Monday, March 23, 2009

I Promise Tweeple, It's Not You, It's Me...

You've heard of Twitter by now, right? Well, I was a late comer to the world of Twitter, just joining back in December. Twitter just celebrated it's 3rd birthday this past weekend, so it's been around if you were in the know. It's definitely been a hot trending topic in mainstream media recently. But in all honesty, I was a little reluctant to join the Twitter world, thinking it wasn't for me. Yes, I had the same opinion about Facebook which has also changed dramatically since joining six months ago. At this point, I definitely don't regret my decision to join Twitter, it has been a positive experience for me.

Just for a little background on Twitter, it has been deemed as real time microblogging because your "tweets" as they are called are limited to 140 characters or less. Meaning the thoughts you share with others have to be to the point. But the more time I come to know Twitter, the less I would call it microblogging. Does it really need a succinct catch all phrase to describe it? In some ways to me, Twitter is undefinable.

Three months out, I am now just coming into my own with Twitter. I am starting to feel out what I want from Twitter. For me, Twitter is about building relationships and creating community, just like blogging. Initially I was enthralled with numbers, the number of people I was following (which means the people I chose to receive their updates in my twitterstream/homepage) or the number of people following me (the people choosing to receive my updates). I would look at someone's Twitter stream before following them back to see if they were interesting and engaging or just broadcasting all self-driven check me out, read my blog, buy my product updates. Twitter really is an exchange of ideas and I've learned so many things from brilliant folks that are authentically sharing what they are passionate about and find interesting.

But then it hit me. I started to crave something on Twitter that was very silly and superficial to me. A number. Without ever deciphering what number would make me content, like if I had 1,000 followers that would be awesome. But would it? Would I feel more complete with 1,000 people reading what I shared in 140 characters or less?

The answer is no, I wouldn't. There isn't a number that appeals to me anymore. 

This evening I went through my list of those that I follow and decided to weed out those that weren't looking for the same thing out of Twitter that I am. Maybe I misjudged some and if I did, I apologize I am only going on their numbers and their updates, or if I have interacted with them on a personal level (which you can do through Direct Messaging or @'ing). There is a huge percentage of Twitter users that just chase numbers, just want to find someone else to follow that will follow them back, growing their numbers. Blah, huh? Oh and there are programs you can use to automatically grow your numbers and strategies to blast you onto the Twitter scene, if that's what you want. The number chasers, the broadcasters are not for me anymore. Is someone on Twitter that is following 12,000 people really catching what I have to say? Umm, probably not.

Scaling back is better for me. Before going to bed tonight, I unfollowed a large number of people that I had not authentically communicated with since I joined Twitter. The big question is, out of all the people I chose to stop receiving updates from, how many of them will no longer follow me? Was I just a number to them? That's what I will find out. I don't only follow people that follow me back, but the majority of those I follow do. It's not important to me if they find me interesting, I want to follow those that I find intriguing even with out reciprocation.

I will reaffirm, Twitter is a whirlwind, it's fun and interesting. I have real life friends on Twitter that I've known since elementary school, my husband, my mommy friends, friends scattered from west coast to east. Then I have my blogworld friends, just one update away that I enjoy getting to know on a completely different level. Not to mention, I have a whole hodge podge of celebrities like Rocco DiSpirito to Ashton Kucher to Lance Armstrong that I follow that make Twitter a more dynamic place. I love that Twitter is always in flux, just like what I am seeking from it.

If you're on Twitter and by chance we aren't friends yet, please share your @ in a comment, I would love to read what you are sharing. If Twitter is a completely different experience for you, please also share, I'd love to hear your insight.


  1. Haven't been good about twittering.

  2. I cut back on the people that I was following a few months ago. And the number following me...did not go down. I don't like that people are chasing numbers. Why follow me and then never respond to my tweets?

    I'm ready to go through the list again...because it is really hard for me to see the tweets of people I actually know when they get bogged down in the chic chat of people that don't give a crap what I have to say.

  3. I have a profile but have never used it. I read a newsweek blurp about twittering that was hilarious and summed up what I would talk about
    @babygirl: Stop coughing
    @fridge: no %#€$ food again?
    @dog: quit eating trash


  4. I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. I am very wary of those with the huge numbers--usually they dump you shortly after you decide to follow them--it took me a while to figure that out.

  5. I'm hot/cold on Twitter. I have an account, but I find that I lose entire days if I even open TweetDeck. I just sometimes feel that everyone is talking and not many are listening. I don't know. I'll keep my account, I just don't know what all I'll do with it.

  6. I haven't been on Twitter very long, and I'm still trying to figure it out. I have a feeling that there's a lot more to it than I'm getting!

  7. Great post! I too cringe when I see a twitter-er chasing numbers. For some, 2,000 is the Holy Grail. I don't get it.

    I think twittering with folks who share your sensibilities, sense of humor, and concerns is much better. And I too have learned a thing or two by reading someone's tweet.

    Here's me:

  8. Yep, you and I have ended up in the same place. I was all about numbers for a while. Now, I've kind of lost interest a bit. Not totally, but a bit.
    It's hard to budget time for everything!

  9. I have an account as you know, but i mainly use it to keep track of a couple of friends who wont face book and i also use it to get BBC headlines! it's a quick way to get the news without trudging through a whole website. I am 50/50 on it i have to admit, but want to give it a chance

  10. still a bit confused about it. i think i am just a facebook gal at heart. xoxoKeri

  11. I just found you thru the big feed swap and this post is SO great! I've really been feeling the exact same thing with Twitter but was too much of a wimp to go in and weed out people like that who I am following. Did you also block people following you who you felt were just "chasing numbers"?

    I'm @smilingmama

  12. I only follow maybe a dozen people. I'm not about numbers. I originally got the account just to have my username..didn't use it until my friend Bee was bored at work and got Twitter and asked me to Tweet sometimes. I don't get messages to my phone, so I only see stuff when I'm online.
    Great post though. And if you want, I'm @jayasolo

  13. I'm flattered when people follow me, but honestly there are only a few who I communicate with regularly. However I like the idea that at any given moment I an ask a question or throw out a comment and people respond. I like hearing the different perspectives and just random thoughts. I don't feel that I must have a relationship with each of my followers though. I also don't follow every person who follows me. I just go with the flow and do my own twitter thing. By the way I'm @boxofchocolates and I know we have chatted before cause I love your name!!

  14. I was obsessed with blogging, then Facebook and now I'm hopping on the Twitter bandwagon. Right now I'm loving it. My numbers are manageable. I can't even imagine dealing with following thousands of people.

  15. I'm trying to twitter but I'm just too tired. I'm only following two people and I just can't find anyone on there. I'm doing something wrong and I just don't have the energy to figure it out.

  16. I enjoy it for the reasons you gave, but I find that I'm not 'on' enough to really get to know people better. Occasionally, I'll twit something funny about my day, but then I feel badly because I'm not able to stay online and answer others or catch up.

    I have to say, I think overall, twitter would be more fun for me if I had a really good phone or itouch or something. But, I completely agree, I'd rather be really connecting and having conversations then trying to keep up with 2000 twitterers!

  17. I still think it's a time suck and hard to do Facebook, Blog, and Twitter. Is there one app for the all do you know?


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