok, SnapChat fads, and for years skipped Twitter as just another apparent waste of time with a silly name that I couldn’t take seriously.  (I’m still not an Instagram user, nor Pinterest, and never got any benefit out of LinkedIn from the very early years).  But let’s get one thing out of the way:

Facebook Sucks

If you think you’re “on social media” with only a Facebook account, you aren’t.  And you’re getting terrible content.  You’re served ads from truly fraudulent businesses, and you’re being deceived into thinking that when you post something that all your “friends” will see it (only a few percent will unless you pay Zuckerberg).  Never mind that they hate you and worked to steal the 2020 election.

The real problem with Facebook is that it’s where ordinary people go to get things off their chest, and get the illusion that they’re influencing others.  That kind of content rarely makes you smarter or better informed, or even entertained or amused.  You end up getting served the same videos that have nothing to do with your life or your friends’ lives.  You’re basically watching TV, and it’s as junky and mindless as 200 cable channels with “nothin’ on.”  Remember the early days when you connected with family members and old friends?  Facebook is nothing like that anymore, is it?

As an active Twitter user who gets most of my news and information there, I observe that Facebook “news” (typically my friends’ comments on events) is days behind Twitter, which is usually a day ahead of the “news” sources like cable news and newspapers.

The Big Benefits of Twitter

What follows isn’t just a reason to get on Twitter for your own enjoyment and edification.  It’s to alert you that your potential customers will find these reasons compelling, and that you’ll want to be there when they arrive so you can start a potential relationship with them.

The first big benefit is going straight to the source.  Suppose you look forward to the Tucker Carlson perspective on things every day on Fox News.  You can wait and watch his TV show when it airs, or watch the stream later (I almost wrote TiVo, showing my age).  On Twitter, you’ll see Tucker’s tweets, which are simply a posted news item (this is how you get the news) with his comment.  Or perhaps his comment on someone else’s tweet.  Your feed might show you when Tucker “likes” a story.  You’ll see Tucker tweeting and commenting on the things he will be talking about tonight.  Or even tomorrow.

Now, imagine that after following Tucker for a while, you liked some of the opinion-makers he liked (his “follows” – you’re his “follower”).  That provides you a buffet of other interesting people, and you can pick your consistent favorites to follow to generate your own interesting “feed.”  You might follow one who seems great for one tweet, then unfollow if they turn out to mostly tweet about cats – easy.

Each of those new follows will expose you to other people they follow, and so on.  Here’s where it gets interesting.  You’re going to find fascinating people with great (or hilarious) ideas, who you never heard of before.  You might find someone who’s great at analyzing medical data, and who helps you stay better informed in a pandemic than just watching whatever cable news dishes out.  You might follow gun industry insiders who alert you to stories that would otherwise take a long time to cross your desk, and might even make you the “insider” reporter your followers rely on.

What About Guns?

Asking my Facebook pals (love you guys, but hate the platform) they flagged an important point: “What about us?”  Won’t Twitter treat gun folks badly?

Will a Muskian free Twitter allow open discussion and promotion of guns and gun products?  I can assure that there are plenty of pro-gun folks presently openly advocating on Twitter, and my suggested follow list is below.  I see gun companies promoting their stuff.  No doubt like any participant who is advocating against the Silicon Valley woke narrative, there is suppression, throttling, and “shadow-banning” to reduce your effectiveness, but doubtlessly this will diminish as overall suppression is scrutinized or stopped.  Nobody’s perfect, and our purist pals will find some excuse not to participate in the best venue out there, but Twitter is now THE place for us to be, if only to poke the liberals in the eye as Twitter’s success increases in the wake of the revelation and destruction of their biased efforts.

How I Started

I was a fan of Scott Adams (Dilbert cartoonist) for his uncanny pre-2016 predictions and analysis of Trump’s persuasion skills, and Twitter was the only interactive place I could get him, so I joined.  I looked for some interesting people to follow, and found that nearly everyone I followed was an author, of books I had read.  These aren’t just random Joes to chew the fat with, they’re people whose books I’ve read, who I can get insights from, and enjoy possible interaction with.  I eventually expanded to far more types, and found myself getting smarter (Facebook time seems to have the opposite effect as it kills brain cells).

The important thing I did in 2014 was just to start participating, as if some day others (you?) might come across me, and see I was worth following.  I don’t intend to use Twitter as a money-making tool, but just as a relationship building tool.

