by Peter Watts
My first Twitter attempt occurred a year ago. All dressed-up, I entered the Twittersphere to join the party.
One weekend of searchings and followings accessed such a deluge of comedians, politicians, business-people and journalists, all careening in a tweet-out riot that it left me clear of the dance-floor and glued to the wall. It was all one way, over-whelming, and confusing. Flashbacks to nightclub nights in the 90’s. All reminiscently shallow, and what was more, no-one was talking to me! (Sadly, that bit too was reminiscent).
Twelve months later and there on my iPhone the blue birdie still beckoned. Maybe have another go, and this time, be more selective.
An initial 25. A comfortable number. Off starts the conversation again. I limit my followings. Still though, no-one appears to be talking to me.
I make my first few cautious re-tweets to see if that stirs anything. Zilch! Don’t give up. Try posting a few comments. Nope, still zilch. My eyes drift back toward the exit.
I get a message! Someone liked a post! Huge and joyous celebrations. I exist after all! I have my first new follower who I swiftly follow back, sharing connections. We have similar tastes, many of whom I decide to follow in turn. Brand new connections tweet lines of thought I haven’t played with before. The riot seems to be breaking-up a little. Rather than a writhing mass it now resembles multi-branching conga lines dancing to their own mysterious rules.
One month in and I no longer feel glued to the wall. Inspiring people appear and new conga-lines of ideas open up. New opinions, new topics, new thoughts.
For a presenter, the ability to surprise an audience with novel thinking creates a memorable presentation. In order to surprise others, you must first embrace the chance to be surprised yourself.
It’s early days, and I’m still figuring out the moves, but I now see that the information orgy of Twitter rewards curiosity with new ideas, and new ideas are always worth turning on.
For a useful guide to starting out with Twitter, try “The Bare Bones Guide to Twitter” published by Adam Werbach in The Atlantic.
For comfort in those early weeks, this wonderful blog post by Annie Andre. As newbies, we are not alone!
And for a cautionary tale of Twit-Addiction, Larry Carlat’s “Confessions of a Tweeter” from the NY Times