Monday, July 14, 2008

Social Web Milestones

This weekend I achieved a few social web milestones of which I am particularly proud. Not only did I make my 3000th tweet, but I also acquired by 1000th follower. In addition, I’ve added over 400 items to my Twitter Delicious tag and over 50 to my twitter tools Delicious tag. Nine months ago when I started tweeting, I was just kicking tires and didn’t really like it.  Who cares what I’m doing or that I’m having a ham sandwich. In talking to many tweeters, it’s not an uncommon experience to start. Now I am tweeting all the time, especially in the middle of the week, and at the beginning and end of the day as you can see from my tweetstats.  And obviously, I’m even writing about this crazy social network called Twitter.

So what changed for me? I think it was the realization that there were all of these great people active on twitter that had a lot of the same interests as me, whether it was Boston, Obama, sports, food and wine, or authors of books that I had read. People were talking about real issues, sharing links to cool content and definitely not talking about mundane topics.  Well, at least not all of the time.  And the conversation came to me.  I didn’t have to really work at it.  As a result, I’ve described Twitter as the lazy person’s social network.

As Twitter rock star, Laura “Pistachio” Fitton has said, “Twitter is my village.” Whether looking for like minds or shaken up by new ideas, I find it. When Gradon Tripp hit 5000 tweets about a month ago, he came up with a great top 10 list of things that he learned. A few things that I have learned are:

Don’t be afraid to respond: It’s twitter, you’re not interrupting a private conversation.  The incremental conversation is what makes it fun and why a lot of people are there.
Approach anyone in conversation: I’ve followed a lot of great people and had wonderful conversations with big time consultants, authors, chefs, etc.  If you are interested in what they have to say and have something to add or a question, go for it.  Most people here will answer. And those that don’t consistently, well, there are a million other people on twitter.
Don’t take it personal: Due to twitter’s asynchronous nature, people may not respond to everything you say.  They may not be logged in or perhaps they stay logged in and watch twitter as if it’s the radio (in the background for me when I want it). Try again later or just more on.
Ask questions: As Chris Brogan, Jeremiah Owyang and many others have said, I use Twitter to learn things, test out ideas, and get educated.  For me, Twitter is the Shell Answer Man.

I don’t know if I’ll make it to 5000 tweets, but I do know it will be a fun journey and I will learn even more.  What have you learned on your journey?