@sjdorst – How I use Twitter
I’ve created this page to give people who click through from my Twitter profile link the specific information that I look for when I’m trying to decide whether to follow other people. If you’ve somehow arrived here from someplace OTHER than Twitter, then here’s a link to my Twitter Profile Page, where you can follow me if you want!
Major policy update 15 APR 2012:
Until this morning, I had a personal policy of examining the time line of all who interacted with me in any way. If your action caused Twitter to email me (Mention, Reply, Twitter verbatim retweet, follow or you favorited one of my tweets) or appear on my Interactions tab, then I took the time to see if I want to follow you.
Unfortunately, I no longer have enough time to do that. I’ve become a bit of a Twitterholic, and I have to cut back somewhere. Consequently:
I will no longer take the time to look at your time line if our only interaction is that you:
- Favorited a tweet of mine
- Used Twitter Verbatim Retweet to share my tweet with your followers or
- Used old “RT” style retweet without adding to the conversation
So how do you get me to follow you? Engage! Contribute to a conversation I’m having! Or bring a link to my attention that you think I’ll value. Or CC me on a thought of yours.
Perverseley, I’m LESS likely to follow you back than I am to follow others? Why? As I’m slavishly devoted to both the #Uppers and #Nerdland communities, I already see some of you regularly. Now, as my timeline continues to overflow, I have to look at you to far more closely while asking myself: Do I they really tweet enough about stuff OUTSIDE of these communities that it’s worth putting ALL their tweets – including the ones I already see through #Uppers and #Nerdland – into my main timeline? So please, don’t be offended if I don’t follow you back! If a preponderance of your tweets are in those communities, I’m already your Tweet buddy!
I’m going to do this in Q&A Format:
I followed you, will you follow me back?
Yes. No? Maybe!
I did a blog post about this a while ago outlining my two essential truths about Twitter (It’s my primary news source and my timeline is too full), and why they combine to give reasons why I did NOT follow some people. Since then, my time problem has become even worse! So I’m being very selective about who I follow.
I won’t follow you if, when I examine your timeline, I see too many inane tweets. What’s inane? Tweeting a 1 or 2 word or very short @reply without any context. I don’t know YOUR friends, and I’m not going to take the time to “view the conversation” to grok the context. My personal use of Twitter is as a news & opinion gathering and sharing medium. I don’t use it as a public forum to talk to my friends. That’s what texting and Google+ Circles are for!
If you don’t give good link (for newbies to Twitter, that’s linking to OTHER web content in your Tweets), then you damn well better have really good original thoughts or I won’t follow you!
In Twitter, as in real life, I don’t tolerate proselytizers. I can get along with just about anyone with any political, economic, personal or religious view UNLESS you feel that it is your mission in life to convert me to YOUR view!
Given my time constraints, the less you tweet, the more likely I am to follow you! My timeline is too full for following people who tweet more than 4-5 times/day without VERY careful consideration about what they add to my Twitter experience.
What do you Tweet about?
I’m most interested in Infrastructure, although you might not realize that given my Twitter stream! I’m passionate about Transit and High Speed Rail – especially in how they relate to economic Justice.
I’m also a minor foodie, struggling to balance my desire for Organic AND Local Food against the severe problems in avoiding waste that are particular to one who, like me, lives alone.
I’m also a big supporter of independent booksellers, especially specialty booksellers. One of the joys of my youth, encouraged by my father, was many hours spent browsing the small bookstores of Berkeley, almost all of which are now gone! With the advent of Amazon and Barnes & Noble online, and the big book retailers, small specialty bookstores are an endangered species. There is nothing that can compare with a small bookstore whose owner (and often sole proprietor) is passionate about their product.
I’ve recently started following atheists, and tweeting about MY atheism (along with good links to atheist content). While I’ve been an atheist for my entire life, I recently realized that I’ve shied away from asserting that part of my identity, that atheists are a persecuted (subtly) minority, and that it’s time for me to stop being meek about that part of me!
I’m a Liberal, Progressive, Democratic Socialist (take your pick, they all apply!). For those of you who don’t understand Socialism, I’m a socialist along the lines of Scandinavia, not a “socialist” along the lines of the USSR, Hitler’s Germany, Cuba or any of the other totalitarian states that have (or had) the chutzpah to call themselves “socialist”. And I tweet about it!
I believe the most important sentence fragment in the US Constitution is from the Preamble: “…promote the general Welfare…” Our Founding Father’s created the constitution to allow us to care for each other through a strong central government.
I don’t normally tweet about work, or about things that are primarily work related. My use of Twitter is mostly personal. However, I follow a number of organizations that tweet content of interest to me in my professional life. I generally don’t respond in Twitter, but I do use the content at work! As far as I can recall, I’ve only broken this rule in one instance: In September 2011, I tweeted many, many, many wonderful tweets about a professional conference I attended. Why? They were running a Tweeting contest where the person with the most on topic Tweets wins an iPad2. And I really wanted a free tablet, so I tweeted much – and won!
I also follow, and pay attention to, a number of Tweeple who have opinions and tweet about content that is diametrically opposed to my views! I don’t want to get captured by any one circle of media, so I take a day every 2 or 3 months to review the people I follow who don’t agree with my general life outlook. And if they are collective less that 10% of my timeline, then I’ll look for more people. I don’t want to get captured in a media echo chamber! So if you’re generally NOT aligned with me, there’s still a chance I’ll follow you – but you’d better give good link!
If your Twitter profile says little or nothing about you, then I’m not going to follow you! A brief intro is courteous, a link to an “About Me” page – like THIS page – is wonderful!