Monthly Archives: July 2011

Tips for Doing Advanced Twitter Searches

One of my favorite uses of the ”near:” advanced search operator is to view tweets from an approximate country area. Here are a few:

  • United States: Search for near:hutchinson within:1000mi
  • Australia: Search for near:adelaide within:1500mi
  • United Kingdom: Search for near:”barrow-in-furness” within:500km
Beware using the language filter (e.g. lang:en for english, etc) because it misses a lot of tweets. Why? Because it will only show you tweets that it KNOWS are in the language you requested. Many tweets are of “indetermined” language. Scroll down for more tips below the list of advanced search operators. Got a tip? Leave it in the comments and I’ll add it to this post and credit you!

The advanced search operators

You can type these search operators directly into the search box. Important! You must click “All” after searching to see all tweets:

all

 

 

Typing this Shows you tweets that
pic.twitter.com have native twitter pictures
-”pic.twitter.com” do NOT have native twitter pictures (not the use of ” quote marks
pic.twitter.com OR flic.kr OR
twitpic.com OR yfrog.com OR
pinterest.com OR instagr.am OR
flickr.com OR imgur.com
have pictures from popular image sources
has:retweet are native retweets
RT OR HT OR via are “quoted” retweets containing “RT” or “HT” or “via”
lang:en are only in the language “english”
funny movies contain both “funny” and “movies”. This is the default operator.
“silly argument” contain the exact phrase ”silly argument”.
man OR woman contain either “man” or “woman” (or both).
Yankees -baseball contain ”Yankees” but not “baseball”.
#FollowFriday contain the hashtag “#FollowFriday”.
from:ladygaga
were sent from person “ladygaga”.
to:tweetsmarter were sent to person “tweetsmarter”.
@Oprah
referencing person “Oprah”.
“chinese restaurant” near:”chicago” contain the exact phrase ”chinese restaurant” and sent near “chicago”
near:NYC within:15mi were sent within 15 miles of “NYC”.
superhero since:2011-07-30 contain  “superhero” and sent since date “2011-07-30″ (year-month-day).
ftw until:2011-07-30 contain ”ftw” and sent up to date “2011-07-30″.
movie -scary   :) contain ”movie”, but not “scary”, and with a positive attitude.
flight   :( contain ”flight” and with a negative attitude.
traffic ? contain ”traffic” and asking a question.
hilarious filter:links contain ”hilarious” and linking to URLs.
news source:twitterfeed contain ”news” and entered via TwitterFeed
lol source:txt contain ”lol” and only show tweets sent via SMS (texting)

More Great Tips

  1. More complex searches miss more tweets. Unless you are getting way too many tweets back in your results, consider using a simpler search and manually or visually rejecting the tweets you don’t want. And if a complex Twitter search fails completely, try simpler and simpler searches until one works, or try again later.
  2. There is often more than one variation of popular hashtags (for example, #FollowFriday and #ff mean the same thing). Be sure to research and use all relevant hashtags where needed in your searches.
  3. Sometimes a search won’t show you older tweets, because there are too many results. Consider doing one or more searches using the before: and since: date operators.

Don’t Be Tricked Into Retweeting People Trying To Manipulate You

If you look at some people’s Twitter streams, you can see they complain about whatever hashtag everyone else is complaining about and ask for retweets.

You can tell they don’t care about any particular issue at all. They’re  just trying to get retweets by using the hashtag. They claim to be “outraged” about something they don’t care about at all.

The most annoying thing is that some tweets trend just because people complain about them!

For example, when #Reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend began trending, I checked repeatedly and every single tweet using the hashtag was against the hashtag. Only very early on were there a few people tweeting actual negative tweets.

Using Controversy To Get Retweets

I heard one person say “It’s trending anyway, what’s wrong with me trying to get retweets?”

A favorite tactic of these folks is to say “retweet this to get Twitter to stop this.” But Twitter doesn’t do anything because groups of people complain. They act only through their system, according to their policies.

