The Tweet smell of success

What are you doing right now? What are you thinking? What has caught your attention? We have an increasing nosiness about us; thanks to blogs and Facebook we now know more about each other, and share more than ever before. All this sharing has scarcely sated our need to know — it has merely whetted our appetite for sharing.

One of the best features in Facebook is the update, where you can post what you are thinking and doing. It gives your friends an instant snapshot into your day.

Some people make sure their update is interesting, commenting on Global Warming, or possibly on the birth of a new grandchild. Others choose to share their breakfast menu, or state the obvious ( It’s raining in Vancouver! I need to wear a hat today.)

The next stage in stream of consciousness communicating is Twitter. You have by now of course heard of Twitter, but most Zoomers are of the opinion Twitter must be for Twits, and in some ways that is hard to argue.

Twitter is a sort of a Micro-Blogger, it allows users to post their thoughts and comments, limiting them to 140 characters or less.

This forced brevity is the key to Twitter. It means Tweets are perfectly formatted to live in the mobile digital world.

Twitter posts arrive on your desktop, to your phone, or wherever you choose, and they are short and to the point; one needs to be economical if one has to communicate the meaning of life in 140 characters!

Everyone from businesses to rock bands to private individuals are joining the Twitter bandwagon, and the ways it is being used are numerous and creative. Twitter is the next step on the social-networking evolutionary-timeline. Ultimately it may change the way we build consensus.

Although it will take time for Twitter to change the world, it is a way for many of us to extend our sphere of influence, our reach. A case in point is renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong who used Twitter to help recover his lost bike. Some 2.2 million people subscribe to Lance’s Twitter feed, where he posted that his very unique racing bike was stolen. Almost instantly a Facebook group was created, and within days the bike was recovered.

Twitter was used as a publicity mechanism in the 2008 presidential campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has a feed, as does the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and of course, cyber-savvy Barak Obama is a Twittering machine.

In fact Twitter itself is becoming a vehicle for fame and fortune, so much so that Forbes has even published a list of their top 10 most influential Twitterers. Mostly full of geeks and web celebs, the list is not based on number of followers but in influence.

Guy Kawasaki is number one (former Apple marketing wizard), and you don’t find any classic celebrities till the number 9 post with eccentric British comedian and author Stephen Fry, and number 10 with former child star Wil Wheaton (Star Trek – The Next Generation). These “celebrities” actually have interesting things to say, and their observations and insight give them more depth. They are finding a new following and a new level of fame as a result.

In terms of sheer number of followers, the list is far more pop culture heavy. According to Twitterholic, Ashton Kutcher is the heavyweight of heavyweights with over 4.1 million followers, Brittany Spears comes is a close second with 3.9 million twits, er, followers.

Not to be outdone I have begun my own Twitter career (, and to be honest, I am not sure how it will go! It will be interesting to see how many people are interested in what captures my imagination, what we are working on and where I am flying this week.

So far I have some 500 rabid followers of my Twitter missives; an auspicious start to be sure, but let us see where we are in 4 or 5 months. Perhaps I can give Guy Kawasaki a run for his money.

Photo © Dean Turner

Steve DobbsSteve Dotto is Canada’s most respected geek. For over 15 years, as host and executive producer of Dotto Tech, a nationally syndicated TV show, Steve has entertained and educated millions of Canadians on all aspects of technology. Steve has a passion for understanding the social impact of technology. His DVD Cybersafe with Steve Dotto , teaches parents and caregivers about the opportunities, dangers and challenges of social networking.

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