Seriously. Here Comes Everyone: The Twin Tweets of Twitter


Day 1.  Alright.  So once I googled what a hashtag was and sat thru my first Twitter crash course with my Millennial renter, I learned there are two ways to tweet and which one you do matters.  Sort of.  # goes everywhere.  @ goes…well…originally I thought only to a person, but now I know it just goes “less than everywhere”, which is to say to my followers.  Next, no matter what I do, I cannot get rid of those unknown followers.  Honestly?  Did this creep anyone else out like it did me??  My first 2 followers were 2 girls in their early 2os with “taglines” that were so disturbing to me I wondered if I should report them somewhere.  How does this happen?

Day 2 and 3.  Hm.  Now I have followers I know.  With taglines that are not scary. Bonus.  I was able to reconnect with a couple old colleagues who continue in the sort of research I used to do.  One of these researchers is a nutritionist at VaTech and her tweets are fantastic (@davybrenda). Follow her if you’re interested in nutrition and fitness.

Days 4 – 6.  Mostly, if I am selective about who I follow, I am OK with this media.  My Home Page is much more comfortable to me than the Discover Page.  Something about Satanists demanding exemption from abortion restrictions is presently on my Discover Page, for instance.  I will be glad when this scrolls off my Discover Page.

But seriously, I like Twitter better than some of the other social media out there.  For one thing, the 140 characters is great.  A clever tweet can link a follower to the world in 140 characters.  Think about how the titles of our blogs draw us in.  Tweets are no different.  But what I found most powerful about Twitter was its “exponentiality”.  This aspect of Twitter is not enough, however, to accomplish what most workers in public health hope to accomplish.  A Tweet must be strategically “expontialized”, similar to what Shirky notes in the story about how the German army defeated France in WWII.  Tanks + Radios = Blitzkrieg.  Catchy Tweet + Informative Tweet Links = More Tweet Readers.

Certainly there are other strategies than just being appropriately snarky in a tweet to gain attention.  Here area few that worked to reel me in:

a.  a clear and distinct logo – I track that more than I do names or topics, at least at first when scrolling thru my home page

b.  pictures give a tweet a leg up, for sure – today Scott Simon tossed out the opening pitch for the Chicago Cubs…there were so many pictures of this event I no longer like the Cubs (to Amanda’s point in one of her comments)

c.   pictures that are associated with a question I want answered almost always rope me in (Rachel’s QUIZ observation). For instance, see the hamster playing a trumpet below from Slate (@Slate) to learn about how opera singers are hard to understand.  Huh?  Gotta see this story.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 11.07.55 PM


d. tweeting at certain times of the day will likely catch a certain audience (we all are creatures of habit)

I am ready to tumble with Tumblr, dictionary or not.



5 thoughts on “Seriously. Here Comes Everyone: The Twin Tweets of Twitter

  1. As we discussed, I also found the unknown followers disturbing. I know that as a nonprofit organization, your goal is to quickly collect a large number of followers and you won’t know most of them. Seemed odd, since I am just an individual.

  2. Thanks for bringing us with you through your personal adventure into Tweeting. A lot of others share your confusion of # vs @!

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