So if you see someone asking you to retweet them to get Twitter to do something, you may want to think twice about participating in building these people up. It’s fine to complain about what people are doing on Twitter, or to complain that you wish Twitter would change things. Just don’t lead people to believe that by retweeting a complaint about Twitter, you are helping them change things. You aren’t.

TIP: If you want to contact Twitter to request that they change something, write them at http://bit.ly/TWICKET. (Here’s some information about how Twitter tickets work.) If you want to learn more about Twitter’s policies regarding abusive users, read this.

Are you just complaining? Or are you manipulating ignorant people?

I’m not okay with manipulative people using the ignorance of others to build themselves up, but I understand that some confused people will tweet their genuine outrage thinking that Twitter will somehow take notice of their tweet.

Asking Twitter to change things, such as removing a hashtag from trending topics, or to suspend an account doesn’t work. If you’re outraged by something, blog or tweet that you are outraged, not that other people should retweet your tweet to get Twitter to change things. You’re misleading people for your own benefit if you do. People should retweet your outrage if they are outraged themselves. Not because it will make any difference to Twitter’s actions. It won’t.

How Twitter Works

Here is some more information about how and why Twitter suspends and unsuspends accounts and deals with Twitter issues.

Twitter’s CEO said they may in the future “edit out any…clearly offensive [trending topics].” He also said “we edit out any [trending topics] with obscenities.” Thanks to @rachelsklar for finding this tweet and @AbigailCollazo for pointing it out.

Note that Twitter doesn’t censor tweets (though Twitter will remove content promoting child pornography), and Trending Topics are automated. However, Twitter does suspend accounts that violate its content boundaries.

Will Google Plus be the world’s largest social network?

From my vantage point, I’m seeing engagement down quite a bit at Twitter, and up at Google Plus. And since the number of “active” users on Twitter currently approximately matches the number of new Google Plus users, Google Plus appears to only have to continue what it is already doing to succeed at becoming a social network on a par with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Google itself has many more active users than any other network does.  Besides users of its search engine, think of other Google products (many of which are inherently social) like YouTube, Gmail, Blogger, Maps, Documents, Picasa, Orkut, etc. (Realize that email is in some ways the world’s biggest social network.)

G+ only needs to have some integration into its existing products to become huge. People don’t have to leave other social networks for Google to grow huge, virtually overnight. While it clearly is a new social network, it can also simply be used as a social feature added to everything else Google does. And the vast majority of internet users use one of more of Google’s products.

And don’t overlook that Google can grow by buying other networks, even if it means overpaying a lot for them. Google can afford it. They’ve lost some bids in recent years, and have surely learned from the experience when to buy and what to pay.

But how much of the current success is just people trying out Google Plus? Every day that people keep using Google Plus actively is a sign it will succeed. How many days do we need before we can declare that people will keep using Google Plus? I think we’re already there. To succeed, I believe all Google Plus has to do at this point is not fail. And yet they could be the cause of their own failure, such as by suspending accounts without good reason and alienating users, for example.

Finally, realize that neither Twitter or Facebook are cool. What’s cool is what people do with Twitter or Facebook. Millions of people are already declaring that they’re doing cool things with G+, so If they can manage simply not to alienate users by breaking things or changing things in frustrating ways, I think G+ will continue to be a huge, huge success.

Who will be the biggest loser: Twitter or Facebook?

Look at it this way: If G+ had been available years ago, would Twitter have ever grown so large? Quite probably not. Almost all of the people that made Twitter grow have tried Google Plus already—and are declaring that they will keep using it if G+ doesn’t somehow screw it up. The early adopters of G+ are mostly not people migrating from Facebook, however. That’s because G+ and Twitter are both anyone-to-anyone connectors. Facebook is more for immediate circles of friends.

Also, Google has an incredible infrastructure and team around the world to handle growth, fix things and build things right from the beginning. It’s a huge, huge advantage. It wasn’t clear years ago what the best ways to build things were. A lot of what works best, infrastructure-wise, has been determined, and Google is poised to take advantage of that. No social network ever started knowing how to scale things for hundreds of millions of users. Google Plus is the first. Facebook, Twitter and Google have for many years been labs to figure out what the problems are, and what works. Solutions have been found, and now Google can benefit.

