Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Perspective: Why in the world would anyone use Twitter?

On February 1 of this year, I joined the ranks of Twitter,
a/k/a Twitterland, Twitterville, Twitterverse, the land of
its own Twitterology (a/k/a language, terminology)
as @JoLoPe. (Those who Twitter a/k/a Twitterites/Twitterers
will place the @ sign in front of another's ID to "address"
a/k/a message another user).

One thing I noticed is that there are many self professed
geeks. Another thing I noticed was @MarkDavidson
who was constantly Twittering (a/k/a updating, messaging)
to others "I will not flirt with ," several times, with several members.

I noted a number of members who were very attractive
women who were so excited about getting a free lap top,
telling me that I could get one, too.

There also seemed to be a marked dislike by many for how
many others were using these things called DMs (a/k/a
Direct Messages, Private Messages). One member, @Boshemia
was even so excited when I communicated with her, as I was
proving to her that I was not a "bot" (a/k/a an automated
system doing the work).

I found myself awkwardly navigating the site, jumping into
conversations, hoping that in the only 140 characters I
could use to communicate (that's all that Twitter will
allow per communication) would come off sounding OK. I
realized soon enough that a conversation could be held
by stringing a number of these messages together. I wasn't
limited to one to convey my whole thought, while at the
same time finding myself more and more adept at
communicating succinctly.

I followed links to all sorts of sites, and started to
"Follow" people, some with a staggering number of "Followers."
(Following is like subscribing to a magazine: You get
to read the articles - in this case posts/updates - if you
flip through the pages - in this case - the stream a/k/a
the messages/updates of those you are following and/or go
to their own personal stream pages by clicking on their name.)

Some Tweets (the messages/updates) that those who use
Twitter write were profane, inflammatory, others kind
and generous. There were messages of quotes, of
inspiration, and messages about what someone was eating
for lunch. There were "Good Morning" types or messages,
and end of day sign off messages. There were many,
including myself pondering what it was to be obsessed
by Twitter, or what it takes to be a Twitter addict.
Thanks to @theexpert, I found out. To my relief,
by his definition, I think I MIGHT be safe - for the moment,
any way.

I had only about 40 followers in the first couple of weeks,
and wondered how those who had so many managed to get them.
I saw one guy who had this "crazy" idea to get thousands
of subscribers in a relatively short time, and saw many jump
on the idea, and watched as there seemed to be mixed
reaction and results.

Some people believe in following anyone who follows them.
Others are more discriminating. There are theories and ideas
on that, too. There are many who would profess to be an
expert on social media, and lots of tools and opinions are
in various blogs and in various sites. There is a wealth of
opinion and a wealth of information.

Who's right? Who's more right? Who's wrong? Who do you
listen to? Which way does one go?

Does this sound like anything else to you? Like maybe your
life? It may not be as obvious in your day to day life,
however, in my work as a life coach, and hypnotist, I have
found that many people have opinions about how other's lives
should go, and lack an understanding and appreciation for
forging their own path.

I recently saw an article about 5 people who broke social
media's rules
, and loved it. I loved it because it is
my opinion that the rule breakers are the ones that, in many
ways, have the potential to move us forward. If we always
did things the way others said we should, where would progress
come from (see great video on the genius of unique thought
in a previous blog entry)?

However, more importantly, at least in my perspective, is
the idea of being true to who YOU are. When I first started
to Tweet, I was getting the lay of the land, and seeking to find
the way it works for me. When I first started, what I was doing
was uncomfortable, in part because it was new, and in part
because I was seeking to understand the *best* way to use the
site.

I saw many established users saying that relationships come
FIRST, and THEN selling, and yet, there are many who are all
about me, me, me and what I have to offer. Aren't I great?
(LOL, I can't resist another message from that wise sage,
@theexpert.)

It occurs to me to question whether or not this approach
works in "real" life. In my experience, I would say not.
In my experience, we would all probably get along a lot
better and understand one another more, if we all could get
that life is better lived in our relationships to one another,
vs what we can get from one another. The cool thing seems
to be if we do we relate, then we get whole lot more than
if we start in the place of how can we get something from
someone.

