You’re Looking at a Twit-iot

The Great (?) Social Networking Experiment, Chapter 5

How many weeks now into my Twitter experience – three? I still don’t get it. Maybe I’m truly not cool enough, as my son would say. Or maybe I’m not working it correctly, but so far it’s proving to be no more than another attention-stealing reason why I need medication or less technology in my life.

I threw myself out there as your guinea pig (or is that Twitterpig?). I’ve followed a few hundred people. I’ve tried being “business-y” when that’s not who I am. I’ve tried being myself (yep, that fell flat, too). I’ve tried logging on twice a day for five minutes each. So confusing! I’ve tried following threads of conversation, but they’re not really threads – they’re more like fabric swatches from hundreds of different stores. One’s ranting on about why women are from Venus. Another is sharing financial news. Still another is wondering where his socks went. There are lunch updates, weather updates, and political banter that I normally try to avoid. Am I the only Tweeple who doesn’t get what the hell is going on? I get the impression if I screamed “Fire!” in Twitterland, no one would notice or tweet over a hose. Is it too much noise to be effective?

Truth is it’s not. Others have found connections with clients there. Some have built a huge following, upping the credibility factor with clients. Others have promoted successfully their blogs or their businesses. I’m doing something wrong – I’m sure of it.

But that begs the question – if it’s such a mystery to me, is it really the social networking tool or is the fit not right?

What SN tools have you used that have left you confused or unimpressed? What’s worked for you? Feel free to sing the praises of Twitter – I’ve not given up. I’m just at a crossroads and I need some direction.

About the author




  • Mark Salinas February 16, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I like Twitter took me a bit to get it. I like the personal engagement with so many different types of individuals from all over the world. Very unique in that aspect. Such a powerful tool for many different areas.My suggestion? Give it some time. 🙂

    @Mark_Salinas <– Twitter id 🙂

  • Devon Ellington February 16, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    My blog is still my number one marketing tool.

    Teaching is my second, although you reach a smaller, more concentrated group of people. But they tend to spread the word.

    The jury’s still out on MySpace — I’m not using it as effectively as I could, but I don’t think it’s done much to boost my sales.

  • Lori February 16, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    I’ll follow you, Mark. 🙂

    Devon, I agree. Blogging is definitely the best tool for me so far. Second is possibly LinkedIn with Entrecard right behind it. Beyond that, it’s just building connections wherever and whenever.

    And it’s how we build the connections, not just how those connections are going to benefit us, as you well know.

  • Brenda Susan February 16, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    I don't "get" twittering either. Haven't tried it yet but it appears to be just another thing to distract me from what I should be doing anyway. Loving Blogger & Facebook though!

  • Lillie Ammann February 17, 2009 at 2:20 am


    I’m a social media idiot, and I haven’t even tried Twitter. I know lots of people swear by it, but it just doesn’t appeal to me. I am on Facebook, LinkedIn, and several more than I joined because people I know invited me. But I don’t really use any of them effectively.

  • Angie Ledbetter February 17, 2009 at 3:16 am

    So far, I’m a one SN woman…unless you can count learning to text as another. 🙂

  • Lori February 17, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    You guys might be relieved to know that of all the social networking tools/sites, Twitter was ranked 17 on the list. LinkedIn came in at number 11. I don’t feel so bad now. 🙂

    Angie, it took me too long and one teenager to learn to text. Apparently, there is a faster way, and she showed me how as we were sitting in the doctor’s office waiting room. I suppose these things should come with more detailed manuals. :))

    Lillie and Brenda, that’s what I use, too. They are the tools that are most useful to me. I guess that’s the point – use what works for you.

  • Sal February 17, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    You know, amazingly, Twitter has been the one social networking tool that I have been able to keep up with. Facebook, myspace, mybook, facespace, whatever is just too much for me. I created accounts, but after getting hundreds of app requests and people telling me that I need to constantly update my page, then others writing un-professional stuff on my wall or message board or what have you, I just lost interest. Now the only time I get on those accounts is to see where everyone is at in their lives about once every 3 months or so.

    I still have yet to try LinkedIn and some of the others, but Twitter just seemed easy to get set up when I was getting started so I guess that helped a lot too. I learned Twitter as I was learning the ropes so it went hand in hand.

  • writtenexpressions February 17, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    My husband is considering Twittering for business (as opposed to Twittering for pleasure, I guess), and somebody told him that the secret is to be a followee rather than a follower. Good in theory, but if everybody went by that philosophy nobody would be following anybody, and it would just be a bunch of Tweeple tweeting at themselves. So I guess I’m no closer to an answer than you are. I am just content to Twitter vicariously through you.

  • Lori February 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Oh Amie, I pity you if you’re looking to me as the Twitter example! LOL

    Sal, I know what you mean. Facebook is fun. My Space is fun. They’re not business-y, and I don’t think I’d use them as business tools. LinkedIn is ALL business. It’s just set up that way. No “I had grilled cheese for lunch” there!

  • WordVixen February 18, 2009 at 4:08 am

    I use Twitter as a way to be social without being confined to the one sided conversations of email, restricting topics as in a blog comment thread, and not having to sign into a chat room and devote all my attention to it.

    I like Twitter, because I can have an actual conversation with someone, and yet others can join in (usually if they follow both of us) or ignore me.

    And just so ya know? The tweet that got the biggest response lately was when I mentioned that I was watching Spice World. 🙂

    I have, however, made a few really good friends via Twitter. I can name at least 5 right off the top of my head.

    Honestly, the people that I know who’ve drummed up business via Twitter were just using it socially. Then, someone suggested a tweep of theirs, or someone was found via search… I had my first real freelance opportunity based on a chance tweet that a tweep of my “overheard”.

  • Lori February 18, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Gotta love it. :)) Spice World – I can’t tell you how many times I watched that. And I won’t tell you – you’d think less of me for sure.

    Thanks for the guidance, hon. See you in Twitterland!

  • WordVixen February 18, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    No way- you’ve seen Spice World? And I so would not think less of you. 0 says you’re a grown up, 1 or more says we have a lot in common. (I’ve watched it twice in a row before).

    And yeah, discussing Spice World is the best Twitter advice that I can offer. 😉

  • Nikki February 19, 2009 at 3:10 am

    I'm with Sal & WordVixen on this. I love to get to know more about the people I've only ever seen the business side of and Twitter lets me do that.

    I tweeted about a friend finishing classes for medical transcription and who could point me to some places that hire; it turned into a discussion between two other tweeple and some some great information for my friend. Today I used for dinner advice, I've talked to other moms struggling with potty training. I like Twitter because there are no restrictions on how I can use it.

    Some of my most favorite twitter conversations and most tweeted things are not about business – but it's nice that I can use it to point to a new blog post immediately or ask for advice on an article I'm writing.

  • Sal February 19, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    @Nikki: Exactly. When I first started using Twitter, I thought it was a glorified Instant Messenger, but now I see it as a useful tool. For instance, just last night I was doing an article on how men and women view going green differently and what they think about when buying green. I asked a couple of questions and got an overwhelming response.

    It helped me put my paper together and it was based on actual research that I did, not just something that I read out of another article. I see Twitter as a place to connect with people, but also a little place to do some research with live people (as opposed to dead people???)