I spent part of the evening on Saturday trying to explain Twitter to a non-Twitter user at dinner. It’s like trying to explain different colours.

It’s useful, though, once in a while to try to explain something that you do regularly to someone who has no knowledge, as it really helps to make you understand how you do things.

What I learned from my conversation about Jonty:

  • Serendipity is an important “feature” of Twitter for me; I don’t try to read everything posted by everyone I follow, as it’s a recipe for madness. I check periodically to see what’s happening, contribute myself every so often, and don’t worry when I’m not looking.
  • That compares with my use of email these days where I also don’t try to read everything I receive (again, madness that way lies). However, there are undoubtedly people for whom I do keep an eye out (bosses, for example) and do read.
  • Twitter also forms a useful source of news for me accessed via Flipboard.
  • I find out most of my news these days first hand via social media – although the news of Thatcher’s death was the exception, but only because I happened to see it on a TV running Sky News in our London office reception area.
  • I do business by Twitter; it’s a really interesting medium for making connections because it doesn’t rely on mutual knowledge from the “real” world in the way that Facebook and LinkedIn do (in at least the way I use them). Only this morning I picked up a speaking engagement via Twitter (morning Matt in Bournemouth, by the way).
  • Twitter has different “modes” in the way I use it; notably, providing back channel for conversation at events (and extending events in real time outside of the conference hall).
  • I also use it as a publicising channel to notify folk about blog posts and so on.
  • And as a messaging platform 1-2-1, a personalised Tweet or DM will get greater attention from me than an email.
  • It took me a good year to really get my head around how to use Twitter.

What Jonty learned from the conversation about Twitter with me:

  • He’s still not going to use it.


8 thoughts on “The basics

    1. One of the things that despite our increasing cultural focus on problems and solutions, much new technology only gets shaped in terms of how people use it, and how they find it works for them. Cars, telephones, PCs, Social networks…

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