October 31st, 2009

How I Read Tweets

These are my rambling thoughts on Twitter use lately.  Clearly not well-formed yet, these notes are simply a way to ask you if you are using Twitter similarly or differently.


While I may not post tweets as frequently as others, I am reading tweets up to 15 hours a day.  I keep Seesmic Desktop active on my computer throughout the day and I frequently reference the Tweetie app on my iPhone when away from my computer.  I have noticed something about my tendencies as I scan the posts: I focus on the local people, but national news.  I follow 187 “people” on Twitter; that is a lot of news and information streaming in throughout the day.  And, while I glance at all of them, when in a hurry I look for the people I “know” and those tend to be locals.  And by “locals,” I mean the average, everyday person that is on Twitter and sharing news and information, not the local news (with the exception of a few, they still haven’t figured out how to make Twitter useful except when it comes to weather updates).

Posting constant Twitter updates is personally revealing.  As a result, you can feel like you “know” people you have no chance of meeting.  However, on a local level, there is a chance of actually meeting the people that you feel like you “know” from their Twitter updates.  Does this possibility make their posts more interesting and engaging?


The people and organizations that posts strings of tweets one after the other definitely get overlooked by me.  When they do this, I feel like they are crowding the space and trying to take it over.  That is not what social media is all about; social media is about sharing information in two-way communications.  It is putting something out there and looking for a response.  It is not a newscast.


I am clicking through on embedded Twitter links more frequently; I am not sure if this is because more people are using them or if people are getting smarter about how to write their tweets in a way that intrigue people enough to click through.  If I click through on an embedded link in a tweet, I would consider that tweet successful: the message was effectively “teased” in the 140-character limit of Twitter.  However, if I am disappointed by what I find, the chances of me clicking through on link from that user again are slim.  The content that doesn’t disappoint can be anything from photos and articles to long-form video; it doesn’t matter what is there, as long as it was relevant to that tweet and ultimately interesting, it works.

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