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Using Twitter to connect with others is one of the keys to success. But many people are very immature in how they try to connect.
Tweeting “follow me” or “please retweet this” to people you have no connection with is a typical bad example.
I’ve written about the right way to connect on Twitter here.
In short: Find people who have shared interests with that you feel good about supporting and help them achieve their missions. The more people that you help, the more people will help you.
But some people see how badly immature people try to connect on Twitter and misunderstand my advice that connecting is important.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the advice in this post seems catered to a really specific audience, maybe people who are interested in using social media to network just for the sake of networking.
This post seems to de-emphasize the importance of the actual content you post on your Twitter feed — I know it doesn’t exist in a vacuum (I’ve read those advice columns too), but isn’t your own brand, your own product, your own content ultimately what matters most?
If you fill your gap by getting Ashton Kutcher to @ reply you five times, and then his followers click through to find a Twitter feed equivalent to the back-rubbing and boot-licking blather that numbs minds at networking conferences in garish hotels across the country, then what’s the point?
Julie’s concerns about content and immature motivations are both valid. This was my response:
Branding matters. Content matters. Absolutely. I’ve written about that elsewhere. I can’t cover all topics in each post. This post is about connections.
Just because there are people who try to connect for immature reasons in immature ways doesn’t mean that connecting itself is an immature activity.
The ways people connect cover a huge range. There are CEOs who connect with other CEOs and do multi-million dollar deals, and there are teenage girls who tweet to every boy celebrity an inanity of nearly impossible to understand emoticons and follow requests.
And no matter how hard someone tries, they won’t be able to “fill in the gap” by getting a celebrity to reply to (or retweet) them. That will pretty much NEVER work.
Yes, thousands of immature people try to get celebrities to follow and retweet them. But don’t worry about those immature people—most will grow up eventually. This post is written for the grown-ups.
Grown ups who chat with one another about issues that are of importance to them both rarely produce content that would be described as “back-rubbing and boot licking,” but there are certainly feeds like that out there.
Connections between grownups matter, and not enough people make a sincere effort to make those connections. Many of those that do have found it be the most powerful use of their time, so I felt it important to share their perspective.
Thanks for your focus, and helping me to clarify
A group of folks at the University of Vermont measured average happiness on Twitter over a three year period running from September 9, 2008 to August 31, 2011.
While Saturdays (red dots) were typically and not surprisingly high points each week, what is a surprise is that at the end of 2010, excluding holidays, people began getting less happy, a trend which began worsening in 2011.
Here’s a chart (simplified from the original figure 3), showing the end of 2009 through to August 2011 (click to enlarge), with a downward sloping arrow added to the background to show the trend:
To see the full image from mid-2008 through August 2011, go here and click on the left to see “figure 3.” By my analysis, the biggest drop compared to previous years was in late spring/early summer weekdays in 2011. Could a lack of summer jobs for students be a major cause of the drop?
46 billion words from over 63 million users
46 billion words from nearly 4.6 billion expressions over a 33 month span by over 63 million unique users were examined. Here’s a closeup of 2010, where happiness began to trend downwards:
But, what is “Happiness?”
To understand what constituted “happiness,” they conducted a survey to obtain “happiness evaluations” of over 10,000 individual words, which they claim was a tenfold size improvement over similar existing word sets.
As part of the evaluation they obtained 50 independent evaluations per word, asking users to rate how a given word made them feel on a nine point integer scale.
The report is full of fascinating charts, such as these:
- Figure 16. Ambient happiness time series and word shift graphs for tweets containing the keywords ‘Tiger Woods’ and ‘BP’.
- Figure 17. Time series and word shift graphs for tweets containing the keywords ‘Pope’ and ‘Israel’.
- Figure 3. Overall happiness, information, and count time series for all tweets averaged by individual day.
- Figure 5. Average happiness as a function of day of the week for our complete data set.
- Figure 10. Average happiness level according to hour of the day, adjusted for local time.
In Figure 12, shown below cropped for simplicity, the shift in happiness from the happiest hour (5 am to 6 am) relative to the least happy hour (10 pm to 11 pm) is plotted. Go here for the full chart.