Twitter is the most likely loser in a head-to-head battle of “is it broken?”

Twitter knows it needs to upgrade parts of its infrastructure, but this is like swapping out the engine on a jet in flight. Even so, I believe they plan to do it. But in the meantime, they are stuck trying to make things the least bad, instead of the most good. While Google Plus will have technical problems, its very unlikely to build something that is already broken.

Twitter had no choice, since they never knew what they were building from day to day. It wasn’t completely their fault—no one knew what Twitter would be good for, and no one knew how popular it would be, or how fast it would grow. Facebook had a clearer, steadier growth path, and they’ve had more time to get things right, infrastructure-wise.

Missing Tweets

What kinds of problems does Twitter have? Besides downtime, the worst, in my opinion, is that Twitter won’t show you all tweets. (While Twitter’s “firehose” does show all tweets, it isn’t available free.) While Twitter tries to talk about this so as to minimize its importance, I have found in tests that I miss tweets every single day. Of course, as @TweetSmarter, I can get hundreds a day. And many of them show up eventually. (That’s how I can tell I missed them in the first place, by comparing.) But lots of folks trying out hashtag chats have found the same things. Some people and some tweets just don’t show up. It’s like duct taping the mouths of some participants in a group discussion.

Twitter Spam

I believe the second-worst problem is spam. The problem is that spam is an arms race, where anything Twitter does can cause spammers to change their tactics.

For example, if you receive a tweet from someone you don’t follow with nothing but a link, 99+ of the time it’s spam. But what if Twitter blocked these? Then spammers could just add one word with the link. If Twitter blocked those, then spammers could add two words, and so on. And should you be blocked from sending a tweet with a just a link? That would block lots of legitimate tweets. Read more about the problems of misidentifying spam here.

Twitter currently blocks links to phishing sites as soon as they identify them. But why not identify the language and then block the tweet completely? Since hackers inevitably use the same “is this you in this pic?” kind of tweets for awhile, it would reduce spam. Of course, spammers would then just mix up their language.

So in some ways, it’s better for Twitter to let spammy tweets through. It causes users to mark them as spam, for example, which helps Twitter determine which accounts to suspend. And Twitter suspends obvious spam accounts very quickly. The problem is that thousands are created *or waiting to be activated) all the time, and so the total spam is a problem.

One idea is to let new users know that they will be receiving a spam test tweet from an unnamed account. They would have to reply to a tweet of a picture with a description of what is in the picture, for example. This would make it VERY hard to run an automated spam account, because spammers would have to have a human read all incoming tweets to find and respond to the the test tweet.

What about the influencers?

If the kinds of people and entities that are most active and influential on social networking sites find Google Plus working for them, Google Plus will succeed, and other sites will suffer. We can guess whether this will happen by asking three questions:

  1. Does the G+welcome them? Do its features make it possible for them to much of what they did elsewhere? Do they gain useful features they don’t have elsewhere?
  2. Does the G+ welcome their community? Will their community follow or join them there?
  3. What will they lose in spending time on G+ that they normally would have spent elsewhere?

Is G+ as easy and useful as Twitter and Facebook for influencers?

Influencers have already declared they like Google Plus, so the answer is pretty clear regardless of specific feature sets. And Google will be making business/non-personal accounts available soon so as to have a product for all influencers.

Do influencers really lose a lot, feature-wise, at Google Plus so far? Mostly not—and Google has said many features are on the way, and it will be changing in response to feedback. But since Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are all changing rapidly, it’s somewhat too soon to compare features. However, in the end, Google is very likely to have the richest feature set of all, by over time integrating all their current tools. Also, Google Plus is free to take what works best from Facebook and Twitter.

Will people follow influencers to Google Plus?

