Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Twitterings of Twitter

I get it. Twitter has become my new addiction. I didn’t quite get it at first. Just signing up seemed confusing. Once past that, I stared at the starting question Twitter asks, “what are you doing?” Hmm, I paused. The truly literal answer would be, "writing on Twitter". And if that was always the answer, I would get stuck in that loop forever – like a bad Abbott and Costello bit. So, I went a step beyond that and entered into the restrictive text box, "trying to figure out Twitter". I noticed, reading others first twitters that they too had a similar response. A lot of us had to grapple with what exactly this medium was (is) and what the point was – if there was (is) a point.

I spent the first month or so trying to figure it out. What do I say? How often? I followed a few friends but decided on no celebrities. My friends posts ranged from saying the somewhat literal answer to “what are you doing” like, “eating a burrito” to a PR friend’s posts ranging from Hollywood to PR about Twitter. All of a sudden, people, I didn't know, started following me. What to do? Do I have to follow back? I looked at one. His tweets seemed to be mostly social, to his immediate friends, of where he was right then (like what bar he was going to). I didn’t feel I needed to know that. Then I got the followers showcasing their “photos” – ok, wannabe porn stars. So, I blocked them. I blocked a few others on the reason I didn’t feel a connection to them; I wonder now if that was such a good idea. Is it wise to be selective and snobby on Twitter? I’m still learning the etiquette.

This week I decided to take the plunge to build who I’m following and vice-versa. I searched under “green” and “zen”. I added a few groups and people I connected to in that category. What happened? They followed me back. Then I had a few more people follow and I followed them back – after reading their profiles. This phenomenon is amazing to me. In a matter of days, I tripled the amount of people following me. (Ok, it’s now 21) but still, where else can you see such immediate results. I posted a tweet about violins and now I have a Latvian, heavymetal violinist following me. Who knew? (After sharing this with a friend, he told me he tweeted about watching Veronica Mars and now he has the Veronica Mars fan club following him. I tried that but do not as of yet have them as followers).

I get it now. I get why people love it and find it fun, informative, silly, deep, helpful, etc. I get tweets on green news, zen sayings, projects made from recycled products, to fun quips from friends. How you use it depends on you: who you want to follow and in turn, who you want to follow you. Some people want to share news, some to plug products, others to feel connected to a specific community. For me, it’s about connecting to and creating community and finding like-minded people the world over. It’s truly the expression of the Universal. There’s a place for everyone to tell us “what they’re doing”. I love it!

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