Friday, November 21, 2008

help meee

I don't understand Twitter!! I don't know what to "tweet" about. I joined a couple of weeks ago and have a nice healthy network of people... but nothing to say to them!

You know how, um, prolix I get. The only things I have to say that take under 150 characters are lists of foods I've eaten.

Advice, please...

41 comments:

Hugh McGuire said...

think of your blog as a conversation you'd have with someone in a bar. twitter is like banter you'd have at the water cooler.

that para above is probably twitter length.

in fact, looking at your posts on this page alone, you have a handful that could be twits if you wanted them to be.

eg: "a little laugh for a time of busted bank accounts: [link] email of the day"

or: "quote of the day
"Jake laughed...'I was just kidding. We don't have to play Strip Scrabble. Strip Scrabble is for lecherous nerds.'"
--Petropolis, Anya Ulinich (202)"

etc.

moonrat said...

hmm. what about... like... "currently reading"? that's something i can do all the time.

also, it's something i want to talk about all the time.

or is that boring?

Ann Victor said...

Nathan Bransford's guest blogger talks about 21 things an author can do on twitter...maybe that will give you some ideas?

Miles McClagan said...

Currently watching? That's always good, doesn't have to be TV, just things over the back fence (it works where I live...)

David said...

I honestly don't see the point of Twitter. If you have to work to think of things to Twitter about, then doesn't that indicate that it's just another a chore being imposed on you?

Sprizouse said...

Most good twitterers use variations of just one sentence; the sentence that begins with the words I think...

Basically, whatever you're doing, whatever you're eating, whatever's going on in your life, is fair game. You're walking down the street and you notice something... anything, well then there's a twitter.

I think... x about y.

I think... the world needs more of x and less of y.

I think... celebrity x would make a great couple with celebrity y.

I think... my job doing x would be easier with more / less of y.

I think... someone needs to invent x food to go with y drink.

You'll figure it out.

B. Nagel said...

Ann Victor beat me to my thoughtful and insightful link to Nathan Bransford's Blog. Dagnabbit. http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/2008/11/guest-blogger-tracy-marchini-on-21.html

Janet Reid said...

The question to answer is "what are you doing". I often tweet with clients who are working on revisions....or NOT (evil glare via Twitter = very effective).

I use it to listen in on what they are talking about (and worried about).

I use it to ask quick questions like "how the hell do I do a podcast". Some one on twitter knows and emails me.

I love twitter. It's fast, efficient and SHORT!

Ian said...

I lurve Twitter. I'm always happy to share my strange thoughts with the universe at large. If you (or anyone else) wants to follow me, I'm ianthealy on Twitter. I added you. :)

Nancy H. said...

Sounds like the internet version of a walkie talkie.

I would love to know what you are reading, but it would be even more fun to see a great 1 or 2 sentence quote from the book (perhaps that's just too much trouble and completely negates the twitter goal).

And a twittering glare? I've never seen one, but now my curiosity is piqued...

Catherine Haines said...

Keep it short and snappy. Although it's not delicious, you can share links etc. and make commentary.

Stephen Fry (http://twitter.com/stephenfry) is a regular - you might get some ideas from him, even if you currently aren't travelling around Africa.

graywave said...

Don't ask me. I'm over 12 so the whole thing is a mystery.

Kim Kasch said...

Popcorn

rocky road ice cream

shrimp and rice

Oh but then you'd see what a pig I am

Gary Corby said...

Keep an eye on what your friends are tweeting. It might inspire some ideas for yourself.

Of course, your question would be ideal for a tweet!

Whirlochre said...

Maybe I'm a philistine, luddite and cynic all rolled into one, but I've just followed Catherine's link to Stephen Fry's twits to see what's going on, and I'm not entirely sure very much is — and this is no disrespect to SF.

I can't see the point of this. I can't see what's not already covered by blogs, chatrooms and tattoos.

Am I an imbecile? No — I'll rephrase that. What's the USP of Twitter? The thing I can't get anywhere else?

Catherine Haines said...

