The Perils and Joys of Twitter

TwitterI’m an early adopter of Twitter and I really liked it when I started. Then I sort of just forgot about it for a couple years. I can’t really explain my neglect. I think I just got distracted by exploring all the other tools that developed, including, the Facebook monster.

Recently I have gone back to Twitter,¬† started to get involved again, and am remembering why I was originally drawn to this particular social media platform. From the beginning, Twitter’s structure has made it challenging to understand for the casual user. The open API adds another level of complexity with lots of third party apps building on top of Twitter adding functionality.

Th ability to direct Tweets at other users by including their handles, the hashtag (#) system allowing for Tweets to be discovered by others and categorizing content creates the possibility for a great amount of interaction between people of all types, not just your “friends” on Facebook.

The same features that can make Twitter feel like a worldwide open discussion also allow for trolls a bots to shadow that world. These things can make Twitter seem like a mean and frightening place. Many well-intentioned people have been driven off Twitter by its dark side. So, if you decide to play in that schoolyard you may need to arm your heart agains the bullies.

The complexity, the seeming chaos, the potiential threats, virtual and real life that can emerge, are all reasons that are probably why Twitter’s user numbers continue to struggle compared the anodyne but seemingly magnetic Facebook. But if you can wrap your arms and mind around all that, it can be a fascinating, exciting and fun place. This time around, I can’t seem to stay away for long. A day off Twitter and I fall victim to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). My fingers begin to twitch.

Still, I think of myself as a novice. Features have been added since I first started years ago. The third-party tools have changed. New strategies and techniques that I had never heard of have evolved. I barely have enough time to stumble around in the platform, let alone make a concerted effort to study the techniques for effect particiapation.

One of my stumbles forward was when I made the following post after listening to a podcast about free speech. Shortly after finishing the episode I saw a related news story and tweeted the participants in the podcast about that story.

This post caught the eye of many people. It was retweeted many times, “liked” (thes heart icon) by hundreds and a conversation with many, many people (the cartoon talk bubble icon) involved for about two weeks. Given the average life span on a Twitter news feed is about 20 minutes, this was astounding, at least for me.

It’s difficult to say what triggered this reaction. Probably, it was a perfect combination of the topic (free speech is a hot topic on Twitter), including the two Twitter handles of the people involved in the podcast and the news item about Richard Dawkins having his talk at U.C. Berkeley cancelled.

I’ve yet to recreate the success of this Tweet. I don’t consciously set out to do so. But it is in the back of my mind as I fumble my way. Since I do use the platform to also talk about my business, perhaps it’s time to learn, to make an effort to be more systematic, strategic and effective. If you’re on Twitter (and I encourage you to be), please follow me and see how I do. I will follow you back. Promise!

Reviving the Blog

Look out! After a few years of neglect I have decided to put some time back in to this blog site. It’s one of the oldest sites I still have so the record goes back pretty far. I’m putting a new look on it and that will be developed over time. But the point is, suddenly I have things to say that I don’t have another great place for.

Stay tuned!

Backslash

A couple days ago i was listening to a podcast and the speaker was describing a URL for a website and he said something like www.blahblah.com backslash somepage.

Backslash? I always thought it was a forward slash. Here’s a backslash \. Heres a forward slash /. Am I wrong? I don’t know. because there seems, after all these years, to be some cnfusion. The backslash is usually used in local computer paths. \files\images\picutresoofmydog\fido3.jpg for exambple. But URLs are someplace.com/thispage. A forward slash. 

But I know there is confusion about which is which because I have tried to give people URLs over the phone and they often say: “Backslash or forward slash?” And I just don’t know what they are talking about so I say “leans to the right slash’. But usually I just give up and say, “Give me your email address and I;lll send you a link and you just click on it. Of course, then I have to be sure I get their email address exactly right, meaning they know how to tell  it to me and I transcribe it correctly. 

People hear what they hear. I have said my domain and email address includes morsemedia.net. I don’t know how much email I have lost with people sending to morsemedia.com or morrismedia.net. I say “Morse, like the code”. But who remembers Morse Code, or thinks it’s Morris Code?

I am often  amazed that anything of value ever gets communicated.

Betas vs Silicon Valley

Betas vs Silicon Valley

I try out a lot of shows. I like winding down with a good show on the tube/pad/laptop/phone/some device. Netflix, Amazon Prime and iTunes. They’re everywhere I am. What a world we live in.

So, when we still subscribed to premium cable channels I started getting hooked on HBO’s Silicon Valley. Then along came the trial season of Betas on Amazon Prime. The shows have a very similar premise: A team of young geeks striving to make it with their innovative app amid the crazy, over amped, high rolling tech world in the Bay Area. There are so many parallels between the two shows I kept thinking the characters from one would run into characters from the other.

Despite the similar premise there are differneces. The production values on Silicon Valley seem a little higher, the characters a little less extreme. There is a kind of coolness to the show that seems to emulate the image we have of the real Silicon Valley and its high tech, Apple like atmosphere.

But for some reason, I came away liking Betas overall better. I thought it was funnier, the characters more like-able. As the season went on I grew to empathize with them more.

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Silicon Valley

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Betas

I don’t know, maybe now that we don’t have HBO any more, I’m rationalizing, settling for what’s available. Now that old HBO stuff is showing up on Amazon Prime, I guess I could go back and watch them side by side. Yeah, that’s right. I have all the time in the world for that.