Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Am Therefore I Tweet

My social media experiment these past couple of months has been... interesting to say the least. Like most social newbies who finally figure out what Twitter is - I was posting about 10 times per day. Yes, I was "that guy" - who told my 4 followers all the inane details of the boring crap I was doing everyday.

I was checking Twitter incessantly - and adding people that I was "following" like it was no tomorrow. I would hit "refresh" multiple times per day - and read all the posts from all the people I subscribed to. I would tweet from my iPhone, from my browser, from a friend's computer... I sounded like a damn Minah bird - tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet!

Then I got a life.

As I cut down on the number of times per day that I would tweet and would read the posts on Twitter, I noticed something interesting things:
  1. I actually got more work done
  2. People don't really care what I had for lunch
  3. Some people "spam" Twitter like a 5 year old with 100+ tweets per day (I've stopped "following" those people)
  4. I look forward to the tweets with funny, observant or useful information
  5. Only about 20 of the 50+ people I "follow" have anything interesting to say
These observations have lead me to be a better Twitter citizen. I now post only stuff that I think other people might be interested in, or might find useful. I've pared down my "following" list to just over 50 people that I actually want to hear from (mainly geeks).

I decided that if I wanted to indulge the "eating ham sandwich" side of me - that I should either set up a separate account for "blather" - or just do like everyone else and post that stuff on my Facebook page.

Then, just as I had completed the Twitter 12 step program, my wife suggests that we try using Yammer - a Twitter rip-off that is meant just for people inside of a specific company (people can only join yammer if they have the same email extension - e.g.

Well, Hallelujah! Within the first 24 hours most of the company was on Yammer and were... well... Yammering away. This time, though, no one put what they were eating for lunch. They said what they were working on, what projects where coming online, what interesting sales prospects were saying, comments and suggestions from customers... you know, real "work" stuff.

It's still in the experimental stage, but the results are pretty cool. We have employees in 6 timezones all over the world - and it's cool to be able to get a sense of what they're working on. I'm not sure how to explain it... but it's easier than sending an email, it's less intrusive than IM, and it's fast. The best part is - if no one want to read it (or respond to it), then it's up to them.

If you don't respond to an email or IM, then you're rude and sometimes will cause more than hurt feelings. But if you don't respond to a tweet or yamm (?) - then it's no big deal. You're broadcasting you status - hoping to be helpful, or to give people an idea of what you're working on. You can also ask for feedback, have people check out a link, spread the word about a new success story. It's like a living, Internal newsletter.

Well, with all this social media (special thanks here to Brenda Christensen for keeping the social media banner flying for Servoy!) - my wife (the "other" Brenda) came to me with another suggestion for a useful, online tool that would track what people were saying about any topic. It was basically a free service that would search some sites for any keyword you entered, and show you results on what was being blogged, twittered, etc.

Now I already have a Goggle Alert set up for some key terms - and that works great. But it's limited to what the mighty Google indexes - and not the rest of the world. The site that Brenda suggested - yacktrack - will show you the results of your keyword search across several sites (including Friendfeed, Technorati, Twitter, Google blog search, etc.). It's a pretty interesting service (free for now). The results are interesting - although if you are looking at the blog results, there's no link provided to the actual blog.

I found that the source of the search Google Blog Search - was much more efficient. But, it's nice to have a single service where you can enter a term, and get an overall feel for what the talk is on a topic, then if you're interested, you can always drill down to the actual search engines and get your "hands dirty".

Whew! Now I can finally Tweet-Facebook-LinkedIn-Plurk-Yammer about this entry!


Rob Diana said...

Bob, I am working on various improvements for YackTrack. As you said, in some cases it does not return the link to the blog. However, if there are features that bother you (like that one) or features you would like to see just let me know. You can use twitter and send something to me @robdiana or @yacktrack directly. I am always looking for suggestions.

Bob Cusick said...

Hey Rob,

THANKS very much for your kind comment! I think you have a great little service going. My wife just discovered it (from the article in Inc. Magazine).

Would be very cool to increase the number of services. There are lots of folks who are trying to aggregate all the comments of social media - but I like your simple approach.

Thanks for making such a cool tool - and for keeping it free (for now). :)

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