@Whirlochre:

Twitter and its counterparts IS blogging, just on a very small scale.

fairyhedgehog said...

I tried it once and didn't like it.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Can't help you at all, I simply don't get twitter or tweeting or retweeting - it makes me want to retweet under the duvet...
Besides, it's enough managing a blog, an FB account, email, writing...

R2K said...

: )

JES said...

Like you, Moonie, I'm still trying to "get" it. I'm neither a Luddite nor a cynic about such stuff but still... The only thing that keeps me doing it at all is (a) that a handful of people have chosen to "follow" me (not too closely people! stop pushing g*dd*mmit!) and (b) that I have in turn followed them... It's always interesting, but maybe I've been lucky so far in my followers/ees.

I will say though that I flat-out... umm... "un-followed"? is that the word? a stranger who seemed to be using it, like, 50 times a day -- 90% of it to promote her blog, directly or indirectly (not very convincingly indirectly, I might add).

Willing to keep rolling with it a while, see what develops. Since it's completely optional, it doesn't add a lot of pressure.

Justus M. Bowman said...

Who needs it? I don't anything about Twitter or tweeting and look where I am!

Kate Lord Brown said...

(Off to check Nathan out ..) thanks for asking this question Moonie - I haven't given it my full attention yet and have been a bit put off by the 'spam' type barrage of plugs from some twits (or should that be twitterers??)

eluper said...

The thing that perplexes me about Twitter is that blogging, even Myspace and Facebook, are forums for distribution of information or of networking. Twitter has such an odd content limitation that I find it somewhat pointless. More like saying things to no one.

Nevertheless, I'm on there. I really only use it though when I get some kind of email from Twitter to remind me about it.

Jeanie W said...

I just signed up for Twitter yesterday after reading Tracy's post on Nathan's blog. I'm finding it extremely confusing. It's as if I'm just catching little snippets of hundreds of different conversations. Moonie, thanks for blogging about it. Maybe one of your commentors will clear up the confusion in a format I can easily understand.

BTW, I'm following you as Jeanie_W.

Charles Gramlich said...

Strangely, this is the second time this morning I've had to say, I don't get twitter.

Crimogenic said...

I can't hardly keep up with blogging, how the heck can I do the 'twitter' thing.... boy to write, read, blog, and tweet, I'm going to have to change careers or something.

Anonymous said...

I like the links people provide in Twitter to brand new blog posts, articles, photos, new books, reviews. I find it's where I get my breaking news, too -- from CNN, BBC, CBC tweets etc -- hot off the press.

If you tweeted that you had a new post up, I'd be over in a flash :)

Alex said...

microblog, think of twitter as a micro blogging platform. Add useful links and give people insight in small doses.

I use it as a supplement for my blog. Since I can't write about everything
I come across.

thanks for following btw.

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

I'm in the "what the hell, I just caught up with blogging and I-pods" camp. As long as you're going to talk about technology, how about a future post about Kindle? I'm curious about how many of the regulars here are using it. Just read a REALLLLY depressing New York magazine September article about publishing called "The End" and one of the many things that kept me up last night was wondering if digital/Kindle etc is going to help us or hurt us in the near term. (Long-term, it's inevitable of course.)

As for Twitter's word limits, I'm all for MORE words and more in-depth thoughts, not fewer words that say nothing...

Laraine Herring said...

Hi - I just blogged about Twitter yesterday because I couldn't figure out the reason for it. I find it amazingly ridiculous, for lack of anything more eloquent (or that would fit in 140 characters). :-)

I really enjoy your blog, with more than 140 characters!

http://laraineherring.blogspot.com/2008/11/warning-im-about-to-sound-really-old.html

Alex P said...

Biggest tip from me would be to install a desktop tool to run it through- try twhirl. Means it runs a bit lke MSN Messenger, and means you get far more into conversation.

Also sharing stuff (largely professional)- you'd be surprised at how open people are to helping out on work-related queries.

Incidentally I just watched 'Suburban girl'- seemingly Hollywood's attempt to make being an Assistant Editor's job look hot.

www.twitter.com/alexpearmain :-)

Sheila Ruth said...

