Twitter Downshifting

Three weeks ago I deleted my first twitter account @edragonu. At that time I had more than 1000 followers and I followed around 800 people. After a few days of silence, I decided to restart my twitter experience, on another account, @dragosroua, which happens to be me real name. I restored the first account but let my followers know that I’m on a new account and invited them to follow me there. During that silence period I learned a lot about how Twitter works and about myself. Here’s what happened.

Real Followers On Twitter

After I announced that I switched accounts, I experienced a flood of new followers on the new account. Those were the real followers, the ones who were listening and had a real interest in follow me. In 2-3 days I went from 0 to 100 followers. And then it slowly started to stop. I have around 1-2 new followers per day right now.

As you can see, the “core” of the followers was less than 10% of my actual numbers. Out of 1000 listed followers, only 100 were actually listening to my tweets and were interested in following me. It’s a little bit sad. And also unexpected. I was convinced that my followers are interested in what I write. At least, I was interested in what people I followed wrote.

Fewer Followers, Better Experience

The feeling I had in the first few days of having only meaningful followers were terrific. And I still experience the same feelings now. I feel relieved, authentic, useful and true. No more dumb numbers chasing, no more empty performance metrics, just authentic interaction.

I used to spend around 2-3 hours each day only in reading my timeline. I had to find ways to filter the content and cut down the noise. Somehow I took for granted that “noise” is something that Twitter has by default and I have to get over it. After I started the new account it was like the noise never existed.

Twitter doesn’t have any associated noise, it’s you who create the noise, by succumbing to the numbers game.

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The Gratitude Experiment

The experiment is out and running, check out the new page listing the last 20 tweets tagged #gratitude on twitter.

It’s funny how a certain path we chose leads us to realms we never knew to exist. Or puts us on roads far more adventurous or enriching than we thought. In today’s post I’ll share one of those twisted yet so rewarding situations in which a certain path lead me to another, much deeper one.

The iPhone Situation

I can say in all truth that I’m using an iPhone even since before it was launched. One of the most read posts on my blog is about iPhone and GTD – total black belt productivity, a post featured on the official forums of David Allen company. That post was written weeks before the launch of the iPhone. What can I say: it’s a useful device which combines my needs for communication in one little tool.

But I use my iPhone for much more than communication. In a post about Law Of Attraction and Action I gently let you know that I exercised with the Law Of Attraction by using my iPhone. It was a very simple exercise: I set up reminders in the calendars with my goals and took time to read them and interiorize them. I kept this habit for several months and of course, it worked. I also used my iPhone for getting in touch with my Personal Mission Statement, another interesting exercise which I am still using.

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Twitter Landing Page

There’s no secret I used (and talked about) Twitter a lot lately. I already wrote several posts about it this month, from Twiterring Heights, up to Taxonomic Twitter. I use Twitter for much more than answering to the question “what are you doing?”. I use this social service mostly to connect with other interesting people and … Read more

Getting The Best Out Of Twitter – Introducing MrTweet

My Twitter mood is continuing these days. After a general post about twittering heights and a more technical one about hashtags in Twitter, today I’ll write a short review of one of the most useful applications you can try to enhance your Twitter experience.

The application is web-based and you can find it at mrtweet.net. MrTweet offers two simple, yet powerful features so far – the app is very young, 4 weeks at the date of this post, if I’m not wrong – and those are

  • listings of your followers that you should follow back
  • listings of the key influencers in your network

In order to measure the quality of the followers you should follow back and to define the “influencer” MrTweet uses a few ad-hoc metrics.  Based on what you already have in your network of followers, MrTweet will harvest a report, in fact, just a simple list. The report shows near each person their ratio of following / frollower, the number of tweets per day and the recipricity: how that person replies or not to non-follows. On top of that, it shows a list of the persons in your network who are already following that person, and, if you really want to know more, it also shows you the latest tweets of that person in your browser. And of course, if you like the guy, you can follow him on Twitter from within MrTweet website.

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Taxonomic Twitter

In another post about Twitter I wrote extensively about the implications of this service from a behavioral perspective. It seems that I’m quite in a “twitter mood” lately since I’m writing another post so close to the first one and I’m planning another one for the upcoming days. Right now I would like to share something more technical about this.