Yes, many will. People are already marveling at the rate of engagement on Google Plus. Longtime bloggers with lots of commenters are getting anywhere from double to 100 times the number of comments by publishing on Google Plus instead of on their blog. Sure, one reason is simply that a lot of people are testing Google Plus, but when it’s working so well, the “test” becomes the new normal.

Also, influencers are already finding that they are following people to G+, not the other way around. When your community moves, you have to listen. And G+ will experience huge growth when it comes out of invitation-only.

What is lost by spending time on Google Plus?

This is not as important a question as it seems. Once tools like TweetDeck let you manage Google Plus from the same interface you use for everything else, time isn’t as big an issue. And this will happen soon. There are a already a variety of tools to manage content across G+ and other networks.

If you’ve decided you need a social networking presence, it’s going to be hard to avoid also being on Google Plus. And there is hardly an influencer of any kind anywhere in the world that doesn’t have a social networking presence of some kind, a Twitter account or Facebook page (or a Chinese equivalent).

Summary

Google Plus has been tested, and has already succeeded. They are unlikely to screw up by breaking things. Because of their huge userbase and by satisfying millions of early users, huge growth is virtually assured.

I predict once they get beyond their current invite-only state and integrate Google Plus into all Google products, if people don’t find reasons to avoid it, G+ will have more active users than Facebook by the end of 2012.

What do you think? You can leave a comment on the Google Plus version of this post here.

 

Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus are about to start changing really, REALLY fast

When someone asks me how to compare these three networks, I always say we’ll know soon…but not yet. Each has given some indication that they have a lot of changes planned for the near future. But also, each is watching the other for ideas—and for things to protect themselves from. Here are a couple of quick points about each:

Google Plus

Google Plus is hard to ignore, because everyone who cares about making a good showing in Google’s search results is going to need to be on G+. It’s the closest thing from a big player to a real combination of a blog and a social network yet, and oh yeah, Google owns an enormous network of blogs. It will be interesting to see how thatplays out.

  1. G+ wants to get social right. They’re taking a very top-down view of what that means: They want to become the hub of most of what you do on the internet (when you’re not on Facebook or Twitter).
  2. They’ve indicated they’re going to make rapid changes both in response to user experience and internal feedback and ideas. They’re going to eventually have the widest social feature set of these three networks.

Twitter

Twitter may overcome two big problems before the end of 2011:

  1. It breaks things a lot and still fails to show all tweets.
  2. It never knew what it was before. It’s purpose has been invented by users, who have dragged Twitter along with what they do.

Twitter is acting like internally, it finally knows what it wants to be, and is chomping at the bit to introduce a bunch of new features to prove it.

Facebook

Facebook came right out after introducing video chat and said it was the first of a bunch of feature they had ready to go. Facebook knew of Google’s plan before anyone else, and have been preparing for it.

  1. Facebook watches its user extraordinarily closely. Even though they’ve lost users in the U.S., don’t count them out. They have plans to bring less active users back.
  2. They are also positioning themselves to be the hub of most of what you do on the internet.

Predictions

First off, whichever network fails to make good changes is very likely to lose ground to whichever network does the best job making changes. The reasons for use and popularity of each of these networks could be very, very different even as soon as a year from now.

Mobile and News Reading

The thing each is working the hardest on is mobile, and so this is the space where most of the immediate innovations will be announced for.  Flipboard, former iPad App of the Year and one of TIME’s top 50 innovations of 2010 was a wakeup call for all networks. Expect the innovation in reading shared links started by Flipboard to affect all networks. But first, expect each network to innovate around their key app presence. They want the app you use for their network to be something you really, really want to use.

Shopping and Entertainment

The big thing that everyone does on the internet that none of these networks do much about—yet—is buying stuff. Look for partnerships and deep integrations with some of:

  1. Shopping sites (Amazon.com, iTunes, music networks, Wal-Mart, etc.)
  2. Payment processors (PayPal, Google Payments, Square, and the new crop of services coming from credit card companies).
  3. Selling hubs and couponers (Groupon, LivingSocial, etc) and possibly even MySpace, for it’s strength in music and entertainment.
  4. Big producers of content, such as Hollywood, TV networks, YouTube and other online producers.