Yes, I came to Twitter for business reasons. I had a radio
show I wanted to promote
, and wanted to meet people who
were interested in hypnosis and wanted to be hypnotized
a/k/a new clients (smile), and I saw it as an avenue in which
to do that. However, what I have found is my new office.

For years I have worked at home, and have missed the office
environment from the social perspective. The "Good Morning"s,
the "How was your weekend"s, the conversation about what was
going on in another's life...the doctor's appointment...the
hope you are feeling better...the elevator social chats...
the same people I would see on the commute to work...
the friendships in between the work.

And, just like any other office, this one has its quirks and
its characters. It has its leaders and its followers. It
has its own style and personality. It has its rules and its
rule breakers. It has its own way of speaking and language.

I now get that a part of the charm of Twitter IS in the
lunch descriptions, and in the things that are not all business.
I know there are some who would entirely disagree. The cool
thing is, though, is that in beginning to find my own pace,
my own approach, I am in touch with some really amazing people
who think that I am so cool. The funny thing is that I was
never the cool one growing up. At least I never felt that way.
And yet, here I am amongst some of the coolest kids on the
block, and they're wanting to be around me.

I suspect that there is a lot to be said for being true to
we are. It is an incredible magnet. There is a lot to be
said for creating life as we would have it be, versus the way
someone else says it should be.

Btw, I have also found that it relates to life. Sometimes I
will try to do something just as someone else has done it,
after all, it works for them. Aren't you supposed to follow
success? Well...I have found what THEY do awkward for me,
even after the newness has warn off. That is when I know that
whatever the thing is, or whatever the approach is, I need to
find my own way, which is not necessarily easy with the
voices of others and their opinions in my life, however, I
must say, that when I do follow MY own lead (after
consideration of what others have done), I am my most content
and successful.

I have very much enjoyed my hours, lots and lots of hours, on
Twitter, and have met some great people, and sooooo look forward
to getting to know those who are following me. Just know that
if you do follow, sooner or later I am going to find you, and
ask you about yourself, and I am going to want to know more
about you than the fact that you sell your product or service.

There is more to you than that. We both know it, and I would
love to be able to learn more about those parts of you, and share
those parts of you with others. The places you are the most
passionate are the ones that I find the most intriguing - likely I
can relate to those things better than I can to your product or
service.

I don't know about you, but when I used to work in an office,
there was always work to be done, but so often I would find
the stuff in between the work to be the most enjoyable and
interesting.

However, please know that I know that others may have an interest
and benefit in getting to know all about you - product and
service - and all. I am happy to share. I would say it's one
of the best things about Twitter.

In my mind (and perspective!), when you keep others in mind,
hooking up with like minds has never been easier.

Thanks so much for reading, and have an AWESOME day!
Elizabeth a/k/a JoLoPe

7 comments:

Melinda said...

Beautifully stated. Thank you for that.

Melinda (aka butterflymaven and newbie twitterer)

Elizabeth Alraune said...

you are quite welcome :-) It's been floating around in my mind for a while. I woke up this AM with a brainstorm :-)

thattalldude said...

Nice post. We all find a groove on Twitter, and right about the time we get settled into it, something happens and our groove changes.

As you follow more people, you'll see your tweeting style change too. But as long as you connect with people who like to connect, it will always be a blast! :)

~Shawn K (@thattalldude)

Elizabeth Alraune said...

"Nice post."
Thanks!

"We all find a groove on Twitter, and right about the time we get settled into it, something happens and our groove changes."
Somehow I wouldn't be surprised. The experience seems to be quite organic.

Thanks Shawn K @thattalldude for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU. Wonderful perspective and points, many with which I agree.

Irene Koehler said...

In your short time on twitter, you've come across a wide range of people and interactions. Those committed to sharing valuable content, those aiming to game the system, those yearning for conversation, and those spamming others hoping to make a sale somewhere along the line. Just like in "real" life, everyone is there. The beauty of social networking is that you can define your own experience by connecting with those aligned with your preferences, interests and style. Those who don't fit - disconnect and move on.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and perspective.

Cheers,

Irene

http://twitter.com/irenekoehler
http://almostsavvy.com

Elizabeth Alraune said...

Thanks for dropping by Irene, and for sharing your perspective. Have a great day!