This is a bit out of order in terms of the poll, but since my mother is one of the readers who most wanted to see this post, I’m going to let her trump all. :)
Lissa Pattillo recently blogged about manga publishers and bloggers/reviewers she’s found on Twitter, and as one of those I felt a bit inspired to talk about my own experience there, especially since the thing I hear most from non-users is, well, “Why?”
As with any social situation, we each create our own experience, so I’m not suggesting that everyone out there is using/experiencing Twitter the same way I am, but this is obviously what I can speak best about. What Twitter has most closely resembled for me is those old chat rooms I used to visit way back when I first discovered the internet, only it gives me the capability to control my own experience by choosing exactly who I’m chatting with (or not), and even whose contributions I’m able to see, so I can more effectively communicate with those I most wish to. Real chat rooms tend to scroll by so fast and contain so much noise that is uninteresting to me, that they are pretty much useless to me as a means of real communication. Twitter can move pretty fast, too, and the need for scrolling increases with every new person I decide to follow, but with the built-in reply tool (as well as the ability to use hash symbols to label specific topics), there’s always an opportunity to pick up older conversation.
I know that people are learning more and more how to use Twitter for networking and marketing purposes and though I’m really a novice, I’ve definitely noticed an increase in my blog readership since I joined (I use a WP plugin to automatically “tweet” new posts). My greatest recommendation for new users would be to determine a focus from the get-go and then go through the follow lists of other people with the same focus and start customizing your own community that way. Interaction is the real key to an enjoyable Twitter experience, so join in on conversations and really make a place for yourself at the table. The other manga bloggers I’ve met have been very friendly and talkative and a great thing about the character limit is that it keeps anyone from easily dominating a conversation.
I really didn’t think I’d use Twitter for much when I first signed up, but it’s become a really enjoyable part of my daily online experience as well as a useful tool for interacting with people in a a world I’d like to become even more a part of than I am now. I’ve met new people, shared manga recommendations, talked about blogging, reviewing, industry news, and much, much more. Sold? Come join me!
jansong@livejournal saysApril 24, 2009 at 11:29 am
I need to check out how you find the focus groups. I’ve rejected people I don’t know who have said they wish to follow me. Probably just scammers, I figured, but if I find the focus groups, I, too, could have a better twitter experience. Thanks. Thanks for bumping me up. :) You are a good daughter.
Melinda Beasi saysApril 24, 2009 at 11:35 am
There’s this website that lets people put their twitter accounts into categories… let me see if I can remember what it’s called and give you the link. Maybe that would help you find some folks to follow!
scottfrye saysApril 24, 2009 at 11:30 am
I’d say that my experience with Twitter is about the same as yours. But I’ve seen some people get overwhelmed with all the tweets they feel like they have go through everyday. If you miss a day or so, you can really get behind but I’d suggest that you don’t have to read all the tweets you missed while away. Other than those issues, twitter is an excellent way to network and meet new people.
By the way, I guess I’m one of your new readers gained through twitter.
Melinda Beasi saysApril 24, 2009 at 11:34 am
Hee, thanks for demonstrating that point for me! :D
Ugh, I can’t imagine trying to catch up on missed tweets after a day or two away (though I tend up use my phone to keep up with it as well). I’m likely to check for @ replies specifically for me, but otherwise just let it go.
Ed Sizemore saysApril 24, 2009 at 12:10 pm
That’s a very helpful post. I’m still torn. Part of the problem is that Twitter is a forbidden site at work. I have a Palm Treo, but I don’t like texting on it if I can avoid it. Also, it seems that Palm internet software and Twitter only like each other half the time. My contract ends soon and I might upgrade to a phone with Windows Mobile to make internet surfing much smoother.
However, there have been some interesting discussions that I’ve followed. The one last night about the number of men who review manga was good. I saw your tweet on it and followed the conversation from there. Also, I would be nice to simply response to you or someone else quickly with a one line tweet. (Of course, I should warn people most of the tweets would either be bad puns or cheesy snark. My mind works that way.) Also, I feel guilty following Twitter conversations without being a member, kind of like listening in on an old party line phone.
Truth be told I’m probably just kicking and screaming as I’m slowly being dragged to Twitterdom. Much like my conversion to CDs, oh so many years ago.
Thanks for listening to my thinking out loud and for giving me more fuel for thought. I also like the wisdom you and scottfrye shared about not getting obsessed with trying to following and reply to everything.
Melinda Beasi saysApril 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm
Ugh, Michelle has that same problem with Twitter being blocked from work. I do use Twitter from my Blackberry, though it’s not quite the same, and I haven’t figured out how to do replies without just typing in the “@whoever” myself.
