The Ultimate Men with Pens Guide to Twitter

“You should really get on Twitter, James. You’d love it. It’s made for you.”

Social media? I could care less.

I don’t Digg very much and don’t really understand how it works. It seems some kind of rigged game where the behind-the-scenes may not be very objective.

I liked StumbleUpon because the fast pace of thumbing up or down was sort of fun – for all of an hour. Then I kept forgetting to use it. I’m sure that now I give the finger more while driving than I give a thumbs up on the web.

I can’t stand Facebook. Don’t even go there. Facebook is childish and silly, and I have no interest in wasting my time while playing stupid games like vampire bites or how many virtual beers I have or who thinks I’m hot.

I think I’m hot. That’s enough for me.

I have a LinkedIn account somewhere, and I think I signed up for Plato Pulse at one point. I don’t know how either of them work. I know how to click “accept” when people invite me to join with them.

Beyond that, I’m clueless.

So resisting the new fad of Twitter came easy. It sounded stupid. An application that asks me what am I doing? Working, that’s what. Cleaning house. Caring for my kids. Washing dishes and cooking supper. Why do I want to tell people what I’m doing?

But Jon Philipps nagged. Michael Martine gave gentle pushes. And from what they said, I’d be the perfect Twitter addict. No one mentioned it outright, but I had the feeling that if I looked up Twitter Target Market, I’d probably see my picture staring back at me.

And I’m very big on new and shiny. I love gadgets and tools and toys and stuff to play with. Harry often chuckles that it’s quite easy to lead me off course or defuse what I’m concocting simply by laying something bright in my path as a distraction.

Much as I hate social media, socializing comes easy to me. I also can’t resist temptation. The bright shiny was laid at my feet just within reach. I signed up, and the biggest question I’ve been asked since joining Twitter is how I feel about it.

I’ll tell you what I think. I’m now a Twitter addict.

It Isn’t What It Is

Twitter asks you to answer the question, “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less.

How stupid.

The unspoken rule of Twitter is that you should never really answer Twitter’s question, “What are you doing?” Post your thoughts, your opinions, your latest discovery on the ‘net, what your kids are doing, what irritates you, what brings you joy. Twitter is like sex. Have fun with it.

People don’t often write phrases like, “I’m cooking supper.” They’ll write phrases such as, “I’m cooking roast chicken and beans. Anyone want some?” And a conversation is born, as other Twitterers chime up with their answers.

Be interesting. Give insight into your life. Instigate conversation; go after it. Chime up and chime in. Twitter isn’t the place to simply watch tweets go by.

People post thoughts, opinions and rants. They ask questions. They support each other or inform people of interesting things to read. It’s a mini-party with something always going on. You’re never alone, and there’s always conversation to join in.

Even when there isn’t, you can make some.

What’s Old is New Again

Chatting and instant messaging over the Internet isn’t new to me. I was chatting when Compuserve chat rooms were the biggest thing going. I’m on Yahoo nearly 24/7 with Harry as is. I can walk into any chat forum and strike up a conversation in less than five minutes.

I adapted very easily and quickly to Twitter, because it’s not a new concept. Twitter is just a shaved down version of the old Compuserve chat rooms. It’s a place where people go to share thoughts and discuss in short spurts. That’s all.

You stay in touch with friends. You hang out with people who have like interests. You meet new acquaintances.

You could fire up an instant messenger like Yahoo or AOL and do much the same. All that’s changed with Twitter is the interface and the limitations – there’s nothing really spectacularly extraordinary about the concept.

It’s just instant messaging that caught on in the business world.

Wasting Time

People have mentioned Twitter might be another waste of time. Some people complain that Twitter keeps them from working by distracting them. Maybe I have too short of an attention span, but so far, being active on Twitter really hasn’t cost me anything.

I mean, come on. How long does it take to write 140 characters?

I can see the urge to follow plenty of people and join in on multiple conversations, but I think when you’re serious about work and managing time, you know better than to continually add more to your already heaping plate. I also think that those who can’t seem to tear themselves away from Twitter had better start asking themselves why.

