Monthly Archives: September 2009

Twitter: Value or Vanity?

twitter bird iconWhy do I Twitter?

This is the question each Twitter user will eventually ask when they come to the crossroads of either adopting or dropping Twitter as a way of life. We all know the following: The ‘new toy’ syndrome is short lived if the function does not bring value or satisfaction. Early adopters will try just about anything if they can see value and potential, while at the same time popular culture will try just about everything because everyone else is doing it. Both will drop a new ‘trend’ just ask quickly as they adopt it if there is no lasting value.

I think I fit into the former category. However, because I am not a ‘techie’ I study new trends before I adopt a new habit, so perhaps I fit into a middle category. Regardless, I took my time to step into the world of Twitter.

The thought of another social networking site filled with boring narratives about mundane activity did not stimulate or inspire me. Who cares what we are doing from moment to moment? For me, these endless vacant narratives are the epitomy of narcissism and an endless pit of wasted time.

I didn’t need time wasters. I needed value before I would become a ‘user’. I also wanted to make sure I would be providing value to others. I wanted to make sure I would actually have something to say if people followed me and that I was not just taking up cyberspace or just another notch on a member’s Twitter tree.

Initially, when I entered the Twitter world, I was seduced by the ‘recommended’ list of people to follow, but this list proved to be boring and unrelated to who I am-regardless of the lure of  ‘celebrity Twitter potential’. Celebrity does not impress me unless there is philanthropic or inspirational value to the twitters of the celebrity, little of which was occurring in the celebrity twitters I explored.

After a seemingly futile first attempt at finding value in Twitter, I realized I could discover on a daily basis what the people I was interested in were doing, thinking, acting on, and recommending.

The doors of Twitter opened. Following the thoughts of the creative minds and innovative leaders of our time was the song that spoke to me. Now I am an official Twitter user. Perhaps what is evolving for middle of the road users like myself is a new level of social networking that moves from narcissism and the mundane to an ability to reach others of like mind with a more efficient model. This is what I have found social networking to offer. I admit that I am a late bloomer like many of my same-age peers because now, I find myself excited about the potential of this phenomenon called social networking. The evolution of this discovery came in waves and has gone something like this:

My politically active spirit wanted to know what our new mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson was up to every day! What is he really doing to improve our city’s image, economy, and quality of life? What is Gavin Newsom really up to in his race to Governor? Is his platform consistent with his SF mayorship? What is Jerry Brown doing with his time as California’s Attorney General? Is he focused on the governorship, or is he doing his job? What is the real future of the GOP up to, meaning Meghan McCain? Even though I am a Democrat, I believe Meghan McCain is the only current hope for the Republican party to gain the moderate Republican and youth vote. She exhibits common sense and hasn’t jumped on the irrational and hateful bandwagon that has recently hijacked the GOP.

Twitter gives me answers to these political questions on a daily basis.

And for a creative spirit that loves to be inspired, I follow ‘Etsy’ and other fun sites that update me on the latest creative inventions in DIY ideas.

Social networking entrepreneurs inform me on current trends and beneficial tech. functions that have the potential to enhance my business. Yes, Twitter has become a marketplace in many respects. The difference is that we choose who we market to and who markets to us. There is mutual agreement.

The eternal hunger to have an input system of media checks and balances sent me in search of ‘my’ reliable media sources on Twitter like DemocracyNow.org, Tavis Smiley, Treehugger (recognized by a Webby nomination in 2009), and whitehouse.gov (for the entire uncut, unfiltered version of our President’s speeches). Through Twitter I receive regular updates about newsworthy events that may never make it to mainstream television or popular internet media! The sites I have chosen to follow save me time; their ‘tweets’ dial in what I really want to know about: the behind the scenes events and activities of our time.

Then, there are those who are living a like-minded reality to mine. Many environmentally and socially conscious people and organizations have worthy businesses, blogs, and products that offer solutions for children, families, and global culture. By following these people on Twitter, I consider myself a helpful catalyst for their success while I continue to inform myself through their perspectives and industry progress. ( http://twitter.com/CWAE , http://twitter.com/askthedoula , http://canadian-natural-mama.blogspot.com/ ,  http://twitter.com/greenOD ,  http://twitter.com/Unnecesarean  are a few of my faves. ) Though as with everything, I found out through trial and error that there is a filtering process to following anyone if you want to prevent corporate driven information!  I learned to block people who were just interested in marketing to me or increasing their follower base. I learned to use key words and my own filtering methods to find like-minded users.

Today, Twitter has become a way for me to create my own media site in real time that is faster and richer than Facebook.  I receive the news and ideas on innovation that I want to hear, not what a corporation wants to feed me. I decide who I trust to give me information.

Twitter has given me more control over the media and information I am exposed to by my own design and I like it!

I spend less time on fruitless, mindless browsing as a result. I am more productive and more informed about what I care about, but I had to figure out how to actually make Twitter reflect my values before this value showed up!

OKAY, this does sound like a Twitter Promo, doesn’t it? I guess it’s just my way of saying Hooray! What could have been a fleeting trend has actually turned out to be a useful tool. This post will probably not change the minds of any current tweeters or savvy social networkers, but perhaps it will give the sceptics a different view of Twitter possibilities. For those who continue to use Twitter as a platform for the mundane,  C’est la vie!

Good luck in finding your own social networking value. If you are curious, you can check out who I follow on Twitter (which interestingly, are very different from my Facebook friends) @ http://twitter.com/GrannyPants. Some of those I follow have very informative twitters, others are merely a connection to maintain, but most importantly, all are by choice!

Christina Ivazes

a.k.a. Granny Pants

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated and have not been paid or rewarded by any entity of Twitter in any way. I also reserve the right to use Twitter as a platform for the mundane if I so choose.

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