Twittering or Frittering?

I am continuing to work on my goal of getting fully onboard with social networking on the Web 2.0 this year. Thus far I have started this blog, joined Facebook, signed up for a Squidoo lens (I have yet to develop it), and now I am on Twitter.

Many people I know rave about Twitter. They talk about the contacts they have made, the resources they have found, and the increased awareness of their services and products on the whole as a result of using Twitter. So, I joined.

I decided to start in stealth mode to get a feel for how Twitter works. Using my name as my ID, I choose 6 people in the publishing industry to initially follow. Within hours of joining, I had four emails alerting me that four people had started to follow me. None of these four were people I choose to follow. Of these four people, I only recognized the name of one. The other three were complete strangers. How did they know I had joined Twitter? Why had they chosen to follow me? My husband suggested that these individuals probably had some sort of alert system that notified them when someone new signed up on Twitter and used words like “author” or “marketing.”

Here is what I wonder. Did they take the time to read my profile, or are they just about increasing the number of their followers? I have heard that good Twitter manners dictate that one should follow those that follow them.

After signing up with Twitter, I went online the following day to check my Twitter inbox where all the tweets from the people I am following are posted. I was only following 6 people. There were well over 30 tweets in the inbox. Thirty! All posted within the last few hours. Some of these people are tweeting every couple hours.

Talk about information overload. I already have more information coming at me in a single day than I can manage. How does one sort through all that information? I am only following a handful of people. There are people on Twitter that follow well over 1,000 people. How can one sort through over 1,000 tweet messages a day? It’s humanly impossible, unless that is all you are doing.

Then there are the posts. They range from “I’m going to the grocery store” to “I just posted an article on 8 things every author should know.” Do I really care that someone I hardly know is going to the grocery store or that they just ate at Olive Garden? Do 1,000 people need to know that I am going to the dentist?

I will continue to twitter around (or is that fritter around) on Twitter. I have yet to start tweeting. I’m still trying to understand the best way to use this micro blogging, information overloading, social networking tool.

If you are on Twitter, feel free to start following me. I will start going someplace on Twitter soon. I promise.

Advice on how best to manage Twitter is welcome.

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6 thoughts on “Twittering or Frittering?

  1. Honestly, I think it’s all a huge waste of time… not to mention how all these added things junk up the internet and make it very difficult to find real informaion.

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  2. I recently joined Twitter too and am so confused as to how to use it… doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me yet but maybe I just need to play with it a bit more to get the hang of it. However, I must say, I couldn’t care less about most of the stuff I read there… it is just random sentences with no meaning what so ever so I don’t know if it worth the time.

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  3. Robyn, it’s nice to hear someone else who thinks that many of the tweets on Twitter do not add value to your life. My goal when I begin to tweet regularly is to only compose value-added messages.

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  4. I couldn’t agree more with the comments already made. I understand that social networking is supposed to help you “get noticed”, but much of the time I feel extremely overwhelmed by the amount of information coming my way. And to compound the problem, this form of marketing is in a constant state of flux. Who’s got the time to spend all their time writing on a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Squidoo, Myspace and a half-dozen other networking sites? (Whew–I just get tired thinking about it.) Kudos to Sarah however, I think she’s doing a great job. [Only one life, will soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last.]

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  5. I’m right there with you. I use twitter more to find websites of people that I may be interested in networking with. For example, I write about the Adventures of Mr. Busypants, my 6 year old with autism. I’d like to publish a collection of quirky, funny essays that celebrates in a if-ya-don’t-laugh-you’ll-cry kind of way the busy antics of my son.

    So on Twitter, I’m “following” people who are either related to autism in some way or in the publishing field. I’m also following other writers, especially Christians.

    I’m a Christian and interested in publishing, so of course, I’m now following you on twitter. I’m also looking for an RSS feed for you so I can subscribe in Reader and read your posts regularly, i.e. really follow you and not just pretend to follow you through twitter.

    I found you through the Book Marketing Carnival, I have you as a “general resource” on twitter, and now I’ll subscribe to you as a person I’d like to network with.

    With regards to actually “following” others, I would like to try one day a week to choose 10 people I follow and check their sites and direct message them with feedback to develop a relationship there.

    As far as those “I just ate a smartie” and “oh, now, I ate another one” people who clog my twit page with their smiling faces and useless information, I stop following. I also don’t follow everyone who follows me. If I’m not interested in you niche, I just can’t make the time.

    Take care and thanks for a great post. I’ve been wanting to write a post abut twitter on my Teaching/Writing site (http://jeannieanderson.blogspot.com) and I think I just drafted some of it right here.

    🙂

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