Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What do I look like on Twitter?

"I don't know if that's the right way to market yourself," so said my father after looking at my Twitter page.

My dad is no technology neophyte. The IT guy at his old company once commented that he was one of the few executives who understood the computer systems and was eager to embrace new technologies. And he didn't utter the sentence above after looking at my twitter page just once, but after following it for several weeks.

But when it comes to Twitter, he's been very confused by what he sees on my page. Not only are their hashtags, retweets (RT) and @ names, but then there are snippets of text that seem to have no context. It's like reading random sentences out of a Faulker novel.

On one level, he's right. Taken out of context my Twitter page is pretty hard too decipher. Some of those tweets are meant for "broadcast," some are responses to other individuals and some are parts of broader conversations.

This comes from how I use Twitter and my interaction point (Tweetdeck). Tweetdeck lets me create columns and follow just those particular conversations. So I have some people who make my "must follow" list as well as searches for terms of interest.

On Monday night, for example, I found myself tweeting during the Jets game and reacting to plays along with other Jet fans. I also annoyed some of those who don't appreciate my fan loyalty.

For that evening, I was having a conversation with a specific community. It's also worth noting that many Jets are, themselves, on Twitter and the Jets site happens to have a constantly running feed of the Jets players' tweets. Nice.

Yet, at the same time, I was taking part in Journchat, responding to questions and reading responses there. On Tweetdeck these things looked entirely separate to me, yet for someone following my tweets it must have seemed somewhat schizophrenic.

Some of that chaos comes from Twitter itself. It's part microblogging, part chat room. And while I use Tweetdeck, I know a lot of people who use the main page as their interface.

All that being said, I've met some great people through Twitter, I read many interesting articles thanks to Twitter and I feel I have taken part in a lot of great conversations. So I'm going to continue using it this way.

Even if it confuses my dad.

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