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Maturation – blogging about Twitter?

May 1, 2008

Yesterday my friend Stuart posted a fine note about Twitter: http://manintheblackcoat.blogspot.com/2008/04/5-essential-twitter-truths.html

I started using Twitter a few weeks after Stu did. So, you could say that he’s a bit more experienced than I ~ but I think when the sum of our experience still totals less than a year, maybe we’re both still attracted by the pretty packaging. But I think his post shows a certain maturation of social networking and our understanding of how to use it to make our lives better.

What do I mean? Watch the common mistakes of folks new to the media – they follow hundreds, perhaps thousands of people. There are people talking about “Twitter Etiquette” which includes following those who follow you. A recent “experiment” called Osen recently found that 17% of people who know nothing about you will follow-you-back.

There already is a public timeline, and I’m not sure if somehow there is some sense of self worth that people are finding by following thousands of others while replicating that timeline. Of course the advantage is that you can then spam a short message out to those foolish enough to follow you. It’s a PR wet dream of sorts.

I read a piece the other day calling it “permission based stalking.” Too funny!

But maturation of the users of the technology includes redefining a new social etiquette around its use. One popular education web2.0 star recently got in some trouble for this:
http://dossthoughts.blogspot.com/2008/04/special-twitter-message.html

I don’t want to get to the gravel of casting stones with any of the people involved, but it does certainly raise an interesting point: yesterday @WillRich45 raised this point in a uStream session by asking if your network exists solely to agree with you, or to provide thoughtful discourse to your thoughts and ideas.

There are people who will never follow me. Never read a thing I blog or write. And I’m not sure if I should care. Yeah, maybe it bothers me a little bit when I know there is someone who “has the answer” but won’t talk to me, but it doesn’t bother me that much ~ because the shoe has been on the other foot before. Today, I follow a nice mix of people that I feel I can trust, that interest me, and are usually pretty willing to respond back to me. I make liberal use of the BLOCK button to keep spam bots from following me, although I let some of the more innocuous mega-followers join in the fun.

Ego takes a back seat so that I can take the time I need to during each waking day to get a good sense of 70% or so of what has been said through my personal learning network. Eventually, that may result in a tenfold number of followers to those I follow. (But its certainly not that way now.) By adding just a few new and creative people every few days, my network is growing with my skill level, helping me to be more effective, have more fun, and stimulating my mind.

Would I want to throw that all away for flash in the pan status by having lots of followers I’m not personal with?

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