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IDEA LOG: June 6, 2008 — The James Gang @ 1:58 am      

What on earth is everyone twittering about?

About a month ago, I received an email from a friend inviting me to join Twitter. I’d heard about Twitter for over a year but had not given it any thought. It seemed like mindless entertainment for people who didn’t have anything better to do. Why would the world want to know the mundane facts of people’s lives? Why would you bother to tell others what you are doing — why not just enjoy the moment and be ‘present’? I didn’t get it… But when the invite came in, I decided to sign up… I was curious…

twitter id is a talented writer on the environment… What was she twittering about?

Maybe I was missing something? It was at the very least a nice show of friendship.

Well, LaMarguerite was twittering about all sorts of things, in 140 characters or less.

Mundane stuff: Making sandwiches for her kids and their friends.
Environmental ideas: Getting hooked on KrisCan’s green sex and humor.
Twitter etiquette: “I don’t like when people only use twitter to pump up their biz; I like when I learn random stuff from people just sharing, naturally.
And global:
Wondering how many of you my twitter friends, believe in world peace? if you do, copy this tweet in your next tweet.” A few days later another tweet: Thanking all of you my twitter friends who participated in the peace meme. The experiment was a success, and will be used for a Stanford class.”

Could I be a Twitter user?

I’ve always kept a journal and I am a blogger. twitter id

My tweets are a mishmash of ideas, but somehow I’m managing to keep them all short. Is less more or more less?

Environmental: “Just read Michael Pollan’s Why Bother’ in NY Times — thinking about growing veggies in our backyard… read Eccentric Glamour today – fun.”
Mundane: Weeding the garden — must root out the bad guys before they spread and choke out everything. But they keep popping up. Perseverance needed.”
Artistic: “Heard Malcolm Gladwell speak May 13. See my new visual essay: The Real Poop on Social Change.
Fun Brain Exercises: I challenge myself to invent a new word (most days).
Social and political: “Watching Marguerite get personal with Obama on YouTube. Congrats!!”
More environmental news: “Death of GM truck factory in Oshawa as gas prices destroy behemoth vehicles. Hummer thankfully endangered species. Glad we sold our SUV in 07.”

Friends I knew started popping up on Twitter and connecting with me.

twitter id added his thoughts on the GM fiasco:
“GM pulls head out of sand ten years too late, kills off Hummers (maybe), realize small cars are where it’s at, finally.” Of course Martin is up on environmental issues and social marketing so I shouldn’t have been too surprised he tracked me down.

Very quickly I started exploring other people’s Twitter pages. It’s like following the crumbs in Hansel and Gretel… perhaps that is not a good analogy as then we’d be worrying about witches and gingerbread houses and the like… But whatever — this Twitter maze is like a never-ending story.

twitter id and twitter id and twitter id are somehow all connected because I see their icons on each other’s pages. You never know who you’re going to bump into on Twitter. I guess that’s part of the fun of it. But if you dig deep enough, you’ll figure out who people are.

“Hi, I’m Co-founder and Creative Director of Twitter and also helped make Xanga, Blogger, Odeo, and Obvious. I’ve published two books about social media and have a more professional profile on LinkedIn.”

Some Twitterers have very cool icons with wonderfully designed pages. (Note to self to spruce my icon up. Surely I can do better?)

I particularly liked this one from a guy twitter id who spells his name backwards.

So some people have started following me — and I wondered, “How did they find me? Am I dropping breadcrumbs? Where is the trail?” I noticed that a super-prolific Twitterer, was following me. And that he also posted on LaMarguerite’s peace meme. I wondered, “Is he a friend of hers?” I sent twitter id a direct message asking him, and commented that I could not possibly keep up with all the twittering he was doing… Only to be a wee bit embarrassed when I dug further. Max is not an individual but a social media and green living company. Interesting…

Some people just have a knack for tweeting.

twitter id writes tweets that are funny, personally revealing and intriguing. Of course that is in keeping with her identity as the Boston Globe columnist and author of the Brazen Careerist. She also has many opinions on why you may want to keep your Twitter identity separate from your Facebook and other social media selves.

What I find so neat about Twitter is how you can connect with some very interesting people, very easily and quickly.

I happened upon the President of Pop Labs, twitter id who tweets…

“Playing Scrabble with my kids (age 17, 14, 9) . Is it wrong to punch one of them to get their mind off the letters ;)” He also comments that he wants to whip his sales guys into shape ’cause there’s a $35k deal on the line. He’s a pretty good writer. I discovered his motivational pep talk: How to Think and Act Like A Loser.

So can we ever know what on earth everyone is twittering about?