I spend no more than an hour a day on Twitter. I greet the morning folk like Dave Navarro and Brett Legree, and then I get on with getting on. I might stop in later and read up on DoshDosh’s latest rants, drop a few tweets and joke around, and then back to work I go. The nightlife is fun and active, so I’ll tweet a bit before bed.

And then I just turn it off. Simple.

Strangers in the Night

What’s this about following? Well, that’s the concept of Twitter. You follow people that you feel are interesting to read what they post, and you’re followed by people who want to read what you write.

Don’t know anyone? Feel like you’re alone at the party? Take a look at who other people are following. Follow those people, too. Build a quick list of Twitterers you’d like to get to know, and then start typing.

In fact, it may make you wonder. Complete strangers that you don’t recognize may start following you. You wonder, “Who is this person? What do they want? Why are they following me?” But after a few days, you realize they just find you interesting. It’s an acceptable form of stalking – perfectly legal.

It’s considered good form to reciprocate when someone starts following you by following them back, but it isn’t obligatory, and it isn’t considered rude not to follow someone following you.

When I reached 35 followers, I realized that I had just about enough on my plate. Now that I have over 200 followers, reciprocating by following them means I’d have to quit my day job just to keep up.

I do acknowledge when someone speaks to me directly. I may not follow their steady stream of daily conversation, but when they address me personally, I answer. It’s just polite – and often fun.

Business Twits?

The business advantage of Twitter, for me, is negligible. We’ve seen a jump in the number of our subscribers since we’ve signed on to Twitter, yes, but too many factors happening at the same time come into play for us to determine the direct effects of Twitter.

We haven’t landed any new business specifically from Twitter, either. I can’t think of anyone who has said, “I hired you because I saw you on Twitter.” Yet.

We do use Twitter to promote our business and keep ourselves at the forefront of people’s minds. We can be there if people have questions and need answers, demonstrating that we’re a resource. We often chime in with witty ways to say, “Hire us” without pushing our services.

Twitter also helps us increase our business brand and reputation. Our posts show that we’re good people to work with and that we know what we’re doing. We create a sense of trust; if people feel they know us personally, they’ll be more prompted to hire us over an unknown competitor.

Rubbing Shoulders

For networking, Twitter rocks. Where else can you jot a quick comment to DoshDosh, Brian Clark or DebNg? Where else can you joke with the A-listers and get to know them better? Where else can you quickly set up discreet plans behind the scenes? Where else can you increase your network contacts in less than a few minutes?

Twitter also lets you increase the chances of these people getting to know you a little more. Popular people to follow may not know you from the next guy. After exchanging a few tweets, you become acquaintances and are more easily recognized the next time you communicate.

Say What?

Don’t know what to type? Type the first thing that comes to your head, no matter how dumb it sounds. Or, pick a person that just said something and respond to their comment. They’ll answer back. If they don’t? Pick another. Soon enough, you’ll be noticed and followed in return.

Inject useful links into the conversation and become known as a good resource. Promote your own blog posts by dropping an intriguing phrase and a link to encourage traffic. Instigate interest by making intelligent remarks that get people thinking. Get opinions on what other people think.

You can goof off and show your lighter side, too. Twitter is about people, and people can be dorks at times. It’s all fun and it’s all good, within reason.


Think before you tweet, though. It’s far too easy to write something fast and hit enter only to realize that you’ve just stuck your foot in your mouth. Comments can easily be misconstrued or cause offense.

I’ve typed too quickly a few times myself; you feel pretty damned stupid saying something dumb in public, let me tell you.

Also, beware. You can create a reputation for yourself on Twitter, and it’s not always a good one. Constant link droppers tend to turn off many users. Whiners are quickly pegged as boring. Stupid comments or questionable ones are met with a snort or skepticism.

And filling up a Twitter screen with non-stop back-and-forth with someone else that never ends isn’t smart. You end up creating the sense that you’re having a private conversation between two people – so take it private.

If it’s too one-on-one or lasts too long, then it doesn’t belong on Twitter.

No More Email!

