Today is the wretched April Fool’s Day, but what I’m about to share with you is not a joke — but it may contain the actions of a fool.  For the last six months or so, I’ve been actively seeding and re-feeding our social media presence across all our platforms paying — yes, PAYING — particular attention to the blue bird of San Francisco to try to figure out just what’s happening in the wide world of Tweets when it comes to propagating memes and promoting new ideas.

Here are four takeaways from my social media Twitter dunking over the last half-year.

1. Pay to Play. If you have any hope of generating some social media steam, you need to be a part of the Twitter Advertising wave.  I spent a small budget on experimenting with Promoted Accounts and results were mixed.  Some days were hot and popular while others were dead — but Twitter always took my money.  I took all the advice Twitter gave me to improve my rank engagement and had little success.  There needs to be much more proactive feedback from Twitter on how to get the best bang for your buck on their system because, unlike Google and Facebook, the whole advertising process is counter-intuitive.

2. Verified Accounts. If you aren’t Verified on Twitter, you’re honestly wasting your time on the service because you’re a no-class citizen.  Verified accounts have special privileges and access rights and if you aren’t in the club, you shouldn’t be fiddling around on the service.  I’m uncertain why Twitter won’t allow public applications for Verification any longer and since the process is closed, but still happening, and Twitter refuses to tell you how or what to do to get Verified, it all becomes a guessing game you’ll never win unless Twitter decides to let you in for whatever whim they feel at the moment.  That bound exclusivity creates a Have and Have Not system on Twitter, and the madding crowd knows this, resents it, and will explore other social media services that are more transparent, open, and fair to the popular masses.  I’ve read on the web, if you spend $5,000.00USD a month for three months on Twitter advertising, you’ll get Verified, but if you ever stop paying, you’ll lose your Verified badge.

3. Profanity Filters. Twitter really needs to let us to block profanity as a social setting. Facebook has a profanity filter that works well.  Leave the firehose cursing to those who enjoy that sort of hateful snark and leave the rest of us out of it.

4. Twitter for Kids. I have been surprised to see what I imagine to be very young kids on Twitter.  I thought Twitter was required to only let kids 13-years-old and above have an account, but based on what I’ve been seeing on the service, there are many kids younger than that Tweeting and sharing selfies, and I sort of cringe to wonder who is Tweeting them back?  Having a sub-service on Twitter that would be a Safe Haven for kids — moderated and profanity-free — might start to bring back some sense of loyalty that is currently missing from the service as younger users continue to abandon Twitter for other online memeing services.

My six months of total Twitter indoctrination was a good learning experience. I figured out how to use a difficult service that is actually pretty unfriendly to new users, and I now know new followers will not likely be Verified accounts or popular accounts, but people who have lots of following and only a few followers and who are eager and willing to connect if only asked. Those users unwittingly long for the early Twitter days and the auto-follow of yore, and in some ways, I do, too, because that was a predictable, automatic, transaction of equal and equitable value for both sides of the social dyad.