Yesterday I uncovered an app that answered that question. I tweeted happily: “Fascinating view of twitters around the world real time.”

twitter id

Well, I’ve only scratched the surface of Twitter, but I like the serendipity and fun of it… It may just be a social media tool that helps change the world by connecting us in ways we never could have imagined.

See you on Twitter.

Franke James


If you’re new to Twitter, here’s an informative primer by Koka Sexton:
Everything you ever need to know about Twitter

Twhirl is a nifty tool to compress urls. (Twitter is very strict about the 140 characters.)

11 Comments »

  1. Comment by marguerite manteau-rao — June 6, 2008 @ 2:14 am

    This is a cool post Franke. Glad I could pave your way to twittering!

  2. Comment by Max Gladwell — June 6, 2008 @ 3:18 am

    Hey, hey. My name is Rob. I’m the founder of Max Gladwell, which is a blog. You can call us Max for short, tho. Thanks for the mention. Great post about one person’s unique experience with Twitter.

  3. Comment by Martin Edic — June 6, 2008 @ 8:53 am

    Tweet, tweet.
    I’m one of those people in the squares (gotta change my pic- ugh!) and I’m just dipping my toes into Twitter. This might be the best post I’ve seen on why this thing is exploding- its a conversation anyone can join and no one can mouth off- 140 characters keeps us in line.
    hi Franke…

  4. Comment by franke james — June 6, 2008 @ 10:23 am

    Thanks for the positive comments! jack dorsey, featured above in the triple lineup of squares — provides his take on Twitter. BTW, he’s the CEO of Twitter. Watch his video here:
    Jack Dorsey Presents Twitter

    by biz stone

  5. Pingback by Techrigy: Monitoring blogs, social networks, micro-blogs and more — June 6, 2008 @ 10:50 am

    […] If you’re old school like me then you’re one of the multitudes who are either just discovering the allure of Twitter or are about to. In case you don’t get the whole thing, check out Franke James’ brilliant take on why Twitter is more than a fad. […]

  6. Comment by Twitter / The Dublab — June 6, 2008 @ 12:18 pm

    Twitter comment:

    dub lab

    Excellent post. I love your approach to storytelling, Franke. Happy to have discovered your work…via Twitter!

    I started using the tool about 7 months ago as a way to keep friends and colleagues up-to-date on my whereabouts. Since then, my network of friends and followers has expanded to include those with similar backgrounds and interests, and those who raise a smile, make me think, and who point me towards new ideas. Twitter is now an indispensable part of my day.

    BTW, I found that I needed a critical mass of a couple of dozen people before Twitter started to make “sense” to me for conversations. Conversely, about 100 or so seems to work for me before it gets too distracting during a work day; how some folk can follow thousands boggles my wee mind.

    The Dublab

  7. Pingback by Are Virtual Social Networks a Cop-Out for Real Community? « La Marguerite — June 6, 2008 @ 3:55 pm

    […] That’s when it hit me. How alienated I have become from the physical community called my neighborhood. Things that were second nature to my grandparents, such as neighbors helping each other out, are no longer part of my DNA. Wiped out, by a lifestyle that promotes self-reliance at all costs and diverts much of our socializing urges into virtual networks, such as Twitter. […]

  8. Comment by franke — June 6, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

    Response to pingback post:

    Good points Marguerite and as usual beautifully written. I think we need a balance.

    I can talk to my neighbors about lots of things that we have in common (property taxes, development in the area, gardening, etc.).

    However they aren’t tuned in to the creative, environmental, or leading-edge technical stuff that the people I connect with on social networks are passionate about.

    I need both to be happy — how wonderful to connect with you in California while I work in Toronto. Neighbors are great but they are not a replacement for my web friends.

  9. Comment by Pingback by The Dublab — June 7, 2008 @ 11:53 am

    I bumped into Franke James recently on Twitter and have since discovered her marvelous visual essays. I’m a visual thinker myself, and Franke’s approach strikes a real chord with me. Her style of art and re-visioning of photographs pulls me in with effective (and affective) imagery that lingers long after viewing — key elements for any successful story.

    http://daveriddell.weebly.com/1/post

  10. Pingback by Twitter satire captures the craze | Idea Log — June 11, 2008 @ 1:35 pm

    […] See my earlier post on my Twitter experience “What on earth is everyone twittering about?” […]

  11. Comment by LaDonna Coy — July 7, 2008 @ 9:44 pm

    Thanks Franke for the comments on the blog and for this terrific post on Twitter! Our journeys into Twitter have some similarities – :o)

    I love your style of visual blogging and the fantastic visual essays! I couldn’t resist celebrating your work so I did a follow up blog post here: twitter-forrest-gump-and-connections

    I look forward to following your posts and learning alongside you – thank you.

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