Laura Fitton has a fine post this morning called "Twitter is my Village." Go read it, then if you feel like it, come back here,
Are you back? I couldn't agree more with what Laura has to say. In fact, I got to know her as @Pistachio in Twitter and we became acquaintances a full month before I actually met her in Boston last month. The we became pals.
I've been using Twitter since September, and like she said, for a while, I could not get what it was all about. I was new in the village. people said hello to me and exchanged niceties. The language and content of the 140-character spoonfuls of conversation seemed to me to be kind of shallow. Yep, people really do publish what they had for lunch and say good night before signing off.
But over a period of less than four months, I find I am more intimate with the people I'm talking with on Twitter. I'm closer and more personal with them than I am in any other social media format. Here, on this blog, I adopt a casual business voice. In the real world, a blogger is like someone presenting from the front of the room. We may take questions and answer them, so it's conversational, but still most of us maintain a certain business decorum.
Twitter is more like the after-presentation talk at the bar. People say what they really think. There is no presenter--just conversation. It's more up close and personal. There's more joking, teasing and even flirting.
Pistachio calls it a village. I like to think of Twitter as the town commons of my particular Global Neighborhood. This is where I hang out when I have time to hang out. It is most certainly global. I wake up talking to Irish Bloggers and go to sleep listening to the Aussies. Yet we share common interests from technology to politics to travel to humor. All my favorite Tweeters make me smile at least from time to time.
Yes, it has been extremely good for business. I have been pointed to all sorts of vital information. I have been given good leads for my SAP survey. I have been invited to do business projects. I have been invited to speak--all in a space of less than four months.
The Village (or neighborhood) joins closer when one of its own has a crisis. When Susan Reynolds got diagnosed with breast cancer, the community united. She had written about the only relief from the pain of biopsy was a bag of frozen peas, so we all changed our icons to contain peas i a show of support. Connie Reece, on of Twitters most frequent and popular contributors started a fund raising program that has raised thousands of dollars. Along the way, others shared their experiences. Some of us learned things we did not know about breast cancer.
yesterday, the Washington Post picked up the story and I was among several quoted in it. That was a kick for us all.
A bigger kick was to learn how the best nature of the many can be used through social media to give support to the one.
I was hesitant to write this endorsement of Twitter because not so long ago, I gushed about Facebook, a place where I now barely hang out at all. In my opinion, Facebook has become tainted by awkward ways of trying to monetize itself, ways that do not respect its users. Will this happen at Twitter? I don't know. I hope not because I really love and value it the way it is now.
I hope it's founders figure this one out.