Twitter Boot Camp in Ten Steps

  1. Sign up. You’ll need to figure out one unchangeable thing: your “handle” (I think it’s called).  That’s the @namething that is uniquely yours.  I picked @gunpatent because I intended to make a professional reputational focus and relationships in our world.  Because they’re unique, the good ones associated with normal names are taken.  Names like @Jane83462647 suggest a fraud or fake account (aka “bot” for robot fake account to give a false impression of more followers or support).  Some advocate that identities be visibly authentic, so consider making yours real and not hiding anything, as this may be policy under new ownership.
  2. Fill in your name. Your handle might be @angry_bird_arms, but your name in bold text next to it can change as you wish.  Your full name your friends know you by is a good idea so they can recognize you when they’ve found you.  I sometimes add a middle nickname in quotes as a light comment on the times that changes over the weeks and months – drop by to see my latest.  You can add a picture that might be real, too.
  3. Start following someone. This is better than reading whatever top stories Twitter is pushing, because under past management they were hiding the good ones and pushing the bad ones.  Better to follow people.  Pick your favorites whose ideas you already like to hear and read.  Pick organizations you admire.  Some care what entertainers and athletes think about things, but there might be great people you admire for what they produce (I’ve been an @elonmusk follower, and saw weeks before you heard of it – or the market reacted – all the signals he was looking at buying Twitter).  Modestly, if like my perspective on things, you’ll probably like some of the people I follow, so starting with me wouldn’t be a bad idea.  You’re not simply following me, you’re getting exposed to the people I follow and think worthwhile after nearly eight years.  I also promise to follow you back if you let me know – comment on one of my tweets to do that – mutual followers can then “Private Message” (which Elon Musk says should be encrypted from end to end to keep Silicon Valley from snooping).  If you stop here, you’ll get more than half the benefit, and you might visit Facebook only to share something actually newsworthy that your friends hadn’t (yet) heard of.
  4. Following and consuming is great, but you should know how to do more. Start with “likes.”  This your way to add a vote of support to any story or comment.  Others who visit your profile will be able to see what you liked.  If you really like someone you follow, click their name and then the “likes” tab.  You’ll see more of what they think is good content.  When you like something it’s casting a vote for good content (or a clever comment) that encourages more of what you like.
  5. Comments or replies are simply something you add to someone’s tweet. If they have small accounts like me (with 317 followers) your comment will be noticed, possibly liked, and may get an engaged reply.  Like Facebook.  If you comment on Kanye West’s tweet, it will be lost among thousands.  If you’re among the first comment on Tucker Carlson’s tweet, and your comment is incredibly original and brilliant, then you might get mentioned on Fox tonight (or flatteringly plagiarized as an influencer).  More likely, you’ll contribute something good to a Second Amendment Foundation tweet, and be contributing productively to the dialogue.
  6. “Tweets” are simply things you post. It might be your own thought, or a photo, or a meme, or a web link to a news article.  Anything you could share in a link in an email to share with a friend.  You can post them without comment, but sometimes you’ll add your own insight, or clever comment.  Here’s an original one that was posted 22 minutes ago (as I write this and take a little break).

Note that I learned what one of the most influential people in the world is thinking within minutes.  The guy makes a good point: the law defines permissible and impermissible speech, and has spent centuries trying getting it right.  Maybe we let those be our guidelines, and don’t introduce woke 20-somethings to steer the national discourse.  Let ideas stand or fall on their merit, and on the strength of the arguments for and against.

  1. “Retweets” are tweets you share with your followers, on your feed. You might retweet Elon Musk, and your friends who don’t follow him would hear it first from you.  If Elon retweeted you, that would be potentially life-changing, and people have changed careers to be compensated influencers based on the kind of instant following that can build.  (I have no idea how that system works).  I do lots of retweeting, pretending I have 100k followers, but wanting to have a good feed for when friends like you find me.  Just because I’d rather get off Facebook.
  2. “Quote Tweets” are for when you want to add something. A comment on top of the story.  (A retweet simply reposts without comment, and doesn’t necessarily mean you agree.)
  3. One advanced tip: You might come to realize that a comment reaches lots of people (all the followers of the big account), but none of your few followers. A retweet (with or without comment) reaches your list, but doesn’t get much engagement.  You can do both, which is clumsy.  The hack is to comment, then retweet your comment.  Then the engagement on your page or on the original story are connected.  Not very important at first, but at some point you might wonder about this.  Facebook seems simple in comparison, but unless you like seeing what people ate for dinner or pet photos, you’ll probably find Twitter worth learning the ropes – it will be as inevitable in the short time ahead as Facebook was in its day – more so for advocates of liberty who are in tune with the Elon Mush disruptive Free Speech movement.
  4. Tweets have a limit of 280 characters. But good creators will have longer stories to tell. If you see a number at the beginning or end of the tweet, you’ll see it’s part of a sequence or “thread”.  If you’re reading #1, the others will be in the comments.  If some other number, drag down to see the tweets above to get to the first.  These just lay out like an article, with little breaks.  Often, someone will have a comment that links to a web recreation of the whole “thread” that can be convenient to read.  When you get the hang of this, you’re on board and can get the benefit.
  5. On your own profile page, you can have a “pinned tweet” which is a tweet you want every visitor to see first (mine is a help wanted ad and it has worked).

I should note that you can read things on Twitter (try without joining, and there’s nothing wrong with that to get acquainted.

My gun rights world follow list is one you might want to check out.  It’s missing many others, including my great clients.  If you’re a print reader, click the QR code to avoid retyping.  @jimshepherd @opensrcdefense @badweapontakes @lawofselfdefense @kennethWroyce1 @2afdn @fenixammunition @guntruth @gunpatent @gunpolicy @jpr9954 @handgnr @chrisknox_az @jeffknox @bowtiegunguy @camedwards @alangura @mrcolionnoir @crimeresearch1 @johnrlottjr @theshootingwire @nssf @nssfshotshow @dcodrea

See you in Houston at NRA!

Next month(?): Why you Should Drive a Tesla

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About the Author: Ben Langlotz

Ben Langlotz is the nation’s leading firearms patent and trademark attorney, and the author of Bulletproof Firearms Business: The Legal Guide to Success Under Fire. He is trusted by more firearms industry companies than any other lawyer or law firm in the nation, and is consistently ranked at the top of all attorneys in securing gun patents and gun trademarks.