Tweetdom, That’s What I Need, Um*: Confessions of a Twitter Newbie


Consider this post Part 2 of Emotions are Stubborn Things. Part 1 happened such a long, long time ago that I won’t even say anything more about it. But, I’m back now and feeling stubbornly emotional about communication.

Twitter! I can’t capture in a small number of words – much less 140 characters – how my life has changed since my tweets debuted, just 6 short days ago. I’m now 49 tweets and 49 followers into the Twitter Matrix.

Let’s just say that up until last week, I suffered from a generational bent away from Twitter. Before my conversion, tweeting represented rapid technological transmission (a significant plus) aggravated by an accelerated loss of privacy (a catastrophic minus). But, I buckled up anyway and got on this Social Media ride, precisely because I am determined to stay contemporary. I want to avoid being that person who shuns technological breakthroughs.  I’m not calling out any names here (like my mom’s), but you know that person I’m talking about, the one who, in decades gone by, didn’t want to hear about call waiting, wouldn’t leave messages on answering machines, and poo-poo’d email, saying, “ahoo, yahoo, what’s the difference?!” So, yup, I joined the Twitter corps and got the esprit. I started tweeting about emotion, a subject near and dear to my heart, and, apparently, I can’t stop.

As a consultant, coach and lecturer, I’m always emphasizing how emotion lubricates communication… or makes true dialogue skid to a stop. After an initial tweet or two along those same lines, I felt wildly invigorated. And, then, I got some followers. Wow! And, then, I noticed that those followers followed intriguing tweeters. Cool! So, then, I started to follow them. And, then, I heard so many voices out there, talking about everything and nothing all at once. Some of their messages resonated deeply. Others gave me belly laughs. Some left me feeling disturbed. Hmm…

True: What every tweeter chats up in cyberspace is not always engaging or even interesting – just as my own tweets are not to everyone’s tastes – but when the periodic updates fuse together with clever vignettes about the tweeters’ ideas, their passions, their friends, their blogs, and, of course, the 9 quick ways to monetize Twitter, the result is a lively, delectable, followable mix.

Clearly, tweeters inhabit a parallel universe that so many people don’t even know about. Yes, I think I’ll stay here.

The trouble with staying in the Twitterverse is that it’s hard to tear myself away. Calls still have to be returned, dishes still need to be washed, and books still need to be read. More importantly, bills still need to be paid, so I’m taking my colleague Laurel Hart’s advice and being very strategic in how I engage with Twitter, and how I permit it to engage me.

As time goes on, what I’ll have to develop more of is what Howard Gardner has called the synthesizing mind, something I learned about due to my organic, free range grazing on Twitter: “The synthesizing mind is about knowing how to deal with an avalanche of information; knowing what to learn and what to reject as irrelevant.”

All that being said, here are some other interesting tidbits for the Sticky Wicket:

–A video clip of Clay Shirky, discussing the “transmission of emotionally engaging messages rippling around the world at nearly the speed of light.” (Social Media Enhances the Emotional Dimension of News)

–Brian Solis blogging about “connectivity through inspiration.” (Social Media is Rife with Experts but Starved of Authorities). Communicating on Twitter in the age of viral sound bites requires observing and listening, he says, and I agree.

–A completely fascinating but somewhat scary search tool called spezify.com. Start by typing in your own name.

*For those of you wondering why I’ve used Jimi Hendrix’s image here, well, I’ll just leave you guessing (Hint: “Freedom”). In the meantime, feel free to follow me on Twitter:@emoticomma

Leave a Reply