You can use Twitter for fast contact. Sometimes, it’s easier to send a quick private tweet to someone rather than write out an email. They receive notification and can answer you back just as quickly. Handy? Very much, especially for busy people.

No More Web Browser!

One of the hugest turnoffs of Twitter was that I had to keep a browser tab open and refresh it every few minutes to stay updated. By the time an hour was up, I’d had it.

Enter Twhirl. (Thank you, Remarkablogger/DoshDosh!) This little application is exactly what I need. It’s discreet, it’s compact, it goes and hides, it updates automatically and it’s unobtrusive. It also comes from Adobe, so it’s a trusted resource. Perfect. Get it.

Breaking the Isolation

One of the biggest reasons I love Twitter is because I have the chance to let down my guard a little and socialize. I like Twitter for the interaction and the exchanges happening around me. I like to have discussions. I like to know what other people are thinking.Alright, I’m curious. Sue me.

I prefer the people that engage me in conversation and discuss personal sides of their lives beyond their blog. I like hearing people’s thoughts and what they’re up to or what they’re struggling with. I like the jokes and the fun, and the sense of being at a party.

It helps break the monotony of a day and lets me just be James for a while. That’s what social media is about – being sociable.

Ready to get started? Sign up, join in and follow me here. You can follow Harry, too. It’s a double-shot of the Men with Pens.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. I like the following statement in your post:

    …And a conversation is born, as other Twitterers chime up with their answers.

    Captures Twitter in a nutshell. Great job!



    Barbara Ling’s last blog post..Seize Your Perfect Domain Name via The Owlbert Way! Day 3 of 5

  2. James,

    As I read this, I thought again of one of my favorite things about the Men. You always explore a subject fully. No short posts. Even about Twitter!

    Flashback to using AOL IM as you wrote about CompuServe, then a doh! moment for Kelly. I had no idea my beloved Yahoo has IM. Not that I have any use for it anymore, but I was honestly wondering the other day whether IM had died with all the social media options. Haha to me.



    Kelly’s last blog post..Tip of the Week: Want Profits? Don’t Be Cruel

  3. I wanted to hate twitter with a passion.

    Instead, I dig it.

    It’s a great way to get casual conversation in with people you’d otherwise never have a chance to chat with …

    Dave Navarro’s last blog post..Thanks for subscribing ? RockYourDay is coming soon!

  4. And another post about twitter 🙂

    What strikes me is that post about twitter are written by tweeple that are converted already. Comments from other tweeps are encouraging and full of recognition, but the people that haven’t started yet are left wondering what it’s all about. Kinda like James and Harry at first!

    One minor corrections. Twhirl runs on the Adobe Air platform, but is (now) a product of Seesmic (follow Loic le Meur if you want to know more about Seesmic). You can talk French with him James, he lives in SF, but is from France.

    Oh, and I use twitter also to let some people know I like their post. Without leaving a comment like “Great post!”, because those comments suck, but as a tweet they’re perfectly acceptable 🙂

    Lodewijk van den Broek’s last blog post..Birth of a Blogger

  5. I just love the little chicks…cute, cute, cute.

    I find that I come and go in twitter. It doesn’t hold my attention span very long, I pop in, review, maybe comment, but then run on to something else.After awhile, it’s like…hm..wondering who’s twittering…and I pop in again. I’m not there all day, I wouldn’t say I’m addicted, but I like it a lot.

    What I love best are the link recomendations. I have found some really cool stuff there I would have never seen.

    Wendi Kelly’s last blog post..The Weekend Wrap Up

  6. It’s refreshing to see a guide that’s written – or rather, not written – like a standard How To Guide with bullet points, headings, diagrams. I guess that’s consistent with the Men With Pens style.

    I have to admit, when I saw the title of your post, I groaned (well, the Web version of groaning, kind of like a silent LOL, only with despair.) Curiosity won out and I’m glad it did.

    I like the way that you worked your links in as well.

    If CommentLuv is working properly, it should pick up my most recent post, where I talk about about Twitter following, as inspired by a recent Seth Godin post.