They will also continue try to home-brew their own systems. Figure on at least two interesting announcements in time for the 2011 shopping season.

Business and advertising

Business now believes they can’t ignore social sites, and so social sites still have a huge opportunity in making it work better for them. Businesses are the users with money to spend, often on advertising, and so all sites will bec0me much, much more business friendly in 2011/2012. Look for turnkey, one-stop-solutions now provided by outside vendors to start coming in-house and being offered by the networks themselves. In particular, all networks are still lagging in adding innovative and desirable advertising options, so look for a lot of changes here.

User Satisfaction

Facebook ranks last in user satisfaction for the second year in a row, Twitter was not rated (because too few users are on Twitter.com) but would have fared horribly, and Google Plus has a few features that are already driving users crazy (posts with many comments taking over the screen, for example). Look for all networks to try to make mobile the destination for most users, and make users happy there, while still improving greatly on the web.

Is your follower a spammer…or a hijacked account?

If you think someone’s account has been hijacked, let them know!

Tell them to change their account password and check for bad apps at http://j.mp/YourTwitterApps. (You can also just send them this tweet.)

Of course, sometimes, you can’t tell. But you should usually check, because if your account was hijacked, wouldn’t you want someone to help you? Here is the list of messages sent from hijacked accounts: http://bit.ly/HijackAlerts

“Hacked” or Hijacked?

Accounts can be taken over in a variety of ways. For example, you can be taken to a page that makes it seem you are logged out of Twitter, and once you log back in, the bad guys get your password. This fools a lot of people, even smart users when they’re tired.

Some people argue over whether an account should be considered “hacked” or not depending on what happened. For that reason, I often just say “hijacked account” to avoid the debate :) For more info on what can happen, see “How bad Twitter links & apps can trick you.”

Hijacked Twitter accounts are usually used to send spam messages, which encourage users to click links that point to sites that either claim to sell something or try to trick users to enter login credentials or install apps that will take over their accounts to send more spam.

What is spam?

Spam takes a lot of forms, but the kind to watch out for always has a link, and always encourages you to click it, often with dramatic statements such as:

  • “Is this you in this pic/video/blog?”
  • “See who’s visiting your profile/stalking you on Twitter”
  • “This is something you might like to see…”
  • “$3,000 to $8,000 a month working from home”
  • “You have been sent a e-Card”
  • …and many, many others

How can you tell when someone had their Twitter account hijacked?

  1. Someone you are already familiar with on Twitter begins sending uncharacteristically spammy messages.
  2. Someone is sending a phrase that Twitter (@Safety @Spam @Delbius) or @TweetSmarter has warned is a being sent from hacked accounts. @TweetSmarter will always add the hashtag #Alert or #Warning to such tweets. Warnings from Twitter can take a variety of forms.
To see the latest warnings, visit http://bit.ly/TwitterAlertsWarnings

What should you do?

Tell anyone you think that has been hacked to http://bit.ly/BlockBadApps and read http://bit.ly/IfTwitterHacked. Send them a DM, or tweet if they don’t follow you.

Why doesn’t Twitter do even more to protect us?

Twitter suspends bad apps, and blocks suspicious links. But spammers, as soon as they determine a link or site has been blocked, keep tweeting similar/same things with new links to new websites or apps that do the same bad things. And until Twitter catches it again, more people are spammed or infected with malware.

 

How to get your question answered on Twitter

1. Don’t use multiple tweets

Don’t ask if you can ask, or split your question into multiple parts. Just write your question into a single tweet.

Ideally, keep your question to under 140 characters. If you must go longer, use a service like TwitLonger.

2. Include a question mark “?” in your tweet.

If you don’t, people that are trying to help you might not see your question. The first I always check after being away from Twitter is any tweets or DMs with question marks.

