When I first decided to use Twitter to help myself learn web development, Catalin Pit's account was one of those I regularly saw recommended. I became more involved in the tech Twitter community, and his name began to pop up even more. Naturally, when I had the opportunity to get my paws on a copy of his new book, Improve Your Online Presence, I jumped at the opportunity.
At the time of writing, I have a bit over 1.5K followers. In Twitter leviathan terms, I'm a small-fry. Yet, at the same time, I have enough of a following and enough daily growth, that I am confident I provide value to my community. My goals are not to be the next big name in tech, but I'm also a naturally ambitious person with a background in digital marketing: I wanted to know if I was on the right track to represent myself and my interests as best I can.
As such, the criteria under which I enter this review is based on three key questions:
- Did I learn something I wouldn't have learned otherwise?
- Is the book well-structured and well-written?
- Would I recommend the book to others?
Let's not dilly-dally!
The answer to this is a resounding yes, and is the definitive strength of this book.
Firstly, there were some things I was pushed to do which I knew needed to be done but which, honestly, I'd avoided out of laziness. Primarily, I decided to finally change my Twitter header image to something representing me and my philosophy. My long-running strawberry field turned into a tech-based image formed around the idea of failure, something I'm extremely passionate about and am sure to post about in future. Additionally, he continued to give me a push (and not the first!) to continue blogging, despite low starter readership. I love writing and helping other devs, so little pushes are all I need in this area.
Anna "Apero" McDougall 🏳️🌈New Twitter banner, who dis?
Yes, I believe in failing EVERY DAY. Failure leads to growth. Failure leads to learning. If you're not failing at something, you're probably not pushing your boundaries enough.
Learn something new, take a risk, get out of your comfort zone!07:10 AM - 31 Jul 2020
Secondly, there were techniques I learned that I had never thought of or considered. Naturally, outlining all of them here would defeat the point of reading the book, but one I absolutely would not have considered is that "Twitter...[does] not want users to leave". If you want (or need) to post a link away from Twitter, the best strategy is to post a blurb about it with a preview image (since images help drive engagement) and then post the actual link as a response. This is just one example of the ways in which you can 'strategise' your tweets using Pit's advice.
Furthermore, there are some things I never thought I would do, such as start my own newsletter. I saw email newsletters as a remnant of the past and something too difficult to achieve for a small-fry like me. However, I couldn't deny Pit's cogent arguments for starting one, and his tips for how to do it quickly and easily were the final push I needed.
In addition to all of the above, Pit does a great job of outlining how best to use your LinkedIn profile, as well as how best to cross-post Twitter content in a way which is likely to grow your reach.
On the one hand, I liked that the book was split into smaller sections. It made it easy to digest, quick to read, and the bullet points for key takeaways were useful for summarising the text.
At the same time, sometimes the sections were so short that the key takeaways seemed almost unnecessary since the content was already concisely (and well) explained. This is definitely nitpicking and a natural result of me being a former copy editor, but I do feel some sections could have been put together so that Pit had a chance to talk a bit more before summarising himself.
Overall though, if you (like me) come away from this book wanting more, then it's pretty easy to see that it's a good book. Which brings me to...
Yes, I would recommend this book to anyone looking to do a better job of representing themselves, their abilities, and their niche online.
As someone with a history in digital marketing and content creation, I consider myself pretty savvy in this area, and I still came away learning plenty of new strategies, ideas for content, and practical tips for how to grow my social media presence as efficiently as possible. You will too.