27 June 2012
I met some journalists from Latvia last week and a formal Q&A session turned into a delighted discussion as we realized that we were all Tweeple. Tweeps. Tweets. Or- as I sometimes think when I see a monumentally stupid tweet – twits.
Twitter has created a parallel universe for those who are ready to be immersed. One in which you either make your point in 140 characters or pray that people will take the 30 extra seconds needed to open the link attached which tells more than your 140 character story. I am an intensive Twitter user with three accounts of which two are personal and now I have started a pure public professional one - this third account is just started and open for engagement. Experimenting with Twitter through many hours spent hands on tweeting on my personal accounts has given me insights into social media I never had just 12 months ago. Or anyone could have imagined 6 years ago (Twitter was “invented” in mid-2006). Since then:
- 55% of journalists worldwide use Twitter
- Twitter’s most-followed user, Lady Gaga, has 26,235,643 followers (as of 26 June 2012 21:10 CET; go to Twitter and look for @ladygaga when you read this I wonder how many new followers she gains per day)
- The busiest moments in Twitter history included 25,000 tweets per second during the Castle in the Sky TV Screening (note to self – go see it)….
Twitter has its pros and cons. The biggest advantage is the ability to engage rapidly and directly with people and topics personal and relevant to you. The disadvantage is the amount of clutter you need to wade through on your twitter feed and the really strange people that you sometimes land up encountering. Today I made the mistake of getting curious about why a stranger I have been following on Twitter thinking he was an analyst was attacking another analyst who had simply stated his views on the decline of Nokia’s market share and impact of MS going out with Windows 8. This stranger’s response was : “I don’t know what you’re talking about”. Rather than leave it at that, I was stupid enough to try to explain and sent this person the same link from the analyst that he was already attacking – twice. This no doubt inflamed him even more. His response, including other statements was ..”you cant express yourself in 140 characters, at all. Send an email”. I did then what I should have done first of all – checked out who this person was (try Twitter timelines in combination with Google Search…) came to some conclusions and instead of reacting further just responded with courtesy and said “Thank you. Will do”. And ended the conversation. With no further plans to engage.
Here are some of the rules I learnt along the way on my own Twitter journey:
- Don’t engage in a topic unless you are ready to handle the ramifications
- Remember that nothing is private and whatever you post could show up on a press page the next morning
- Never react on impulse no matter how enraging some one else’ comment is designed to be. Sit on your hands if thats what you have to do
- Don’t feed the trolls (ignore, block and report)
Here’s a great article on some more rules including the first basic rule of social media – Don’t Drink and Type!
Something I really enjoy about the 140 character rule on Twitter is that it forces your message to be crisp, clear and inspiring. When it is, you see the result immediate in RTs and responses. When it isn’t, you see the result in that you wasted one minute and also someone else’ time, and this sharpens your own skills. Read this great post by Dom Sagolla who helped create Twitter called The Economy of Words.
I found some very interesting stats on http://www.languageconnect.net/blog/2012/06/the-language-of-social-media/
see the picture below
I think this picture shows us the immensity of the spread of this digital world. That’s why I would encourage everyone to get familiar with Twitter. You never know when you need it.
With Twitter in my life, an already full day and lifestyle has gotten one more dimension, complicating my digital world even more - on a typical week night I have Spotify running on my iPad connected to the music system, the TV on, my PC on my knee and emails being handled with Facebook and Twitter windows open so I can keep an eye on things. And of course my iPhone near me, to be on the safe side. Its so easy to be totally absorbed into a digital world if you don’t stay focused on what you want to achieve, and that’s why I have set some stringent rules on prioritizing what really matters and how I spend my time. I'll write more about that in next week's blog post - how to be increasingly effective in an increasingly multidimensional world.
In the words of Dom Sagolla, one of the original team at Twitter and whose book is featured here on top of this article – “What our team did was to reduce the number of steps from impulse to action”. Indeed you did. Thank you, @Dom, @Jack, @Twitter. I think. What do YOU think?
Would love to hear your views. Is Twitter good or bad? Have you had troll encounters? How have you managed them? Whats the biggest benefit for you from Twitter? Or do you plan never to go there? Post here and if you would like a followup response feel free to post your Twitter ID too!