Because @TweetSmarter can get up to a 1000 tweets and DMs in a day, I can’t read them all. So if you’d like help, be sure to include a “?” in your tweet so I’m sure to see it. (I also look at all tweets that have the word “question” in them, even if they don’t include a “?” but most people only search for the “?” when trying to find questions to answer.)

3. Have a username strategy

Best of all is to send a DM (direct message) to someone that can help you that follows you. DMs lets you have a conversation where everything is in one place (on New Twitter) and send a lot of messages back and forth without overwhelming your timeline. Also, many people with questions prefer the privacy of DMs.

► The strategy most likely to get a response from a regular tweet to is address your tweet to one account specifically, starting with a “.” such as:

.@TweetSmarter Is there a way I can tweet over 140 on a Blackberry?

(Learn more about how to use the “.” at the beginning of your tweets.)

► However, if you’re in a hurry, add 1-2  usernames of people (NOT at the beginning of the tweet) you hope might answer your question, and make your tweet public e.g.

Does anyone know how to tweet over 140 on a Blackberry? @TweetSmarter @BBGeeks

4. Don’t Tweet accounts that don’t answer

► Don’t put @Twitter in your tweet—they don’t answer. It’s also a bad idea to ask other official Twitter accounts, generally. They get too many tweets to answer.

Don’t add more than two usernames to a tweet, generally. It makes you seem disconnected and desperate, and it also suggests that anyone responding should first check to see if someone else has responded—which is too much work for most users, who like to deal with tweets quickly.

5. Thank anyone that helps you!

The more you thank or praise people, the faster you will make connections to good people on Twitter. Do it several times a day, if you can! That way people who are checking out your tweets for the first time will see you are real person grateful for the assistance of others. It makes you a more appealing person to follow.

Also, remember to make any “thank you” tweets public! Check out http://bit.ly/TweetThanks for more tips on how to do that.

6. Wait for an answer

Many people don’t see their tweets every day, or even every other day. Don’t tweet someone a second time until you’ve given them three days or so. If they don’t respond to a second tweet, stop tweeting them.

7. Prepare in advance by making connections with people that can help you

People are more predisposed to helping people they have already made a connection with. Read “How to find and engage influential Twitter users.”

8. About getting help from @TweetSmarter

We try to respond to everyone that tweets us with a comment or problem. See “Tips for getting the most from @TweetSmarter.”

9. Infographic on Twitter questions:

Source: http://blog.inboxq.com/54320628

 

Cheat Sheet For Comparing Twitter to Google+ and Facebook [infographic]

Two users have created great comparisons of Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook, in table and infographic forms. I’ll show the infographic first, and below that, the table.

The infographic is by Stefano Epifani, who made this English version available from his (Italian-language) website here. Click to enlarge:

Hutch Carpenter (VP of Product, Spigit) posted this great cheat sheet as a table on Quora to highlight where Google+ is like either Facebook or Twitter.

Back to top

As Jonathan points out in the comments, Twitter offers near-inline graphics and media, and should probably get at least a 1/2 for that :)

Two dozen great Twitter tips to live by

The two tweets I sent out about @DarrenRovell‘s “100 Twitter Rules To Live By” I felt didn’t reach enough people, so I’ve highlighted what I feel are two dozen of his most tweetable tips (and I’ve edited some slightly to make them shorter or more easily tweetable). If you like these, I suggest you read his whole list.

