With all of the recent Tweets regarding who to follow, how to follow and why to follow its made me think a lot about what Twitter means to me. There have also been just as many, if not more, posts about Facebook: what content to feed to your wall, privacy settings for business contacts, etc. Which leads me to: whats the big deal?

I’ve found that people respond to the fact that I have constant content additions from a number of places. Even those who do not live and breathe social media find some information useful, funny or thought provoking and tell me so with a message. Past business acquaintances comment on my new dog or family members post follow ups to Friendfeed items posted for work from Google Reader. Isnt the cross pollination what social media is all about? The greater spread of information in a quicker format?

Further, I dont know if I subscribe to many of the ‘gain tons of followers’ or ‘get the most out of Twitter/Facebook’ posts that I’ve seen. I feel its much more organic. “If you use it they will come”, if you will. Just like losing weight, I dont believe there is a quick fix or magic equation.

As I said in my previous post, I find that I learn more from people that I dont necessarily have a common bond with than those that I do. I’ve learned more about myself by disagreeing and having a thoughtful discourse than by engaging in ‘yup’ comments tirelessly. Its made me carve out what social media, or anything, really means to me. Having more followers than I can probably handle makes this even clearer: I find that what I’m drawn to may not be what I originally thought I would be. The need I feel to comment on something is much stronger that the feeling that I have to comment.

How often do you disagree with people? Do you follow/friend those much different from yourself or stick with those who are like minded/of the same industry?

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5 Comments

  1. I agree. You’re totally right. We can’t market in the old fashioned way. It’s got to be all “lifestyle” or it comes off as fake. I don’t have any lines between my regular life and my work life. They bleed into each other.

    I follow who I want to follow and I don’t try to sell stuff, myself. And I only follow someone if a) they’ve followed me first and are a real person, or b) have something interesting to say. I think it’s detrimental to use social media sans the social aspects of it. And I block those on Twitter/FB/Wherever that aren’t organic, as you said, and actually participating.

    A parsed RSS feed thrown into twitter is not the same as interacting with a person. And that’s really the point, isn’t it?

  2. I completely agree too, and in fact, posted on this same topic a few weeks ago here: http://www.mediacupcake.com/?p=134 .

    Frankly, I’m growing a bit tired of this ‘competition’ on twitter. I just don’t get it. If that’s what it’s about to someone, then I’m likely not following them.

  3. insidetimshead says:

    Amen! (Oh, wait, am I supposed to disagree?) For me, it’s *always* quality over quantity. I follow 150+ and there’s already a lot of noise. Followed a college president who first followed me, which seemed cool until he gave us a blow-by-blow every couple of minutes while waiting for a plane to take off. Every time he was in a plane! Oy. I waved goodbye.

    I feel similarly about (as I said before) Tweeps who only RT or people whose raison d’etre seems to be “hey! look at me! I’m an expert!” Being from simple and rustic Upstate, I ultimately come down to the bar test: Am I following anyone I wouldn’t want to just have a beer and chat with (even if we don’t agree on everything)? The answer is no. I value social, helpful and interesting.

  4. I follow a lot of different streams on Twitter and Facebook. Twitter connects me with people I work with (both in comms and IT, and also a couple of profs), other comms/PR/marketing folks in higher ed (like you), the broader comms/PR/marketing community, academia, general media, music media, musicians/bands (many struggling to gain a following; I follow out of sympathy as one who used to be in such a band, before the days of social media); some theologians and so-called “emerging” church/christians who blog and lead the emerging movement; and the miscellaneous odd tweeter. There’s the crossover w/ Facebook (the infamous Venn diagram Tim shared recently) but Facebook is becoming more and more the “friends and family” domain of old high school and college friends.

    So I guess I agree with you and Tim and Joel and micala.

    I’m not afraid to disagree, though, and have done so — usually more on blogs than in tweets. People on Twitter sometimes are pretty thin-skinned. I think everybody should work for a small daily newspaper for at least year in order to grow a tough hide.

  5. I find it all a bit difficult to decipher. I follow people who follow me or others I find interesting. All of the conversations can be interesting at times, but exhausting, as well. The personal interactions aren’t as important to me, in the sense that I put a lot of energy into my personal relationships and so, I try not to go out intentionally and meet new people I have to keep up with.

    But if folks read my stuff or I find them generally interesting, it’s cool to have them there as someone to chat with randomly or to share knowledge with on the fly.

    I’m pretty opposed to the whole “friend everyone” theory of the social web, but only because it can become a quick blurry line between “look at all of these people who find me interesting” to “let me have a contest to see how many I an add.”

    I tend to keep my opinion close to the vest in most situations, because I find online it can be hard to communicate with people who don’t know me, the same way I would in “real life.”

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