Friday, November 14, 2008

Shocking Emily Post

I've been on Twitter for two and a half days. I have survived.

Did I cave to the pressure? Not really. I'm a logical thinker, and the Twitter pundits challenged with this: How can you really judge something you haven't tried? So I'm trying it.

Well, I don't go into anything halfway. First I had to set up my Twitter page. Thanks to the folks at HeBlogsSheBlogs for their helpful post on F&F. They gave dimensions for a graphic that can go on the side of your Twitter page as a way to get in more info about you. I created a graphic with my book covers and Seatbelt Suspense/Don't forget to b r e a t h e ... logos.

Second, on Facebook I chose the application for Twitter and selected to have all my tweets sent automatically to my Facebook page. This is a great feature. Keeps my Facebook page updated, thereby cutting down my time there. I only need to go on Facebook now once a day to confirm new friends and check mail. I can do that in five minutes. And once in awhile I send a message to the Fans of Brandilyn Collins group. (By the way, I'm about to give away some books through that group, so if you're not a member yet--go sign up.)

Third I went to some Twitterers' pages to see who they were following and chose to follow some folks I didn't know at all but who looked interesting to me. Many people will follow you in return, and I was happy to see that be the case with the majority of these folks.

Many people advised downloading TweetLater to help deal with Twitter. It has a great feature that allows for auto direct messages to new followers. Only one problem--Twitter first has to fulfill its promise to send you emails of said new followers. I have my account set to receive such emails, but I ain't gettin' 'em. I am receiving notices of direct tweets, however. If anyone out there knows how to fix this problem with Twitter, please do speak up. In the meantime I've been manually responding with direct messages to new followers.

Mainly I have tried to go slow and not make a public spectacle of myself. (My craziness in setting up Facebook wasn't all that long ago.) Reading all the incoming tweets is a little weird at first. Everyone's putting in their own two cents, and people responses are minimal. So it sounds like a lot of very self-centered people constantly wanting to tell you about their day without really listening to news about yours. I realize that's not really true, or they wouldn't be signed up to follow anyone else. That's the whole point of Twitter--putting out those tidbits about what YOU are doing. But this goes completely against my traditional social training, which is to show interest in the OTHER person, asking questions about his/her life. Emily Post would be shocked.

Do you think Twitter's creating a new social etiquette that will spill over into our regular lives? Interesting thought. Maybe not for us babyboomers, whose mamas taught us how to act, but for kids raised on Twitter ...

At any rate, I'm trying to get used to talking about myself throughout the day and not feeling like I have to respond to every tweet out of politeness. Actually on Twitter that wouldn't be polite, since all my followers would be barraged by my individual responses. It's quite the backwards etiquette.

After two and a half days I've got 110 followers. I haven't done much to drive up this number, other than simply announcing I'm on Twitter. I've kept down the number of people I'm following for the moment as I try to get used to all this chatter. (If you're following me and I haven't reciprocated yet, please be patient.) I have to wonder about folks who follow hundreds, even over 1000, people. You can't possibly read all those tweets. Are they following simply to be followed--and not reading their tweets at all? Are they the ultimate Emily Post shockers?

Clearly, this Twewbie has much to learn.


Grady Houger said...

The etiquette of it is an interesting consideration, in any situation a person gets to choose their own etiquette, but community norms develop.
I was going to comment on how twitter allows a person to choose who to include in their virtual conversation, but it struck me that this is the same as choosing what functions to attend in physical space. Everyone chooses community involvement, be it twittering to keep in touch with family, or twittering for business networking.
So etiquette becomes a function of how we believe other people should be treated, and the details of how that works for a particular medium, be that a dinner party or internet forums.

Karen said...

Twitter also offers the opportunity to send out those little notes of congratulations, condolance, encouragement, etc. that Emily would have been proud to see happen. While it's not handwritten on cute little notecards, it is the evolution of such in our modern world. So, etiquette is still being followed in a sense.

Oh, and you'll find that someone following a 100 people may not be receiving that many messages. Many Twitterers don't tweet that often.

Pam Meyers said...

I've been using Twitter for a couple weeks and it's been both fun and interesting, depending on those I follow. I just started following you Brandilyn!

I started following one person than stopped. Do I need to know how many times a person does laundry every day? LOL

It's an interesting new toy that can be a marketing help if you use it right!

Richard Mabry said...

You're about a day ahead of me in joining Twitter (and light years ahead in your acceptance of new technology). On the recommendation of Terry Whalin and several others, I've downloaded Twhirl, and it helps. I'm following you, but still can't send you a direct message. Oh, well, there's always email. (Call me old-fashioned).

Anonymous said...

I'm new to Twitter as well. Just about a week. I've linked it to FaceBook. I still like FaceBook more, though. Seems more interactive. Oh, and blogging. That's my favorite.

I think I'm 'bout done joinin' new networks. Shoutlife, FaceBook, Twitter, and blogging. I think that'll be enough for me, for now:-)

Jill said...

Pam's comment is the reason I don't Twitter. I don't even want to know how many times a day I do laundry and wash dishes. Why would anyone else want to know?

Laura Christianson said...


You are already going great guns on Twitter -- congrats and thanks for the nod.

Now you can teach me something. How do you get your Tweets to stream into your Facebook account?

Laura Christianson

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Laura, go to your Account in Twitter. Look under where you put in your URL for your web site. You'll see this link in red:

(You can also add Twitter to your site here)

Click on that to feed Twitter to Facebook.

Thanks for helping to nudge me onto Twitter!

Anonymous said...

And if you're big on Facebook but new to Twitter, you can add an application that allows you to tweet right from Facebook.

I'm too boring for Twitter. ;)