Friday, January 21, 2011

Twitter: In My Happy Place

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with a group of friends, some on Twitter and of course a few that well, just don't get it. Hey those are their words, not mine! I enjoy Twitter for a few reasons. One, it's easy, short and sweet. Two, it's a great resource for breaking news and exchange of so many ideas and wonderful information. Three, it's social and I adore the connections I make with people, from South Africa to Oklahoma.

Really the bottom line is, Twitter is my happy place.

Part of the conversation that came up was following and the dreaded unfollowing of people. Truth be told, I don't dread unfollowing someone if their conversation or broadcasting (people who just put out information and don't engage back) becomes irrelevant to me. Remember, Twitter is my happy place? I just keep that in mind when it seems like my Twitterstream isn't giving me what I want. Just a little tweaking here and there and voile, the balance always returns.

How I keep the balance on Twitter, aka why I unfollow:

If your Twitterstream is ONLY automatic updates from Four Square or a newly published blog post. I don't care how many times a day you check into Walmart on Confederate Blvd. Auto updates bore me, they are static, I prefer clarity.

Your updates are no longer relative to me. Say for example I followed a few businesses and travel related information before I went to London. Updates now that I am home make me long to be back and sad, so I unfollow.


Even though you seem like a nice person, your updates have homophobic or racist content. I'll add pea brained remarks to this list. Let's not forget if you quote Rush Limbaugh, not as a joke but because you listen to and like him.

See that photo, it says, "I know lots of colored people who are attachment style parents."

Oh yes it does. Unfollow.


If your updates are solely driven by brands and you want so desperately for any brand to like you, aka you're updates are "for sale". Unfollow.

Excessive television viewing updates, like 20 in one hour about a show. I don't need a play by play about the Bachelor. I don't go to Twitter as a television guide resource.

If you are only on Twitter for stuff. You only update giveaways, so you can get one more entry in a contest. You only show up for GNO's and update in all CAPS so you can win a can of Hormel Chili. I'll just let you know right now, I don't eat canned meat.

This is a hard one for me, but one I recently had to come to terms with. I may like you as a person, but if you participate in sponsored campaigns by companies I do not support or believe in I unfollow. Take for example the Iowa Corn Grower's Association Tour, where people were singing the praises of High Fructose Corn Syrup. I vehemently disagree. Yes, I judge you by who you take money from and what you try to sell me.

You consistently nag about brands on Twitter, so the company will engage you. I understand sometimes it's a last resort, but if it is habitual that bothers me. Be selective.

I don't like to focus on the negative, so here's what keeps me around Twitter.

Awesome exchange of information, blog posts that are thoughtfully written, new blogs I haven't read before, news articles, design ideas, school food reform, organics, new music, photos, forward thinking, and witty creative folks.

Updates from Lance Armstrong's alter ego, Juan Pelota.

People who like to converse. They respond to you, they engage. Even companies, take for example this week I was chatting up the people at a Kitchen Cabinet company. My former kitchen was full of this company's cabinets. Another stand out, Whole Foods Corporate out of Austin is awesome about engaging people.

Old friends from real life that are on Twitter, we all live in different places, it's nice to stay connected to them.

Local happenings. I can't get enough updates about what's going on in Colorado from friends and businesses about events in my neck of the woods. If you are on Twitter, seek out local resources!

When I travel, I like to connect in advance with people that live in that city, for local's tips. Turns out people are the best guidebook ever.

Comedy. Sometimes Twitter can be pure comedy with out following the obvious ones. Stay in tune with those hidden gems and retweet them on occasion, so I can start following them as well.

Foodies, I love following professional chefs and food bloggers. They are always full of fabulous ideas!

Just out of curiosity, is Twitter your happy place? Is it a business tool? Do you engage or just use it to consume information or broadcast?

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6 comments:

  1. I'm happy Twitter is your happy place. My blog and my facebook page are my happy places. Twitter? I don't do it, or get it. :( But really, I'm okay with it! :)

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  2. I like Twitter - but I feel like I'm so busy trying to catch up on my blog reading and writing that I don't have much time to do more than check in to *read* tweets. So actually - that's a little more along the lines of what I've used it for. I like to see what people are saying and I try to jump in on occasion, but it's definitely a passive involvement with intentions for more/better. I far prefer Twitter to Facebook though. FB is just like my address book and a place to keep in touch with a few friends who send messages through FB. Otherwise, I find status updates tedious.

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  3. Awesome post, Denise!

    I love reading what Twitter means to people and how each individual uses Twitter in ways that are tailored to their taste.

    Between my blog (open to anyone) Facebook (private) and Twitter (most private) the people I follow/let follow me on Twitter have to be people I know IRL (and admire) or people I'd like to know IRL (and admire). Twitter is my most private form of connection with others.

    So if I DO follow someone, I follow them for their wit, insight, contribution to others and inspiration.

    I'll unfollow someone if they are : consistantly rude, depressing, negative, continually use poor grammar, continually TMI of a personal nature, crass and just plain draining to follow.

    Because my Twitter account is private, there are many I follow that don't follow back (thinking unless they know me they're not gonna ask me to follow them) and I'm ok with that. It would be nice if @DaveRamsey or @JamieOliver or @CoryBooker would reply to my Tweets, but it's not necessary when all is said and done.

    Again, great topic - thanks for posting :-)

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  4. I like twitter, not on it as often as i should be but always check out your posts.

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  5. I quit twitter. It turned out I like to follow news and so it was just one long news stream. I hardly followed any people I actually know. I have a hard time chatting up random strangers in real life and it seems that personality trait carries over into the online world as well. Plus it felt like I was just putting out complaints because I know hardly anyone read them, unlike on FB where I feel at times I should censor myself. All that and I never really got into it....

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  6. Twitter still makes me a little jittery. I'm trying, though. I hate feeling disingenuous, and sometimes I feel like the dork who's trying to jump into the "cool kids" convo. I'm enjoying it a bit more... it takes a little effort.

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I always appreciate the gesture to stop and take a moment to comment. Thank you!