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Aside from the AP wire, I have a bit of a Twitter addiction. Twitter is something I dismissed initially as public navel-gazing, when the likes of only Ashton and Demi (RIP) and Paris Hilton were the main proponents of the thing.
But then regular people starting trying it out. And then the news media got really savvy with it. And then the Arab Spring was a giant success because of social media, namely Twitter and Facebook. We use Twitter in the newsroom frequently to see what's doing around the state and to take a temperature of what readers might be thinking, doing, and maybe feeling. You follow the right feeds, and you can get a people-mood-reading within moments and catch breaking news before it moves across the wire.
Twitter also is a fabulous networking tool; you can follow new peers and old colleagues and help contacts and friends promote their projects and businesses. Like to travel? Check out @stefcations; or maybe usually hilarious academic discourse on the human condition is your bag? Follow CT treasure @TheGinaBarreca, whose blogs, columns, books, and articles from "Psychology Today" are manna to psychology- and anthro-heads.
But then we working stiffs should keep tabs on what the local business community is up to, right? Around here, The Garde does a great job at promoting not just its own goings-on but also the region's (@gardeartscenter). Ditto for Mystic Country, CT (@MysticCtTweets).
In truth, I've "met" more cool bloggers and writers on Twitter than I ever have from any conference I ever attended (Rock on, @FunWithCarbsLG, @NotesfromHeL and Linzi @ This_Is_CT.)
See? It's easy!
None of us are Ashton and Demi, so we regular folk have to work like mad to get our feeds out to the world. Would that I could be Lady Gaga at 25 million followers and counting (literally). But alas, back on Planet Earth, if you want to compete in the blogosphere, coorperation is key. All twitter feeds noted above are excellent partners in co-promotion.
Which brings me to soapbox speech #1: I'm not necessarily super interested in what some of the civilian (read: non-celebs) folks I follow are up to. I probably don't need to know what the Buddha would say about Occupy Wall Street. But I follow them, because we're all just trying to carve out a wee niche in the wide open spaces of the digital world. Sometimes I follow because I know they're nice people; or sometimes I follow because they do great work in their field; most times I follow because they have really cool things to say and I truly enjoy passing on the word to my followers. Good, cool info is like currency to me, and I get a true kick out of bringing it to my peeps.
Most important, I follow them because they were good enough to follow me*. Simple as that. I appreciate the encouragement.
Which brings me to soapbox speech #2: I follow a lot of people, and my feed keeps me super busy when I should be watching television. It's exhausting, so, at this point, I've got a new rule: you unfollow me, I unfollow you (thank you TwUnfollow). I know, it's a little snarky, but are we comrades or are we comrades? My far more sane tech-savvy pal calls it "Twitter etiquette." God forbid you unfollow someone you hang with socially. Awwwwwwkwarddddd and kinda not cool. Let's network y'all!
We can do each other a lot of good out there. I've seen lots of lovely stuff online in which women promote each's other's work and well-being (on Twitter, I dig @womenworking.com and @evolvinggoddess), and I want to do the same. Care to join me? Great! See you in the Twitterverse. I'm under @TheMDesk.
* Does not apply to 'bots, porn sites or any hate-speech-spewing weirdos who randomly follow me.