Personally, I am not equipped to tweet a lot. For one, I am not at the computer all the time. Though I often wonder whether I could really stay wired for longer durations (and more frequently,) I don’t think that the nature of my work would allow me to do so. Thankfully, this doesn’t stop me from engaging in learning through the experiential and observational means.
Here’s the outcome of some background check that I ran on Twitter. Froth and Sloth offered to help me make this a bit more than just some boring download of information – so with my heartfelt gratitude to both of them – here’s their conversation, reproduced verbatim. I hope it will help the greenhorn tweeters find their way through the micro-blogging maze!
Sloth: Hiya Froth! What are you up to?
Froth: I am tweeting.
Sloth: Since when are you a bird?
Froth: No silly. This isn’t the avian variety of twitter. It’s the human twitter on the web!
Sloth: Woven by the spiders?
Froth: You are right…in a way! But these spiders are made of zeroes and ones.
Sloth: Now I’m losing it!
Froth: (Sounding exasperated): It figures!
Sloth: So you are tweeting…but why?
Froth: To tell people about things that I think about.
Sloth: Who’s listening?
Froth: My followers, of course!
Sloth: And how did you find your followers?
Froth: I followed them, I promoted and publicized my tweets…
Sloth: Aha…I get it! I follow others and they follow me…
Froth: Yes! Look at my profile. I’ve got 3256 followers and I follow 4328 people.
Sloth: With an average tweet-rate of 2 per day, when you follow 4328 people, you read 8656 tweets a day! Do you?
Froth: Of course not. I view about 20 whenever I check the tweets – and so about 100 in a day.
Sloth: So can we say then, that your probability of viewing a tweet is 100/8656 or about 1.2%?
Froth (Reflecting, Chewing her lower lip): I guess so. But then note this. When I tweet, assuming the probability of every one person viewing my tweet being the same 1.2%; of the 3256 people who follow me, there’s a good chance that 41 people will view my tweet. Isn’t that a good hit-rate?
Sloth: And there’s always the chance that most of the people who tweet wouldn’t have a profile as active as yours…and so their chances of viewing your tweets would be even higher.
Froth: You got it sloth! An yes, you can also use hashtags to improve the chances of people viewing your tweets and even following you.
Sloth: Whew! Another complication! Tweeting seems to be a lot of hard work.
Froth: The perception of hard work is relative, and if I know you, creating your Twitter account with wear your down!
Sloth: Don’t while away your life working…that’s what I say. But tell me, Froth. What are these hashtags?
Froth: Hashtags are like beacons, helping people search for the tweets that interest them. When a tweet has a hashtag say “#sloth”, the hashtag appears as a link in the tweet, and people can click it to view all the tweets that contain “#sloth”!
Sloth: Is “#sloth” a common hashtag?
Froth: Sloth dear! People wouldn’t want to make their relationship with you public. Would they?
Sloth: Of course not! I am one of the top three secret pleasures! About the hashtags…I think they’re cool!
Froth: And then, you’ve got the lists. You can make your lists where you classify the tweeters (that you follow or you don’t), and then you can keep these lists with you as private lists or share them with others by making them public. Who knows…there might be many engaged in creating private lists that they could later sell to the web publicity companies. But I should tell you that creating lists is hard work!
Sloth: I get the message. Tweeting definitely isn’t for me then. But thanks. I’ve recorded this conversation and will podcast it.
Froth: But I’ll publish it as a textual conversation before you release your podcast!
Sloth: That soon?
Froth: I AM DONE!
Here are some links that could add more to your understanding of hashtags and lists.
And if you are interested in following my currently occasional but progressively (hopefully) more frequent posts, click @zenoflearning.