Tuesday, 9 June 2009


I'm writing this instead of sewing, and I really do have an order to put together. Probably a good reason to be transitioning to a writing based business!

I'm fairly new to Twitter, so I'm definitely not writing this as a guru or to tell people how to use it to make lots of money. In fact in one way it could be considered a bit of an experiment - to see how many new followers pop up once I tweet it and what sort they are, and to compare it to my stat counter to see how many actually come and read this post.

For those who don't know about Twitter, it's a form of 'micro-blogging' that is only allowed to be 140 characters, designed to be done from a mobile phone. I noticed it with a lovely lady called WAHMBizbuilder, the first person I started following (by the way, I'm WaggleWee). I use something called 'Tweetdeck' but I've heard good things about Seesmic too. I have it open on my laptop and it continually checks for my twitter and facebook updates, so I don't have to visit different sites. I much prefer Twitter, I find all the things about 'Sarah-Joh Flossen scored 2,414,235,213,452,245 on Bubble Hex Stratis' on Facebook annoying. Anyway, you follow people to see their updates, and people follow you to see yours. I find it brilliant as a WAHM - 140 characters is about what I can fit in between the kids, it's a gentle form of advertising that fits my budget, plus it's nice to feel you have someone to talk to!

There are lots of different ways to use Twitter, with some people I've known around for a while I use it to message and chat. I tweet my blogs, just to let people know that I've written something new and they have the choice to read or not. Other times it's pure advertising - most of my followers are in the same sorts of businesses and we all have young children, so they're interested in my business and I'm interested in theirs. It's not spam, because I'm choosing to receive it, but personally I find it a bit boring if all someone is churning out is advertising - it's social networking, so there should be some chat as well. RhodesTer has a good analogy that it's like a party, you can network but if you don't chat a bit people will find someone else to talk to. But there are also people who are searching the network to get as many followers as they can, then basically posting constant advertisements. There are even programmes that will find thousands of people for you to follow by some sort of keyword search, I assume in the hopes that some of them will be polite and follow you back so you can get paid when they click on your links. This is where it gets interesting.

Last night I wrote a blog on Family-ing called Money, Money, Money - Wealth and tweeted it. Today I've had all sorts of people suddenly start following me, many of them finance type people rather than Mums. Which is great, I've had a look at them and some I've chosen to follow, some I've left, a couple I've blocked. Why the different responses? Firstly, I know from stat-counter a bit about the people who are visiting my blogs, so I have at least some idea if these people have looked at it or if they've just seen the title. But what it really comes down to is their Twitter home page. Some of them are posting interesting links, tips and ideas, and I'm more than happy to have my brain nudged several times a day and hopefully give out a few nudges in return. Some of them don't seem to have much that I'm interested in, but they look like nice people so I'm happy for them to follow me. Some of them are just in a competition to get the most followers, with tweets like:

"Woohoo! 16,000 followers already. This program rocks!"


"I'm aiming to get 20,000 followers in 60 days, will you be one of

Let me think about that. No.

I actually find it quite insulting. Can you really be interested in what 16,000 people have to say? Can you even read that many tweets? (It's one every 5.4 seconds even if we all tweet just once a day.) Or do you just want to use me to make money? Oh, and the lady who joined Twitter 18 minutes before she started following me, her first tweet was thanking someone for helping her set it up (it's so difficult to choose a username and password) and has "Twitter expert" as part of her profile? What do you think? If she hasn't even bothered to read her own profile I don't think she'll read mine that carefully. (I'm guessing she actually has more than one account, which begs the question of what she does with the others.)

It's an interesting challenge for the network at large - at what point will we all drown in the guff? My hope is that if those of us who want to connect and talk to other people keep blocking them, they'll end up fenced off in their own little world. All tweeting to each other, and never realising it because they never read the rubbish coming in. Then the rest of us can ignore them and continue the party.

I have a little prediction to make, mentioned above. I'm going to tweet this post, with some label like "Twitter, followers and spam." So I predict I get a whole heap of new followers tomorrow, mostly of the "Twitter expert" variety. Some will have good links and tips, and I'll follow them because I'd like to learn how to get the most out of this new medium. Several will be blocked. I wonder how many will actually show up here and read this?

ETA - seem to have the first one already!

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