It’s about an attempt to make Twitter even sharper and thinner, by using some sort of taxonomy, or in plain english, a method of grouping together posts by putting “labels” on them. Twitter already has a max limit of 140 characters for each post, and chances for this to grow up are likely to be zero. At least for now. So, in order to increase the readability of the tweets, all work must be done “inside” this 140 characters limit. And the way they’re trying to this is by using some extremely scaled down mark-up language.

They’re called hashtags and they are a way of identifying zones of related content. For instance, if you’re going to tweet a lot about raw food, you can insert somewhere into the tweet something like this “#rawfood”. The “#” sign will have the role to identify the string after it as a marker. Everything with a “#” in front will actually become a label. So every time you will be tweeting about raw food, you will group your tweets into a larger category of possibly related tweets. If somebody else will tweet about the same things and they’ll use the same marker, your tweets will be grouped together.

Using Hashtags Implications

First of all, there will be less room for the actual information. Every hashtag will eat some space out of the 140 characters, leaving less space for the original content. Chances are that your content could be grouped in more than one category, or marker and you’ll be inclined to use more than one hashtag in your tweet. If a consistent API would be provided for working with those hashtags – and chances are that there will be some hooks sooner than we think – then a lot of applications would be using that. Turning Twitter into a searchable catalog is just around the corner. There is a great potential for advertisers and even for people who are trying to promote their blogs or products. It would be the easiest way to direct your tweet to the intended category of readers.

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Twittering Heights

It’s not a secret that Twitter, the 140 characters blogging service has become mainstream. For those of you living on planet Mars, who haven’t yet heard about it, Twitter is a place where you can communicate in a very short way -  140 characters maximum – the answer to a very simple question: “What are you doing?”. Other people may follow you, meaning they will actually see what are you doing / writing. And you can follow other people too, meaning that you can see what they are doing. Simplicity at its best.

But out of simplicity the best things in our life came. And out of simplicity you can create some of the most interesting and challenging things in your life. In today’s post I’ll try to share my opinions on using Twitter in the last few months. I’m approaching my 1000th update on Twitter and that will be one important milestone in my Twitterer career. Joking, of course.

All About Me Versus Sharing Others

Being on Twitter and being engaged in social interactions on this media is a surprisingly interesting activity. Most of the time you’ll be inclined to respond to that fundamental question: “What are you doing?” and unveil your life and day to day activities in short, yet compelling pieces of informations.

But after a while and after reading other people’s timelines you’ll find the need to share some pieces of other people’s life. You’ll start to re-tweet (quote) other people ideas, links, quotes or findings. You’ll start to be a broadcaster for others. In fact, you’ll soon find that one of the key metrics in being a successful twitterer is the “me versus other” ratio. And by “successful twitterer” I don’t mean a popular one, but a person who extracts the best value out of this.

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Micro-blogging, tumbling and blogging

I’m sure many of you have read the post about Journaling versus Blogging, it was featured on a number of websites, including the German productivity blog imgriff. Somehow related to that post, I have to confess that recently I came across a number of similar patterns I tend to develop when it comes to blogging, and those patterns are grouping into new and interesting activities. In fact, there is much more than blogging, as the title of this post already told you. It seems that blogging as a process reached a certain level of maturity, which will naturally be followed by some sort of splitting into much more specialized activities.

Blogging in (r)evolution

Several years ago having a blog was a monolithic activity. Blogging in itself seemed like a one time / one player activity. You pick a topic, establish a posting routine, start writing and there you are, the next big thing of the blogosphere.

In the last two years this has dramatically changed. With the proliferation of social networking tools and with some very simple yet innovative services like twitter, tumblr or, in a different league, friend feed, the situation is completely different than 2 years ago. Blog networks written by armies of bloggers, solitary twitter heroes and companion tumblrs for every successful mainstream blog, all of these are just common sense nowadays.

What made this possible? And what seems to be the underlying reason for this?

Well, first of all, the expressivity of blogging in itself has reached the ceiling. There is some deep need for something different. The audience has been exposed enough time to this type of creativity. We all know now what a post is, what can you do in a comment, and how pingbacking works… It seems that the message is forced to change the medium here, trying to subtly evolve into new patterns and structures.

Second, it seems that blogging in itself has reached a certain level of formalism which made simpler for services like tumblr to streamline the blog to a thinner experience. You don’t need a truck to go from point A to point B, or, in terms of blogging, you don’t need a full blown blog to express yourself. All you need is the ability to post a picture, a quote, a sentence, or a link. You might think that this simplistic approach will not make history, but the web is just telling the other way around.

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