Tag Archive: Twitter

Spark Ideas

This year at IBM Connect, I was selected to present a Spark talk.  Inspired by TED talks, the Nerd Girls host these 6-minute inspirational talks.  I spoke about…wait for it…Twitter!  Not just about Twitter, however, but how gave me the confidence to speak at conferences.

Additionally, the Nerd Girls have a channel on Vimeo for the Spark videos.  You can read about it here, or just go to straight to the channel here.


Kathy Brown and How Twitter Helped Share Her Voice | Spark Ideas by the Nerd Girls from Chris Miller on Vimeo.

And Tips from a Twitter Addict

As I said in my last post, I think the reason a lot of people don’t “get” Twitter is because they don’t get involved. So following are a few tips to hopefully help new Twitter users (and old ones, too) get involved.

Follow people. This one *may* seem obvious, but if you only follow 5 people, you aren’t really going to get a lot of value out of Twitter. Someone compared Twitter to a giant cocktail party. The more people there, the more conversations you can listen to or get involved in. A cocktail party with only five people doesn’t offer a lot of variety.

Follow good people. I see lots of people follow loads of celebrities. Fine, I guess, if that’s your thing. I personally don’t get it. I am a runner and a Lotus Developer. I follow lots of runners and lots of Lotus people. I started with a few Lotus people, then saw who they were following. I clicked on profiles and if I liked what someone was saying, then I followed them. Over time, if someone didn’t tweet a lot, or just wasn’t interesting me, I unfollowed them.

Don’t follow too many people. If you’re just starting and you follow 500 people, you’re head will explode. There are services out there for bulk following, but I don’t recommend that unless you’re going to market a product, or have recently quit your job and have nothing better to do than keep up with Twitter. There are a couple of services that recommend people to follow, like Mr. Tweet, and I think those can be useful.

Learn the lingo. Learn how Twitter works. This is a very basic video showing how to get started. You need to understand “replies”, “mentions”, “DMs” and some other lingo and how it works. Google is your friend.

Get a good client. The web interface just isn’t that great. It’s simple and workable, but a lot of the complaints that people have with Twitter are easily handled in a good client. I like Tweetdeck for my desktop (I have a PC, I hear loads of people like Tweetie for Mac) and Ubertwitter for my Blackberry.

Now to address some complaints (chiefly the ones from Rob’s linked post in my last entry, but they are common, so I’m addressing them):

No unread marks – The answer to this is to get a good client that maintains unread marks for you. I personally, am not bothered by this, but I see how one could be.

People say inane things – Really? I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but that isn’t limited to Twitter. And seriously, if the “I’ve just gone the bathroom” example tweet is used one more time, I’m going to have to tweet that “I’m throwing up”. I have NEVER seen tweets about *that*. Yes, there are inane tweets, but there are inane Facebook status updates and inane emails and inane blog posts and inane posterous posts and …

Disjointed conversations – I’m sticking with the cocktail party analogy. That’s actually what I like about it, incidentally, if someone is boring me, I just don’t follow that conversation, and can easily jump in (butt in) to another one.

And now in all fairness, I present to you 25 Ways To Be A Total Tool on Twitter (and YES, I have done some of these)…

Frustrations of a Twitter Addict

Should I bother with this post? Will non-Twitter users even bother to read this? In the last few days, I’ve seen several posts by people who don’t USE Twitter and/or don’t see the point of Twitter.

Add to that another study (this one with a whopping 350 users in the sample size) that says 80% of Tweets are “me now” or vanity tweets. So what? I’d wager close to 100% of Facebook is vanity “news”, look at my kids, look at my score on Bejeweled, look at my drunken college pics. No one is putting down Facebook for being all about “me”. Isn’t that sort of the point of Twitter? The prompt on twitter.com says “What are you doing?”. Wouldn’t my answer to that by definition be about me? And what’s wrong with that? Is that any different than most blogs?

And of course, the study that says “40% of all tweets are drivel”, or whatever.

I’ve never studied my email inbox, but I’m willing to bet 40% of that is drivel, too. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a use, especially in the corporate world.

Yes, most likely the majority of what I tweet is utter crap. And some of what I read is utter crap. HOWEVER, that utter crap has purpose.

Twitter as a resource. I’ve occasionally had a problem that I could not solve and my “tweeps” have helped me out. On a daily basis I see tweets like “Has anyone ever … [fill in the technical question]” and people respond and help out. Are there other means for this? Sure, I guess. There are forums that are infrequently checked and not always answered. Twitter is immediate. The response is usually quick, even if it’s “Sorry, I don’t know.” at least you get a response quickly. Some say Facebook or LinkedIn can be technical resources, but I don’t find that to be the case. Facebook is too personal. It’s mostly friends and some colleagues, but largely a way for us all to show eachother photos of our kids or our vacations. Not typically (for me anyway) where I’m going to find technical answers. Also, Facebook doesn’t seem as timely as Twitter. I don’t mean that Facebook is slow, but that people don’t check it as often, or post as often, or respond as quickly. LinkedIn is much more professional, but REALLY lacks the speed and comraderie that I find on Twitter. Really, how often do you check LinkedIn? And how often do you check their forums or answer questions?

Twitter as community. I’ve actually made friends on Twitter. Can Facebook or LinkedIn say that? Not for me. When someone shares small bits of themselves (up to 140 characters!) on a frequent basis, you can get to know them. If you jump in and respond to them, and share your own bits, you can actually do this thing called making friends. Facebook is useful for maintaining friendships, but not for making them. LinkedIn is way too impersonal and doesn’t even maintain relationships (for me), so much as show me who I know and who my colleagues know.

Twitter as networker. This point sort of combines the first two…add community and resource and I guess you get network, right? I’ve seen lots of Tweetups get organized when someone Tweets “I’ll be in so and so in blah blah”. People respond and say they’d like to meet up. Again, I just don’t see this happening on other sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Several Lotus folks were at LoLA in Boston recently. I never would have known if it weren’t for Twitter. As it was, I heard about it through Twitter, was able to meet up with some people and had a great time with some great people. Some people I had already known and some I got to meet for the first time.

So what’s the difference? Why have I had such a great experience on Twitter when so many people get a username and then just don’t get it? I got involved. Another post to follow on how *I* use Twitter and some thoughts on how to get a better experience out of it.

Twitter IS DOWN!

I think I may need help. Not because I am particularly worried. But because it went down this morning, and at least five people pinged me privately to “jokingly” see if I was okay.

I then practically had my own little Twitterverse going on my screen with five different chat windows open, trying to explain to be people that I was fine. I was coping. I could handle it. Really, I am okay.

So the question is, how many times have YOU hit refresh?