    Mark Dykeman’s last blog post..Seth says: how to really make friends and influence people online

  7. Hmmm… I had a cat named Twitter once. Loved that cat. I love those little chickies too, Harry. They look a lot like my Uncle, he has Albert Einstein hair too!

    My understanding of Twitter is that it’s like IM on crack. Not sure if I’m ready for that. 🙂

  8. Oops… I used “about” twice in a row in my comment above. I wonder if anyone would have noticed, had I not pointed it out?

    Mark Dykeman’s last blog post..Seth says: how to really make friends and influence people online

  9. Remarkablogger says:

    I never much liked other social networks, either. The slight detail that Twitter is a micro-blogging platform makes it different. The direct (private) messages make it different. That you can make your tweets private and viewed only by people you allow makes it different. All these things, plus the conversational and networking aspects of Twitter, produce something that is definitely greater than the mere sum of its parts.

    I actually have landed business through Twitter, and I’ve had opportunities and help that I never would have had if I were not on Twitter. That makes up for the time-sink it can be.

    I really enjoyed reading the story of how you guys found yourselves tweeting away. I think a lot of people identify with your experience.

    Remarkablogger’s last blog post..Twitter is Like Sex

  10. @ Remarkablogger – You use Twitter exactly the way it’s meant to be used for business, I feel, blending personal with work in an appealing way. Thanks for dropping the bright shiny of telling me Twitter is perfect for the Comment King. It is.

    @ Mark – No. Thank you for pointing out your faults 🙂 And as for the titles, yeah… I had to think on what to put. “James does Twitter” reminded me too much of Debbie, so I settled for second choice.

    As for being “not standard”, you betcha. There are enough tutorial how-tos out there, and I dropped some links for people that can help. Being different is our motto 🙂

    @ Jamie – It’s more like a trimmed, speedy version of instant messaging with less commitment. Like a date you can call up or dump as the need arises.

    @ Wendi – Same here. I’m usually fully addicted to anything that captures my attention, but I find that Twitter allows me to wander away when I get distracted – and it’ll still respect me in the morning.

    @ Brett – Twhirl is a must.

    @ Lode – Thanks for the correction. I wasn’t sure myself when I wrote that, but didn’t feel the need to run deeper into research, so I appreciate the help. I also agree that there is NO information on basic Twitter 101. That left me figuring stuff out on my own, which sucked. Didn’t take long though, because Twitterers are helpful.

  11. My wife and I are both former corporate lackeys but self-employed now for several years. AOL IM got real popular about 10 years ago (hard to believe it’s been that long) and my wife still maintains a large network on AOL dating back to those days. I never really got into it but have always recognized the value.

    I’ve been considering Twitter for awhile now so thanks for the story on real application.

  12. As usual, you’ve expressed many of my own feelings about Twitter. In fact, I wrote a post about getting into it despite thinking it was irrelevant over on PiggyBankPie. Twhirl was a great recommendation, even better than Twitterfox, which I’d tried before.

    Sharon Hurley Hall’s last blog post..Taking Charge Of Freelance Writing

  13. Paul,

    I let go of AOL a few years ago, but had stopped using IM before that anyway. “Social media” is so pervasive, I just assumed old-fashioned IM had died.

    It sure has been around a long time. I met my (now ex-) husband on AOL trying to teach my tech-phobic mother how to use forums, and we IM-ed for months before meeting… back in 1995.

    Lesson learned! Next ex- will not come from Internet. 😉



    Kelly’s last blog post..Tip of the Week: Want Profits? Don’t Be Cruel

  14. ahhh!!!!??? Damn psychic. Just what I needed and wanted!!!!! Bien Fait. Merci. 🙂 .

    Janice Cartier’s last blog post..The Experiment Continues

  15. Hi James, my first visit to your blog and this is a great post. I do use twitter but i wasn’t sure how I should be using it. I just post a couple of comments throughout the day and sometimes respond to comments from people who I’m following.

    Now I know that’s what it is supposed to be. Thanks.

