Are you a Twitter? You know - the site that allows you answer that life pressing question, "What are you doing?" to your friends, family and colleagues. (Oh… and you have to tell it in 140 characters or less.) The question you should ask yourself before tweeting is however, "Does it matter what I'm doing?" or "Do people want to know what I'm doing?" Perhaps what their tagline should really read is, "Expose your personal life."
Hey if you are a celebrity people are intrigued by the little details and sure it would be great to be a fly on the wall to read what perhaps you as a favorite actor or athlete are up to. After all, most celebrities are too busy to do more than microblog from their cell phone.
But if you are Joe Blow, the reality is that tweeting the news it just rained after washing your car, is pointless.
So here is some great advice on how to tweet effectively. First, understand what it is you are sending out. According to Pear Analytics a large random sample of tweets indicated there are the following type messages:
1. Pointless Babble – Ex. I just washed my car.
2. Conversation – I'm running late where do we meet?
3. Pass Along Value (often re-tweeted) – This stock is hot!
4. Self Promotion
Of these five types, pointless babble makes up almost half of tweets. That's a lot of twit wasting tweets.
Again, pointless babble is just that unless you're Ozzy Ozbourne. After all, who can forget the first time watching him empty his own trash on his realty TV show. But those mundane daily acts are of no interest to even your own mother.
The real question you must ask when considering a Tweet, is "Who is my audience?" Let's face it, most of us are NOT celebrities. The question of "what are you doing" is one that must be asked in reverse when you think about tweeting. "Do people care what I'm doing?" Tweeting that you just got a parking ticket on a street where the no parking sign was removed is a great tweet if you want to vent. Better yet, warn others of the street name and make it a Pass Along Value tweet.
Tweeting is non-filtered folks. When you put it out there, everyone sees it. The "my audience" question has particular importance in this case. Twitter user "theconner" lost her job at Cisco right after landing it with this tweet: "Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work."
Tweeting for the sake of it is drivel. And eventually, Twitter will sag under its own weight if users don't figure this out. People enjoy following other people on Twitter when they have something worth waiting for.
Otherwise you will become a narcissist or risk being perceived as one when you tweet nonsense like, "I'm eating a sandwich". All that "look at me, look at me, look at me" tweeting is bound to make you look bad no matter who you are even a celebrity. Just this week Miley Cyrus put herself out there responding publicly that she holds a candle to her ex-boyfriend Justin Gaston in tweets: "Yeah. I love when people mistake bravery with writing a few stupid tweets trying to make it seem like they don't care. You're afraid to love."
Miley must not be aware of Lindsay Lohan making a fool of herself when Lindsay felt her lover Samantha Ronson cheated on her. Lohan tweeted: "I was right all along. Cheat", followed up with, "Being cheated on does wonders to you. I'm doing this publicly because u&ur friends call [US magazine] People. So you win, you broke my heart. Now go away. I loved you."
Then again, there is an exception to every rule, look at the attention Ashton Kutcher received over his wife Demi Moore when he tweeted a photo of her butt as she bent over in a bikini: "Watching my wife steam my suit while wearing a bikini. I love God!"
Social networking is the way of the future. In time more robust sites than MySpace, Facebook or Twitter will make these experiences seem juvenile. Already sites like Meetup.com are improving on the social networking concept in that they allow social networking of 'groups' which goes well beyond social networking of individuals. It's certainly less narcissistic.
If you have an uncontrollable ego, then tweet like a twit, but if you have a shred of dignity and integrity, make your tweets count. To connect with people, don't brag; engage them in conversation, give them information they can use or inform them of news that shows you are an intelligent person worth following.
If you really think you are special, the offer yourself up humbly to answer questions. Re-tweeting is cool, just give credit to your source.
Making friends of strangers is one thing. Allowing someone to look into your life is another. Tweeting may come with risks, but none is worse than making you look like a twit.
And for god's sake, don't' tweet to me you just ate a sandwich unless it had a bug in it. My twitter user name is VertigoTango