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Thoughts from a Twitter User

Recently I noticed that one of the people I follow on Twitter had been having what I thought of as interesting twitter followersconversations with someone that they follow.  Since I was interested and could only see half of the discussion I decided to follow that individual as well. I didn’t think that there was anything unusual or surprising about that decision. The following day I received a message on my Facebook account from that individual stating that they had noticed that I was following them and asking if I knew them.  I am paraphrasing their words which were said in what I perceived to be a slightly more harsh and accusatory tone.   I was a little surprised and I did not know exactly how to answer the question.  I had not thought that a face to face meeting was a necessary prerequisite to following someone via Twitter.  I did not think that was so for friending someone on Facebook either but I can see where the term “friend” and the idea of calling someone a “friend” might imply that your social spheres have crossed or that there was some level of cordial communication involved.  I did not see it that way at all for Twitter.

I was under the impression that the site promoted following based on the ideas and interests that the individual is tweeting about, among other things of course. Lisa Brookes Kift stated about social networks that they are “a great way to network and foster relationships with like minded people and those interested in learning more about topics that I know something about.” Twitter itself explains that this is a way for individuals to “stay hyper-connected to your friends and always know what they’re doing. Or, you can stop following them at any time. You can even set up quiet times on Twitter so you’re not interrupted. Twitter puts you in control and becomes a modern antidote to information overload.”  Dr.John M Grohol PsyD states that Twitter “is a unique form of online socializing. Twitter offers no real beginning, middle or end to a conversation. As a result, the open universe of non-stop, rolling chatter makes people feel like they don’t want to miss anything.”

Twitter is also not just for individuals and small businesses.  More and more twitter activity has become a corporate endeavor.  The suggestions for a successful corporate twitter presence differs somewhat from the common sense etiquette that individuals should follow but not all too much.   According to “Corporate Twitter” by Chris Miller these guidelines include listen to followers, add value and provide useful content, only follow others when followed or mentioned so to not to annoy or appear as spam, respond to every tweet directed at you, and use replies rather than direct messages so to appear more transparent.

Despite recent news hype warning of Twitter’s ability to destroy your non-internet related relationships by making you “less available to your children, friends and partners in your real-life world,” states Soren Gordhamer, an expert on the over-stressed and over-connected, as a new vehicle to “bruise our digital egos”, as a means to lower productivity through distraction,  etc. this is in my opinion an excellent tool for anyone interested in staying informed.

  1. November 3rd, 2009 at 08:53 | #1

    Jessica, you certainly did read the goal of Twitter correctly. It is indeed odd that someone contacted you asking if you knew them. That is most irregular. I’m curious: who was it?

  2. November 3rd, 2009 at 08:55 | #2

    Interesting, too, that the person contacted you via Facebook. That is ever more irregular. Personally, I don’t care for bringing Twitter friends into Facebook (even when I was using Facebook regularly). All very odd if you ask me.

  3. Mary Chrapliwy
    November 3rd, 2009 at 22:04 | #3

    Jessica, your take on twitter is the correct one. Unfortunately the person who contacted you doesn’t understand the open conversational tone that twitter encourages.

    By the way, I have also had an experience spawned by twitter. I have received facebook requests – I’ve been invited to join and friend two people on twitter. I don’t know either of them and am not following either of them AND I am not on facebook. I ignored the invitations.

  4. Jessica Collins
    November 6th, 2009 at 16:03 | #4

    @BW

    Yes I thought that was rather odd. The message was from @GodPlaysDice Michael Reca.

  5. Jessica Collins
    November 6th, 2009 at 16:05 | #5

    @BW
    Yes I thought it was rather strange as well. The message was from @GodPlaysDice.

  6. JessicaCollins
    November 6th, 2009 at 16:13 | #6

    Yes I thought that it was rather strange. The comment was made by @GodPlaysDice.

  7. March 19th, 2010 at 01:53 | #7

    Twitter is not for everyone. Some people down much better communicating in person.

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