    Marijke’s last blog post..Botox is 20 years old

  16. Trying it right now. I’ll tell you how it goes. I am twitter retarded. Maybe you can school me.

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..Why Good Writing Matters – Case Study, ?Stuff White People Like?

  17. James, I first saw you as a Commenter on Michaels blog and enjoy your wit and now follow on twitter as well – I think what I like best is it seems I can stay current with more blogs and people than I seem to be able to visit in the traditional sense. Loved your take on twitter – not clinical – great insight from an insiders view. See you on twitter – @cyndeehaydon 🙂

    Cyndee Haydon’s last blog post..Buying Clearwater Florida Real Estate Bargains: Bank Owned, REO, Foreclosures – Be Aware, Be Informed!

  18. James,

    You are master with pen, I’ve got to admit that you write with fluency and it serves well with the name of your blog. I was social media stupid but after reading your post, I have gained wisdom.

    Note: I couldn’t resist but to subscribe to your blog…
    Great post.


  19. @Brett – I’m doing the twhirl thing. I just don’t understand the tweets I’m getting. How do I find out about the tweeter people? It says I have 18 tweets. I don’t know where they are coming from! I feel like a mother hen looking for her lost chicks!

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..Why Good Writing Matters – Case Study, ?Stuff White People Like?

  20. @ Brett – You tell her, bro.

    @ Ellen – Relax, observe, and know that you’re amongst friends. It’ll take you all of an hour to figure it out – if that.

    @ Shilpan – Those are lovely comments, thank you. I’m glad to have helped and glad that you’ve become a new subscriber. Welcome to the gang!

    @ Cyndee – Thank you to you as well! I’m glad to hear that people enjoy the way we tend to review what’s going on out there. We’re people, you’re people, so it only makes sense to have a conversation 🙂

    @ Marijke – Bingo. I think people made it out to be more than just a fun tool that could have resourceful benefits as well. I’m glad that my take on how I used Twitter helped set your mind at ease. It is what we make of it, no more, no less!

    @ Janice – Bienvenue, ma cherie. Ça m’a fait un grand plasir.

    @ Kelly – How about the next ex just won’t happen? Make the next one a keeper, hm?

    @ Paul – There’s generally value in everything, even the crap out there (good for lessons on what not to do!). I personally love instant messaging and couldn’t live without it. Twitter’s a nice fast fix 😉

  21. Oh, dear. You will corrupt me forever. I am just getting used to the time it takes to blog and now you want me to Twitter?

    Am I the only one a little frightened of any kind of technology that starts to spin off its own vocabulary? Twitters and tweets and tweeters and twicks and whatall. It’s like the Harry Potter crowd.

    But I will. Because Brett told me to, too.

    Tei’s last blog post..The Clockmaker and the Quicksand: Starting a Business With No Money

  22. @ Tei – Forget Brett. Do it because I like you. You’re interesting. And that’s a fantastic type of person to be 🙂

  23. You will notice how Brett wasn’t enough (sorry, Brett, you’re a dear). It took Men with Pens to sway me. Well, actually. One Men with Pen. I am easily swayable.

    Tei’s last blog post..The Clockmaker and the Quicksand: Starting a Business With No Money

  24. Oh, gods, give a girl a minute. I can’t even figure out how to find people. I’m rogueink, if you can find me.

    Tei’s last blog post..The Clockmaker and the Quicksand: Starting a Business With No Money

  25. @Tei – I know how you feel. You crazy, famous blog skipper!
    @Brett – I know I can get it with the rock of you behind me. You are solid like a black bear.
    @James – Yeah, I do need to relax. Either that, or drink more wine. And that’s not always a good thing. I try the middle way. Obviously it doesn’t always work!

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..Why Good Writing Matters – Case Study, ?Stuff White People Like?

  26. Help help help! How do I follow a conversation?

    I go to Brett’s page, and he says hey to me. I go to my home page, and I get a long list of James being twitterpated, but no Brett. How do I see people who talk to me? Can they see me?

    Oh, sweet gods. CAN THEY SEE ME? Though the COMPUTER?

    I am too tiny for this internet world. I fear it. I have the fear.

