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.)

The Case Foundation features Nine Ways to Widget Wisdom

How do you explain the marketing opportunity that ‘widgets’ offer, without having people’s eyes glaze over from too much technical jargon? Well, Franke James article on Nine Ways to Widget Wisdom managed to do just that. Franke broke down the basics of widgets into a simple nine step primer that even computer neophytes can understand. Translating complex technology into easily understood language with concrete examples is a skill that the James Gang has been honing for years.

Jonathan Wolfe, Senior writer at The Case Foundation contacted The James Gang for permission to use the article, saying, “It explains widgets in an easy, concise, web-friendly way.”

The James Gang is delighted to have this opportunity to speak to the Case Foundation audience. It’s a nice pat on the back when you know their mission is to narrow the digital divide in society. Below are the nine points. Read the full article.

Nine Ways to Widget Wisdom:

  1. Widgets make Content Portable
  2. Widgets are Free Advertising
  3. Widgets help people Embrace your Brand
  4. Widgets are a Window
  5. Widgets come in All Sizes
  6. Widgets have No Red Tape
  7. Widgets are Easy to Build
  8. Widgets are the Next Wave
  9. Now, you are Widget Wise. Have fun!

For those who are keen on exploring widgets in more depth, Franke has written two more widget articles:

About The Case Foundation

The Case Foundation was founded in 1997 to finding lasting solutions to complex social challenges such as the ‘digital divide’. Jean and Steve Case founded the Case Foundation in 1997 to reflect their family’s heartfelt commitment to finding lasting solutions to complex social challenges. Today, the foundation is pursuing a number of initiatives, and is particularly focused on three strategies:

  • Encouraging collaboration;
  • Supporting successful leaders; and
  • Fostering entrepreneurship in the nonprofit sector.

Case Foundation is applying these strategies to meet the needs of underserved children and families; create thriving and sustainable economic development for communities; bridge cultural and religious divides; expand civic engagement and volunteerism; and accelerate innovative approaches to health care.

Since Jean and Steve Case established the Case Foundation in 1997, the foundation has worked to address complex social problems by partnering with a number of local, national, and international organizations. A specific example of this approach is the foundation’s early efforts to bridge the “digital divide” — which began by identifying Computer Learning Centers Partnership (CLCP) in Fairfax County, Va., as a model for after-school technology programs that could be adopted nationally.

The initiative’s positive impact on students led to a major national investment in 1999, when Jean and Steve spearheaded an effort to bring together high-tech companies, nonprofit organizations, and state and local governments to create PowerUP. With support from America Online, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, the Waitt Family Foundation, America’s Promise, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and other youth-serving organizations, PowerUP created a network of nearly 1,000 community technology centers for underserved youth across the country. Read more about the Case Foundation.