The Future of Twitter and Me

I am a big fan, and relatively big user, of Twitter, but I am still not sure that I get the point of it!!!

In many ways that may be the main attraction, it is just something that you do because you can rather than because you need to.

Throughout 2008 I have used Twitter for two very specific uses:

As such I haven’t really worried about the number of followers on either account.

Recently though I have started to look at a number of other uses for Twitter, and had a play around with some of the many services that it has spawned. It is certainly an intriguing phenomenon that has me hooked.

On a negative note I am convinced that friends and people whose blogs I read are posting less these days, in direct proportion to their increased tweeting. I think that more and more people are using twitter rather than blogging, which on one level is indicative of the whole decline in constructive communication that we are seeing. Now don’t get me wrong …… I think that twitter, along with SMS etc is a GREAT means of short, sharp, reach out, informative, news type of communication, but it has technical limitations that will always mean that I think it will fall short as a genuine replacement means of communication. On one hand twitter has added a great deal to the communication debate by creating a new communication option, but when used as a replacement rather than a supplement I think it has deficiencies.

For 2009 I am going to really look at how I can use twitter to enhance and support my online activities. Recently I have started asking more questions i.e. movie recommendations and have been impressed with the level of feedback.

For me that is a huge requirement of any ‘friend’ I have on Twitter ….. feedback, or call it interaction, conversation, communication exchange, basically why would I want to be in a ‘one way relationship’ where I saw your tweets, but you didn’t see mine? Sure for a news source, a company providing information, or a results service then sure, but for anything else ……..

If you look at something like Mr Tweet which is a “personal twitter assistant” that shows you who are the influencers in your network, and which of your followers you aren’t following, you will see the ratios of followers to following of some of the so called influencers in twitter land. Or take a look at Twitterholic which shows you the top twitterers around the world, and take Alex Albrecht for example (nothing personal Alex). He has over 46,000 followers yet only follows 28 people!!! You try and tell me that he is remotely interested in communication/relationships rather than just feeding an ego. These are both great twitter related services, and in the case of Mr Tweet it is pretty cool that it will make suggestions on who your ‘friends’ are following BUT surely in the real world your friends would do that? You know the scenario ….. you go out for a drink with a friend, they bring along another friend. You get talking, you get on, you keep in touch, and so it grows …….

Now Mr Tweet does that, but only because ‘universe twitter’ isn’t inhabited by people that are that interested in participating and introducing you (excepetions do exist so don’t get all humpy with me).

So here is the first outcome of this post:

Send me the details of up to three of your twitter mates that you think I would ‘get on with’ and I will follow them!”

This list shows the recent top three twitterers by country – why shouldn’t I be the number one on Spain!!!! Seriously with the largest user running with just over 6,000 followers and third place with just under 3,000 it should be possible. I have added the Twitter Counter which provides you with a nice followers badge for your blog or site to the header so you can see that I have some way to go ………….

BUT does that make me guilty of what I have just accused others of? Again, if you look at the above Spanish leader board you will se that they hardly follow anybody. I have a pretty good ratio, but it needs to get better if I am to practice what I preach, and I am following more of my followers each day. There is a obvious overload issue in the long run, and many of my long established twitter friends may get ‘lost’ in the crowd from time to time, but I am going to make a huge attempt throughout 2009 to build a two way twitter environment.

One service that I am hoping will help me with this is Replies which lets you know when someone has used your @username in a tweett by sending you a direct message, so although the inbox will (hopefully) get full I will at least know what is going on.

So the second outcome of this post is:

To be in the Top 3 twitter users in Spain by the end of 2009

I intend to report back regularly on how this goes, and in particular any benefits it has in terms of the blog, online revenues etc etc. Once and for all I want to figure out if their are any tangible benefits to twitter.

As for the twitter account I am going to continue to use it to present the ‘news’, but I am going to try and extend the network to integrate more with the Spanish online community, and specifically see if I can use it to help me with one of my 2009 priorities, which is to improve my Spanish.

Hopefully see you in Twitter Land at some stage …..

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  1. I didn’t see the point of twitter before I tried it. Now that I have, I still don’t see the point.

  2. OK. I sat on this one for a couple of days. I really don’t see a real happy medium. As you mention, what you want to do is in direct conflict with what you have castigated others for doing. I personally don’t see the point in even trying to gain so many followers, or to try and follow that many people. It seems to me that anything said would be lost in the flow. The Tweets would be non-stop! How could you possibly manage them?

    OK, I’ll give you those few Tweet utilities to try and tame the horde. But in using those, it’s filtering out everyone else and you would eventually only see those tweets directed to you. In effect, it would be filtering those exact tweets that is one of the reasons you like twitter for. Broadcasting a question and receiving feedback to such. If one would start to follow and be followed by thousands, how would one even see one little question? It seems to me unless I direct a question to a certain person, it rarely gets any attention. Maybe I’m not asking answerable questions? Granted that if you were followed by thousands, but only followed a select few, than that would not be a problem.

    But, at least you are aware of the consequences of doing a social experiment such as this. A good deal of the people I follow and am followed by, you already know or follow, so I don’t have any to give. It will be interesting to watch, however! 🙂 (That’s what Twitter needs! Emoticons!)

  3. Not ignoring you!!!!

    The ‘point’ is to try and see if having a significant number of followers makes any difference/has any benefits. At the same tim, I don’t want to be guilty of what I am confusing others of so I am following the majority of new follwers.

    So far it is managable, and I don’t feel I am missing the regular tweeters, and have had some good exchanges with the new ones.

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