I think you should not feel guilty about watching the conversations. :) You are possibly the only person who pays attention to my tweets on the front page of my blog, so I for one am happy you do so! :D It would definitely be more fun if you chimed in, though. And I do find that some of the best conversations happen in the evening, which is nice because I can use it as a built-in break when I’m working on reviews.
Your comment on the ability to respond quickly got me thinking about the character limit. It’s a *limit* definitely, but it also frees one from the responsibility of having to say more, you know? That can be quite nice, to be able to type a short response without having to feel like it’s inadequate.
I shall wait patiently for the day you eventually cave. :D
badzphoto saysApril 24, 2009 at 12:50 pm
Very informative post as always. Thank you :)
Melinda Beasi saysApril 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm
Well, thank you! :D
Ed Sizemore saysApril 24, 2009 at 12:50 pm
Well, I confess it was gratifying to the ego to see my name mentioned in the conversation. An example of the tweet I wanted to post is, “Well, I guess it’s time to confess I’m really a 14 year-old girl”. (Of course, you and Debi would know that’s not true. Since I met you both in person. But I never let the facts ruin a good joke.)
Melinda Beasi saysApril 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm
Hahaha, facts are unimportant when humor is at stake! :D
Renate Bunten saysApril 24, 2009 at 2:20 pm
Reasons why I love Twitter, since you asked… well, you didn’t, but I’m sure it was an oversight.
#1 “New blog post”. I never used to read your blog. (Nothing personal, I don’t read anyone’s, including my husband’s. There’s just too much to keep up with.) But now I know instantly when you have a new post, and I can just click it and there I am.
#2 Character limit. I like keeping up with my friends, but I don’t always have time to read an essay about what they did today.
#3 No specific recipient. If I want to make an inconsequential comment like, “I hate trying to decide what’s for dinner!”, I can, and because it’s not to anyone in particular, no one has to respond, unless they want to. I wouldn’t send that as an email or text or IM, because the recipient would be like, “um, so?”
#4 Spontaneity. I am quite obsessive, which is one reason I could never keep up with blogs. I would always want to go back to the beginning and read every single post. Because of the spontaneous nature of Twitter, I do not feel the need to catch up if I miss a day. Much of what is said is probably not that important the next day. (Except @brentspiner. You kind of have to read all his tweets from the beginning or it doesn’t make sense.)
Melinda Beasi saysApril 24, 2009 at 6:50 pm
It was absolutely an oversight. Thank you for correcting it! :D
1. I totally understand this, and I’m thrilled that Twitter has made it easier for you to read my blog! :D
2. I don’t always have the energy to *write* one, either, and the character limit takes the pressure off.
3. Hah, yes, exactly. I started making posts on Twitter because it was the only place I felt comfortable saying random things that I would have previously posted on LJ but didn’t seem appropriate for my blog as it stands now.
4. Now I really want to check out @brentspiner! :D
Rudy saysApril 24, 2009 at 8:08 pm
I’m with Jan about having people follow me: I’ve blocked most of them. I feel a little bad now since I have new ones I haven’t blocked. Maybe I should just go ahead and block them now?
I don’t get why people follow random people (such as Jan or me) who don’t have a consistent “theme” (such as, uh, manga :) to our twittering and who don’t know us. It strikes me as mildly bizarre, perhaps a form of stalking, and also indicates that the person has too much free time.
OK now I’m blocking those other people :)
Ed Sizemore saysApril 24, 2009 at 9:04 pm
Rudy, I have a few random people following me. I figure as long as they behave themselves then what’s the harm. Of course, I’ve only been had a Twitter account for 5 hours now, so we’ll see if that changes over time.
So far so good. Thanks for giving me the needed push.
Melinda Beasi saysApril 24, 2009 at 9:59 pm
The only ones who worry me are the ones who have, say, one entry on their own account and it is a link to the great deal they got on a laptop. Heh. I’d hate to have someone looking through my followers accidentally click on a malicious link. Those are the only ones I block. The rest, as you say, are harmless. :)
Melinda Beasi saysApril 24, 2009 at 9:56 pm
I think most of those people are clumsily adding anyone they find in hopes of attracting more followers for themselves. I get followed by people who are trying to sell their marketing advice or whatever. Sometimes they are clearly spammers. Then obviously I have people following for the manga. :)
Grace saysApril 24, 2009 at 8:20 pm
Oh, interesting. I think maybe the reason you like it is the reason I’m not that thrilled with it. Neither my journal nor those of most people I read are “on topic” journals. They’re about whatever the person wants to post about. So twitter doesn’t add anything extra. It just feels redundant.
Melinda Beasi saysApril 24, 2009 at 10:00 pm
It makes complete sense to me how this wouldn’t be useful for you. I doubt I would have had much use for it a year or so ago either.
firstname.lastname@example.org saysApril 26, 2009 at 7:36 pm
All the comments are helpful. Thanks.