    Tei’s last blog post..The Clockmaker and the Quicksand: Starting a Business With No Money

  27. Haaaa! We are on the same page, Tei! I think we go to our homepage and reply? Is that correct?

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..Why Good Writing Matters – Case Study, ?Stuff White People Like?

  28. If you’re on the web browser, stick on your Home page.

    And WHY did neither of you listen and download Twhirl like we told you to?

  29. Because I am NEW! One application at a time. Oh, why is it all so COMPLICATED?

    Okay, download now. Because doing what James tells me to do has always worked out so well for me thus far.

    Tei’s last blog post..The Clockmaker and the Quicksand: Starting a Business With No Money

  30. And I don’t know how to navigate my little twirl box.

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..Why Good Writing Matters – Case Study, ?Stuff White People Like?

  31. Also, confession: the word ‘thwirl’ gives me the willies.

    Tei’s last blog post..The Clockmaker and the Quicksand: Starting a Business With No Money

  32. Windows doesn’t know how to open twhirl. IT DOESN’T KNOW. I cannot use it. Why is this so, James? WHY?

    Tei’s last blog post..The Clockmaker and the Quicksand: Starting a Business With No Money

  33. I’m sure you can. Does your computer fit the requirements for installing Twhirl?

  34. Tei, try downloading the software that you can click on. Windows should open it. There are several versions that you can download.

    Looking for the the Tei…..

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..Why Good Writing Matters – Case Study, ?Stuff White People Like?

  35. I will find you Tei. I am lost. But, I will find you…

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..Why Good Writing Matters – Case Study, ?Stuff White People Like?

  36. @Tei: I had the same problem. It all loaded fine on the tower (don’t forget to install Adobe Air first), but it wouldn’t install on the laptop no matter what I did.

  37. James,

    So with my completely horrendous bits of French, I kinda knew what you said to Janice but not understanding the m’a part I thought I’d ask my friend babelfish:

    Ça m’a fait un grand plasir. *French to English*
    That m’ made large plasir.

    Oh, that helps.

    A keeper. Hmm…. I always get good tips here. 😉

    Return to tweeting your feathers off.



    Kelly’s last blog post..Tip of the Week: Want Profits? Don’t Be Cruel

  38. Not Babelfish, but BabelChartrand:

    Ça m’a fait un grand plasir. *French to English*
    It was my pleasure.

    Bonne nuit!

  39. BabelKelly knew generally that’s what it said, but I had this stupid idea that babelfish would help me with the technical stuff. Major words I generally get. Bits of languages stick with me pretty easily. How to put a sentence together in one I’ve had no schooling in, no.

    Ah, well. Something to work on when I’m old and grey.

    Y buenas noches a ti.


    Kelly’s last blog post..Tip of the Week: Want Profits? Don’t Be Cruel

  40. Not enough time in the day to join every new joint on the net.

    Jaden @ Screenwriting for Hollywood’s last blog post..Sunday Picture Post 6 / Read Out Loud

  41. I thought I was immune. I’ve had a twitter account forever, but never used it. However, it seems the third time is the charm. I kept forgetting to go back to the homepage and update and all, but now you’ve told me about twhirl. You’ve ruined me. Ruined me I tell ya! *dramatic music* 😉

    Allison’s last blog post..New York Roll

  42. @Allison: Welcome 🙂 That reminded me of a friend of mine, who gave up no twitter after trying to figure out (and follow) the public timeline BEFORE signing up! That’s like trying to follow tens of thousands of people at the same time 🙂

    I believe they abandoned that concept now.

    Lodewijk van den Broek’s last blog post..Tweak your passwords to benefit from them

  43. @Lodewijk – Thanks! I first went on Twitter because my bf said I should use it to promote Sushi Day, but then I got bored. At the time I wasn’t really interested in following anyone and he was the only one following me, so it was kind of pointless. Of course, now that most everyone here is there, I can’t resist. Plus, it’s much more interesting as a conversation rather than just a promotional sort of thing!

