The Modern TechVVitch

The blog of Jasmin Hudacsek, Ruby & JavaScript developer, living in Denver, Colo.

5 Tips on How to Start Your Personal Brand on Twitter for New Developers

August 14, 2016

man in glasses on his iphone

I’ve been on Twitter since 2008 and started off using it mostly because this was around the same time that Myspace was falling out of favor with other folks my age. I felt motivated to check out a new social media before most of my friends because I missed the heyday of LiveJournal and had developed serious internet FOMO from feeling left behind. On the other hand, I also thankfully missed out on Friendster and wasn’t too upset about that.

Social Media Wars video
Also, who remembers the Facebook Fun Wall?

Enough about the past–we’re here to talk about how you can polish your brand new Twitter profile and make it attractive to peers and potential employers alike.

Tip #1: Don’t leave that egg

No one wants to be followed by a faceless egg on Twitter. Get a profile pic up that reflects who you are and what you’re about. Don’t feel like you have to have your professional headshot on your personal account, but make sure it’s nothing you’ll regret later, either.

Also, go ahead and change your background image. Find something that reflects a fun interest of yours or your preferred “aesthetic”. Here are a few that I find especially interesting:

sailorhg on Twitter
Like to draw? Make your own background like Amy Wibowo did.

myusuf3 on Twitter
Photos of your heroes are always a good choice.

sokareemie on Twitter
Display your love for video games.

Steve Kinney on Twitter
Have a photo of you giving a lightning talk? That’s AWESOME.

Tip #2: Follow the right accounts

Unless you already have more than 2k followers, you’ll hit a limit on how many accounts you can follow (that limit also being 2k) and that can add up surprisingly quickly if you’re not careful. Here’s a subset of the types of accounts you should focus on following:

Tip #3: Make lists to stay organized

Now that you’re following a good amount of people, it can probably seem a bit daunting to have to comb through your timeline and find interesting things to engage with or retweet, so that’s why the list making feature Twitter has can easily become your best friend.

how to add someone to a list
If you hit the ‘Settings’ wheel, you can add someone to a list you’ve already created or one you’re going to create now

You also don’t have to follow someone in order to add them to a list you’ve made.

Some examples of list topics I’ve made:

You can use lists in whatever fashion you find most helpful. Just keep in mind, a list can either be a public list or a private one. A public list will mean that other people can see and subscribe to your list, too.

To view your lists and list timeline, you can either go to https://twitter.com/your-twitter-handle/lists or find ‘Lists’ from your main menu dropdown in the top-right corner on the web:

where to find lists

Tip #4: Share quotes or photos from networking events and conferences you attend

As a new developer, you’ll probably be inclined to attend a lot of networking events and conferences. Sharing your experiences from these types of events show that you’re engaged within the tech community and have feelings about said tech community.

Screenshot of Joshua Jhun tweet about DinoJS in Denver

You can also make new friends in the community if you use any associated hashtags with the event. For example, the organizers of DinosaurJS–held in Denver back in June–used the hashtag #dinojs so everyone attending the event (or wishing they could attend) could follow a stream of conversation that was created throughout the day. Other attendees will generally ‘heart’ (AKA ‘like’) your tweets as they’re also checking up on their timelines.

Mentioning speakers in your tweets is also super beneficial when you’re giving them kudos for an awesome presentation.

tweet conversation

Rachel White is ~rad~ developer (previously at IBM) who gave a presentation on making video games in Javascript at DinosaurJS. In the conversation above, she actually TWEETED BACK AT ME (bonus: and followed me back :joy:). Don’t hesitate to mention your career heroes on Twitter–the worst thing they could do is not respond.

Tip #5: Post about your life outside of development

Employers will always ask you what you like to do for fun outside of work, so don’t be afraid to be yourself on Twitter.

Really, you’ll lose and gain followers all of the time, and seemingly for tweets that don’t make any sense. Out of 310 million active users on Twitter, 23 million of them are bots. With that knowledge, I would just focus on building authentic audiences and not worry about your follower count all that much. You’ll build a large audience before you know it if you’re sharing content that genuinely reflects you.

For more general tips on how to get started with Twitter, check out their New User FAQ here.