How I Tripled My Twitter Following in One Weekend by Teaching React
September 24, 2019
No, it doesn't involve spam or gray-hat techniques or paid ads.
Short Answer: Dan Abramov retweeted one of my tweets
Long Answer: I worked really hard creating threads that taught people something, and then Dan Abramov retweeted one of those threads. Also, I live tweeted React Boston the whole weekend, though it's hard to say what effect that had.
It absolutely involved a lot of luck and timing, but as Rob Walling is a fan of saying: "The harder I work, the luckier I get"
Here's what happened:
The first few "crash course" threads
On Friday night I had just under 700 followers. That number was only 400 a couple of weeks before - but I had been producing twitter threads that tried to teach a single concept, like git:
And those were doing pretty well. People seemed to like the format, and I got a lot of messages and comments about how it helped them finally understand the topic.
Also, I really liked making those threads - it was fun to try to condense such a huge topic down into only a few tweets, so it was all a win-win. 🎊
(You can find a complete list of the crash course threads here)
The big one
Then I decided to tackle React head on. The challenge I put to myself was to teach an intro to React in just 10 tweets. It took several attempts and a couple of days to get right, but I finally had something I was proud of!
It really was an intro to React in just 10 tweets (with supporting images and code), and I put it out on a Friday, just before my flight to React Boston (which was a great conference btw!)
It slowly started to spread, and seemed like it resonated well!
Then it went crazy
Sometime on Saturday, while tweeting about the React conference I was attending, my twitter notifications started going crazy.
It took me a bit to figure out what happened, but then realized that Dan Abramov (the creator of Redux, and part of the React team at Facebook) had retweeted the React thread! 🎉
It was the first time anything like that had happened to me, so it was kind of fun watching the Twitter app just give up with notifications, and just get stuck at "20+"
By the end of the weekend (which I had started with < 700 followers), I had 2,077 (and still growing!)
What can we learn...
The goal of the "crash course" twitter threads has always been to teach people new things right on twitter.
I knew that if I made really good content, then people would start to take notice (which they did) - but the primary goal of anything like this HAS to be to teach people stuff.
You can do it too
So: make sure that your primary goal is not to gain followers (that will happen organically) - but to teach as much as you can.
It took a long time (years!) to find a format that I liked producing that other people clearly like consuming, but I'm happy that I kept at it.
It's hard work to create content that teaches people complex topics - so keep practicing! Get feedback, and keep iterating until you find a format that you like as well.
The reach of Twitter
So far, that one post has had over 400,000 impressions, and over 15,000 engagements on twitter:
It still totally blows my mind how big Twitter is, and how many niches abound. 🤯
So what do you want to teach?
Well, I already had about 10 more crash courses planned... but now I'm really going to double down. 💯
The threads that do the best are the ones that take the most time to produce (so I'm ready for that!), but it's definitely worth it - it's clearly a format that people like to learn from, and that helps (based on all the comments I've received).
If you want to keep up with the courses, then you should obviously follow me on twitter 😄
But also: I encourage you to teach what you know as well!
It's difficult but rewarding - and it's the only way I really know to consistently grow your following (if you're into that sort of thing).
Good luck - and tag me if you do! I'll check it out 😊