    Allison’s last blog post..New York Roll

  44. After initially not getting it, I now love it for all of the reasons you stated. I have met wonderful, interesting people and I can enage in random conversations throughout the day (which happens to be a favorite activity). I have learned of great blogs, thought provoking articles and been challenged and inspired to rise to the next level. I love the mix of random, funny, quirky and smart. Perfectly suited to a person who doesn’t fit any of the checkboxes.


    Karen Swim’s last blog post..The Long Hot Race

  45. Jeanne May says:

    I was definitely over complicating twitter! A couple of months ago I signed up for it but did nothing… then two weeks ago I received an e-mail saying someone was following me — truly thought I was being stalked!

    Shall get back to it and give it a whirl…hmmmmmm.


  46. Jeanne May says:

    I signed up for twitter several months ago but did nothing more! Then a couple of weeks ago I received a message someone was following me — truly felt like I was being stalked until I realised what was going on.

    Shall get more into it — and like all other social network places… they can become addictive! lol


  47. Jeanne May says:

    PS sorry about the duplicate messages but PC kept crashing and it didn’t come up as being submitted!


  48. Don’t dismiss a site just because you don’t ‘get it’ / too old / still use email.

    Twitter took off in 2006 but then all went quiet. Funny (and quite unusual) how it’s becoming popular again.

    Give it a few weeks for the inevitable daily mention of Twitter related stories in London’s free sheet newspapers. If they have space after all the facebook stories…

  49. I have to admit… I just don’t get Twitter. Given the amount of time I can only imagine it must consume, I really don’t want to “get it”.

  50. @Scott Marlowe – sorry if I’ve offended anyone with my comments, but I’m sure the same is said about other popular communication devices when they first start picking up pace – namely email and IM.

    Granted facebook and myspace are at the mercy of fashion, but Twitter is that simple / unique that it could endure. Let’s see.

  51. @ Kenobi – You’d probably only offend anyone here if you told them what religion to choose, that war is a good thing or that we should all be white and straight. Asides that, most of our community is pretty laid back and it takes quite a bit to ruffle their feathers.

    Besides, I see nothing remotely offensive about your comment; makes sense.

    @ Scott – It’s basically just a mini-chat that you can rub shoulders with business peers (in my opinion, though people use it in vastly different ways). And the time investment? VERY minimal. In my opinion. But I don’t blame you for not wanting to get it lol

  52. @ Kenobi – I wasn’t offended by anything you said. I was just making a broad statement with respect to the service itself.

    @ James – Oh, I know “what” Twitter it is. I just don’t get the point of it. I’m obviously missing something since so many others do “get it”. No biggie. Maybe I’ll get it someday, too.

  53. James – try looking for names of people you admire (writers, business leaders, respected bloggers – they’re usually on Twitter) and follow their comments. This is what got me hooked. I get comments from my friends about amazing web links, news items, and more.

    The nearest thing I can compare it to is one big chatroom where the only people in the conversation are the ones you’ve invited. It gets interesting when your comments (which can be open to all or set as private) are sufficiently engaging enough to attract hundreds of followers from around the globe.

    Anyway, must get back to work. I’m investing far too much time in this old medium / comments form 😉

    kenobi’s last blog post..Shiny Media’s gadget blog takes on Fark’s frat boys

  54. @ Kenobi – Oh, very cool. I tend to have a good gang of friends, I must say. They’re relaxed yet intelligent, fun without being stupid, smart and businesslike, and they can goof off with the best. They know how to work and they know how to play, too.

    As for followers, I’m over 300, I think. I’ve managed to add a few on, but I can only seem to handle about 40 that I’m following at once. Also, I try to “field” people, because I don’t want to follow someone and then stop following them. Seems rude.

    Always feel free to @menwithpens to talk with me directly. I can carry on conversation till the cows come home. (If I’m around twitter, that is)!

    @ Scott – The day you realize that there really is nothing to get and that we’re all sort of faking that Twitter has a glorious purpose is the day you’ll say, Ooooh and join in 🙂

  55. @ James – I like your thinking. By glorious, I assume you mean genuinely valuable? But does any site have a glorious purpose? What defines a valuable website? One that lets you pay your bills or one that lets you stay in touch with friends? This is what the facebook / Twitter debate comes down to – just how valuable are these websites to daily life. Value is personal and unique.