  1. Tweet your gratitude when anyone goes above & beyond for you. If you are impressed, let your followers know. (Tips for tweeting thank-yous.)
  2. Instead of complaining about “free iPad” spam, take 3 seconds and report them as spam. Help solve the problem.
  3. Twitter isn’t a megaphone, it’s a telephone.
  4. Twitter Search may be the most valuable search engine on the Internet. Use it. (Twitter search tips.)
  5. When mentioning a person or brand, look up and use their Twitter handle if they have one.
  6. Follow and tweet out strangers sometimes. There are smart people outside of your circle of friends.
  7. When someone visits your account, your most recent tweets are your resume. Tweet a mixture of things.
  8. Don’t obsess about missing something in your timeline. Obsess about furthering the dialogue.
  9. Don’t announce when you’ve unfollowed someone. Egos run rampant enough on Twitter…move on.
  10. #FollowFriday tweets are a waste of time if you don’t say why they deserve a follow. (#FollowFriday tips.)
  11. Add your touch to a retweet sometimes—even if it’s just a word or two.
  12. Ask your followers for good accounts to follow.
  13. Have 3 good tweets that aren’t time sensitive? Schedule them at different times so each gets attention. (Tweet scheduling tips.)
  14. Proofread your tweets. The amount of typos in 140 characters is mind blowing.
  15. Short tweets stand out. Try saying something poignant in 50 characters. It has a great chance of getting RT’d.
  16. Comment before the RT. Commenting after makes it difficult to distinguish your comment from the original. (About Retweets: Glossary, Syntax and Punctuation.)
  17. If you experience Twitter writer’s block, just take a break. You don’t have a daily quota to meet.
  18. Put up an avatar. Nobody wants to follow a colored egg. It only means your future on Twitter is “cooked.”
  19. Never RT a list of #FollowFriday’s someone included you in. At most Favorite it…and spare your followers.
  20. Lists come in handy when you want a specific group’s most recent tweets. Make some and follow some. (Tips for using lists to find good people to connect with.)
  21. Don’t tweet during important life occasions. Savor the moment; Twitter will be there for you when it’s all done.
  22. Get people who surround you on a daily basis on Twitter. Believe me, it’s a marriage tip too.
  23. Know when something reaches critical mass. If your entire timeline has tweeted the same quote, hold back.
  24. Spend time with people you know in real life…or who are you going to talk to when Twitter is over capacity?

Misunderstanding Twitter, “The Semi-Colon of Social Media”

Quote in headline is from @JenniferLockett

Why do so many people swear by Twitter, while other swear they will never try it because it doesn’t make sense?

“In no other walk of life have people bashed something so fervently that they haven’t tried as Twitter.” – @DarrenRovell

Years ago I came across an argument in a grocery store. An elderly woman was mad at a woman who appeared to be her daughter. The elderly woman was saying.

No! I won’t be one of those people talking to themselves while they shop for groceries!

But a little more eavesdropping turned up a big surprise: She wasn’t concerned about her mental health. The older woman was saying she would not accept the gift of a mobile phone from her daughter. The daughter wanted her to have it for safety, so she would always have a phone she could use in case of emergency.

But the older woman just saw people “making fools of themselves” by talking on phones as they roamed the aisles, seemingly speaking to ghosts. She didn’t want a phone because she wasn’t going to be “another one of those fools.”

Technology doesn’t have to control you. Make it work for YOU.

Of course, the older woman could have kept the phone turned off in her purse, and no one would have known she even had one. It’s amazing how easily we are misled as to what we can do with technology. New technology always seems to fool many people into thinking it will control them, rather than the other way around.

That’s why when people first started saying about Twitter “Why would anyone want to know what I had for breakfast?” at first I laughed, but now I just shake my head.  Were people really that foolish? Just because they heard other people talking about breakfast, they thought they would have to as well?

The learning curve of new things

If you are NOT an early adopter, the most important thing to remember is this: When something new becomes widely adopted:

  1. Stop listening to the people that say they don’t understand it.
  2. Throw out what you think you know about it.
  3. Ask a few people you respect how people like you are getting benefits from the technology. Try to find actual people like yourself you can talk to.

You must find out how people like yourself are making the technology work for them. Ignore everything else. Keep asking until you can find out about someone like you who is using and benefiting from the technology.

It’s very important that you shut your ears to information that doesn’t help. The message of people that say something is a “waste of time” is that:

I understand how it works, and it isn’t useful.

This is a lie. They do NOT understand how it works. These are the wrong people to listen to!

Find the right people. Find out how Twitter, or any new technology, can work for you.

Keep an open mind until you do.

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