The biggest advantage that Twitter has over other platforms is immediacy. It only takes a few seconds to send a tweet, and most people will get it within minutes of your sending it. This immediacy also means that things spread quickly as people "retweet" (ie., forward) interesting things. Companies are spending a lot of money trying to figure out how to make things viral, and Twitter is as viral as it gets.

If you're trying to use Twitter from the web, you're missing the point. Using it from the web makes it static, and Twitter isn't meant to be static. You really need a desktop application like Twitterific, which pops up when you have new tweets and lets you send tweets the instant they occur to you. (On the other hand, Twitter is probably deadly for anyone with ADHD).

If you use Twitter in this way, then you become part of a fluid, dynamic, and ongoing global conversation. Yes, some people send boring tweets, but it's easy to un-follow them. Twitter isn't intended to replace blogging; the two can work very well hand-in-hand, as you use Twitter to notify people when you have a new blog post. And if you use hashtags (basically keywords prefaced by a pound sign) your tweets will show up in searches, and you may get new subscribers to your blog in that way.

The best way to start figuring out how to use Twitter is to download a desktop application and start "following" some interesting people, to get a idea of the various ways that people are using it.

Sara J. Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ChrisEldin said...

I'm on twitter, but not as active as I was in the beginning. It lacks the personality that blogging has. I like to read posts, and write posts...not be confined to three sentences. It's frantic, to me.
I liked it when Obama used it to let people know where he'll be.

I would love if publishers would use it to announce when such and such an author will be in an area bookstore. I would be all over that.

I'm not loving it for networking.

However, I just joined Facebook, something I thought I'd never do, and find I enjoy the more personal touch over there. I'm very surprised about that.

Like another poster said, if it's a chore, then you need to see if it gives you a benefit somewhere...

writtenwyrdd said...

Twitter: a screaming waste of time. Just say Nooooooo!!

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Sounds like a cyber Tower of Babel!

Haste yee back ;-)

Linda said...

'tis an optimal time waster. Beats work, scrubbing floors, even NaNo right now...

I use it to wave to folks, just like the watcha doing in facebook. They wave back, we say our 'heys' and get back tothe grindstone.

The NB post is helpful, though... Peace, Linda

cindy said...

hahhahaa!

Jena said...

I enjoy twitter because it makes me laugh. Lots of hyperbole. Lots of would-be rants (if only they could be longer). Hilarity ensues. (Especially if you follow Bill Barnes of the Unshelved comic strip--http://twitter.com/billba)

It's so completely random--you never know what people are going to say. (But I only follow about 15 people--of whom only about eight post tweet regularly. Any more and it gets overwhelming.)

Cakespy said...

Just don't make the mistake of gossiping about people you didn't realize were "following" you.

Kelly Maher said...

I'll ditto the people who've already mentioned the desktop intermediaries (I use TwitterFox). I didn't really get Twitter until I went to the American Library Association annual conference in 2007. I got hooked because it was a way that I could instantly be connected with all of my Twitter-addicted friends who were also attending the conference. We made plans to meet up, talked about sessions we were in, mentioned which vendors were giving away things at that moment, etc. Being home from the conference, I've found it's a way for me to stay connected with all of my far-flung colleagues. I've got librarian Twitter friends in Australia and it's reassuring to see the issues they face are the same I face in the US.

The hard part for me is knowing what my ideal ratio is. I was fine for the longest time with not going above 100 people that I followed so as not to overwhelm myself. However, some of my friends moved over to FriendFeed when the fail whale was at least a semi-hourly occurrence. Also, I really, really want to connect further with the authors who follow me, especially the romance authors as that's the genre I also write in besides being a librarian. My issues are twofold, however, as I would then have two distinct, and large, groups I'd be communicating with on a professional level on one service, and two, I'd be following close to 200 people. Admittedly, my ratio of followers to following would still be around 2:1 which is the smallest I can tolerate.

At base, for me, it's all about the group conversational aspects which Twitter seems to do better than traditional blogs. Whoever described it as the water cooler conversation was right.