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09 October 2014

thoughts on twitter, fb, social media in general it's all kinda interesting and crazy[More:]

1. Most of the time I'm posting anything I feel like typing, 'into the void' and sometimes I feel like there's a strange sort of desperation in that--not emotional desperation but a sort of philosophical or conceptual desperation, perhaps--in the sense that you don't ever *have* to say anything, right?

You don't have to be like "I saw this movie." But you go out of your way to open the browser window or phone app and do it.

2. On the other hand, lately I'm surprised at how many people *are* listening. Two factors that led to this are the launch of twitter stats and that sometimes people I know talk about "yeah I saw you post about such and such.." Even if there's no response on the actual post there are still lots of people out there reading these things you write. It's such a rare thing in history, at least for random ordinary people, the ability to just say anything you want at any time of day and have a bunch of people listen.

3. As an aside, Facebook is uniquely interesting for "long tail" type connections. Like you wouldn't hear for someone for years and years and years and one day they pop up on something you posted or in your chat window talking about something. That's kinda fun.
Very interesting. It always surprises me which tweets inspire responses and which just hang there.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 09 October | 22:33
Yeah. Sometimes I post a joke I was really into and thought of how to write carefully and it gets nothing then I make a throwaway remark and that gets a handful of people talking and I'm like "that's random."
posted by Firas 10 October | 02:34
I love Twitter, but I use it only for worky-related stuff - it's where I connect with my professional fellow-travelers across the country. And as such, if I have a busy day, week, or month, I just don't go on there. But if I have a quieter time, or if, say, I'm traveling and have a lot of time to kill in an airport, then I am way more active on it. So as a medium, for me, it's very episodic. Sometimes there's a ton of give and take, sometimes it's just a river I dip into every few days.

Even so, the tools of Twitter are perfect for that. If I want to get someone's attention, I can @ or PM them. And they're sure to see it. If I don't, I just yammer away and whoever sees it, sees it. It seems kind of ideally calibrated to a working life that sometimes allows social linkages and sometimes crowds them out. I would not even worry about what gets traction and doesn't if you are using Twitter for your own personal network or idea development. The people who worry about favorites/reach are applying more of a commercial impact paradigm. For my purposes, that is not important. It's about communication with colleagues, for me.

And none of that is personal. I curate my feed by a wicked tight rule: "is this person posting stuff that's significant to what I do for a living?" If not - no matter how close a friend or how awesome a human being - I don't follow, because that's just not how I use Twitter. So the stuff that gets a lot of response tends to be (a) stuff that's already a professional hot potato that a lot of people want to opine on or (b) stuff I tagged to someone personally.
posted by Miko 10 October | 21:58
Yeah Miko, Twitter is useful in that 'professional networking' sort of way (in some ways the way you use it is probably what LinkedIn was going for but never managed to quite put together.)

About reach, you are 100% right. For me I'm like, it would be cool to have more followers, no doubt, but:

(a) I realized that my audience is limited by the fact that I'm running a personal account. That is to say, if I was running a 'diet tips!' or 'smartphone news!' account then I would have something that I can build an audience on. But if I'm just going to post whatever the heck I want, then my audience is bound by the number of people who want to follow me as a *person*.
(b) And related to the above, these tracking tools are basically built for marketers but I wouldn't want to let that influence my content. Like I wouldn't want to not-write something just because it seems personal or boring and I wouldn't want to start posting cat GIFs just to get engagement.

2. I also think people can also underestimate the problems that come with an audience. I see a lot of people with 10 thousand followers or more complaining or talking about how they have to handle and manage things. Twitter becomes partly an unhappy experience for them because the replies is filled with random strangers saying things about them or what they wrote.
posted by Firas 11 October | 01:32
In the museum field LinkedIn is really active and very useful. But it serves a different function from Twitter (also super big among museum folks). Twitter is for pointing up articles/posts to one another for fast reaction and filtering. LinkedIn is a place where we have lots more extended/long-form discussion. All the professional museum associations have groups on LinkedIn, and there are some independent groups that have taken on a life of their own (Historic House Museum Anarchists is one of my favorites). So they really work well in tandem. I know a lot of people see no use for LinkedIn, but I think it's really dependent on what field you're in. For museum folk it has become a central tool that doesn't exist anywhere else across our profession. Also, people are highly career mobile but don't stay in the same city, so it's essential for tracking your network and finding references for people, etc.

As far as 1(a), you're right. Personally, I don't follow anyone just to be friends. Not even my partner. I'm an exclusively work user. Some of my friends are also in my work world, so I see them on Twitter, but I don't go on Twitter just to chat. I think Twitter works much better when an account is focused, giving people a genre interest as a reason to follow.

2. I really don't personally know any independent personality using Twitter who has that many followers. I'm sure celebrities do, and people with personality brands, but they can also hire out their response if they want to. If you're using it to make money, you just make time to manage it like any other business activity. We have a whole staff person at my job who basically manages FB and TWitter all day.
posted by Miko 13 October | 09:56
That's interesting information about LinkedIn usage in your sphere, Miko. They've been around long enough while many other 2000s social networks withered away that they must be doing something right.
posted by Firas 14 October | 09:18
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