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RE:Dear Twitterphiles: Here are the three things I still don’t understand about Twitter. Please help

March 19, 2009

My response to Raina Kelley’s article on Newsweek about Twitter.  Here’s an excerpt of what she said:

I am one of the most self-absorbed people I know. If I had been aware that I could broadcast my every thought in 140-character chunks to every one of my acquaintances, dozens of times a day, I would have tried Twitter long ago. But I’ve been Twittering for about a week (OK, I only lasted a day, but I’m still reading other people’s tweets), and I’ve realized that I have nothing to offer you Tweeples except for lies.

I started to post a reply in their comments, but after submitting the comment, I was prompted to sign up for an account in order to post (bad user-experience, Newsweek!).  So here’s what I had to say:

Twitter is a phenomenon pushed by overcaffeinated marketing types because they (oh, yeah ... I’m one of them) use it as a broadcasting mechanism to spread the word.  But it’s getting oversaturated with tweets, and you have to work very hard to build a following.  If you’re using Twitter exclusively as a way to communicate with your friends, then you’re right: you don’t get it.

If you find the right group of followers, you can really learn a lot about whatever it is you all have in common.  I’m a web designer, and the other web designers I follow provide some great links to articles, etc.  If your and their articles and links are quality content, then you have access to some of their network.  That is, if I have 650 followers and two of my followers who like my article have 1000 followers (none of whom follow me — I know it’s a stretch ;) ), and they like it and retweet it for me, then suddenly my potential audience of 650 has turned into 2650.

Now I don’t write for Newsweek.  I effed up at school and bounced off the Ivy League track.  If I wrote for Newsweek, I wouldn’t get Twitter, either.  Why would I write tiny posts to a tiny audience when I can write long articles to millions — and get paid for it!

You have to understand where we’re coming from.

Twitter really isn’t social in the normal sense of the word.  It’s social in that there are many voices, but it isn’t the greatest way to keep up with your friends.  And it isn’t about you.  If you’re really self-absorbed (as you describe in your article) and would rather talk about yourself, share pictures, gossip, etc., then stick to Facebook.

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Twitter: @mccambridge

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A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE ASKED about the background photo on this site. It was taken on the beach by Fort Moultrie on the harbor side of Sullivan's Island, SC. The old, wooden sea wall has been there as long as I've lived in Charleston. The beach is a great place to watch the ships and shrimpers come in and has one of the best views of downtown Charleston.