Saturday, July 31, 2010

Twitter: A Minimal Introduction

Designed by founders for teens and phones.
Taken over by everyone else for almost everything else.
Mainstream Media is completely misleading.


Spam is almost nonexistent. (Unfollow is especially easy.)
Many spammers (...well ~excuse me~, "businesses") don't get model at all.
Monetization by Twitter organization is unclear. (Eventually like Google Ads?)
Suggestion: Do searches on name being used and join the conversations.
(Do this by using the at symbol at the front of the account name.)

Information flows:

One-way: Ends up being mostly journals, magazines, and premium bloggers.
Over time individuals refine and do less of this.
Two-way (conversations): Possible only if each Follows the other.
Tends to increase over time. (Or individual quits Twitter.)

Social customs and optimization:

Avoid coming off as a spammer. So usually personal names or CEO names instead of business names. I almost never even check-out a new follower that has a business name. It's a waste of time. Perfectly good, desirable even, to give business name and link in the short biographical space provided.

When someone follows you (with a account that has a personal name), right-click to check out their page. If looks interesting with a comfortable frequency and quality of tweets then I generally follow-back.

Spammers often follow a strategy to get you to follow them by first following you, along with a thousand others! A few days later they Unfollow to improve their "stats" to appear popular.


I have found Twitter goes much more smoothly for me if I use my main "Follows" list for only the people who I can have conversations with (with a few exceptions). If you have created another list then they are on the right side of your main page. I use the other lists as newsfeeds. (That is what I am shooting for, but I might get around to doing that for a month.)

Direct Messages (DMs) links have been targeted by viruses a lot. I never click on links in DMs.

Comparisons to Facebook:

Ignore all mainstream (business-based) media hype about this.

Brevity -- I really, really love how Twitter forces people to be brief. I like my Facebook friends (of course), but frankly often find to my astonishment they're way too chatty, or go on and on about things I have absolutely no interest in. (Note that MSM portrays Twitter as chatty, Facebook as friendly. The reverse is more true in my experience.) (As Twitter conversations deepen I usually move from Tweets to DMs, and then to Facebook or G-mail.) (Friendfeed is very popular with scientists and science reporters. Still a little too chatty for me.)

Some brain-storming: Indexing theory and searching theory are very closely related. Awhile back I tweeted something like -- "The Twitter character limit is mostly trivial for book indexers. All day long it's Main Head, Sub-head, and Locator/Link". I see Twitter as part of a larger trend of the push-pull "fitness" between human and computer information-processing systems. (See me for a detailed explication of this concept.)

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