    Sheesh. This is beginning to sound like Oprah…

    kenobi’s last blog post..Shiny Media’s gadget blog takes on Fark’s frat boys

  56. Guys thinking? Guys feeling? AND S H A R I N G ???

    Must go tell girlfriends now.
    Augh, we know you’ll man up too. Your stock just went up.

    Janice C Cartier’s last blog post..Zen Blue Lines

  57. Yes Janice, incredible isn’t it? We’re not all Fark readers:

    kenobi’s last blog post..Shiny Media’s gadget blog takes on Fark’s frat boys

  58. peter parker says:

    Dave Winer, father of RSS says “Twitter, as it was conceived, was never meant to live.”

    “It’s very possible with better engineering its architecture might have gone on for a few more years, but eventually it would have hit this wall, where there were too many people posting too many twits to too many followers. The scale of the system as conceived rises exponentially.”

    So is the end of Twitter getting near? I hope not. Twitter I hope that you are listening and you better start taking things more seriously.

    Here’s my two cents.

    For instance there are about 100m users of yahoo messenger and usually 2-3 of them talk at a time that means scalability of 300m conversations. On the other hand with 100m twitter users who usually send messages to 100-10,000 other users the scalability required is 10,000m to 10^6m I have never known any current architecture based on webservers to handle such a scale. So according to me Twitter was never meant to live. It is like a concept car that will never see production. Users of twitter don’t understand this and they don’t care.
    They don’t know whats happening when the website is down. The sad part is that the best analysts claim that Twitter is a billion dollar company in one year of operations. There is an old saying before the days of when people understood permutation combinations. One peasant asked a king to give him rice equal to the total amount gotten by placing double the number of rice grains on a chess square than the previous square, starting with one rice grain. There are 8×8=64 squares. We seriously need to visit grade 7 mathematics.

    I know of only one News/Messaging system that supports around 1 billion users sending messages to all 1 billion users each. Thats a scalability of 10^12m. It is not Web based but rather on a massively scalable serverless P2P architecture based. The team is soft spoken and when I last talked to them I was told that they don’t care about money or hype or fame but rather for just the passion of next generation global systems that will stand the test of worldwide use. Its called Mermaid News Mermaid

    They have other softwares too but this post is about Twitter and Messaging. Once everyone comprehends basic mathematics that goes behind scalable algorithms they would go past the flashy screen and hype to actually want a system they can trust. To the analysts I would say it is easy to create a business plan, create a hype and raise $20m funding it is far more difficult to create something of use.

  59. What a great article! I was very much a sceptic of social media and Twitter too but have just started using it. The best thing for me is finding all sorts of new blogs (like this one) and snippets from around the web that people share. It’s great for those of us who can’t spend every waking minute surfing the net!

    Wizely´s last blog post…Website designer/ architect or painter/ decorator?

  60. I was very much a sceptic of social media and Twitter too

  61. @ James – I like your thinking. By glorious, I assume you mean genuinely valuable? But does any site have a glorious purpose? What defines a valuable website? One that lets you pay your bills or one that lets you stay in touch with friends? This is what the facebook / Twitter debate comes down to – just how valuable are these websites to daily life. Value is personal and unique.

  62. I was very much a sceptic of social media and Twitter too..

    @Wil.. what is sceptic?

    Peter´s last blog post…Online Slots Tournament – Share In $144k

  63. These days I don’t think you can get around social media, both Twitter and other networks like Facebook or LinkedIn. Especially if you like to stay a bit up to date of what everyone is doing.

    If I need to know where the party is this weekend: Facebook
    If I want to see pictures of my friend’s wedding: Facebook
    If I’m looking for a new job opportunity: LinkedIn
    If I want to know how my friend’s doing on holiday: Twitter

    As long as you’re not building your whole life around these networks, I think they are an improvement of your social personal and business life.


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