On Twitter and real life: some love and some tips #socialsong

It’s that time of the year. Some of us are taking a deserved break, others continue working because they have to or don’t celebrate Christmas and some do something else. I’m working on a few trainings regarding the use of some digital and social channels.

Even if my message is to be channel-agnostic and think integrated with the “customer” in the centre, people need to learn how to use the channels as well. So, there is some training to be done on phenomena such as Twitter, LinkedIn and community marketing. This post is about one such ‘channel’, microbloging king Twitter, but most of all about people and one in particular, Chuck Kent.

My personal Twitter rules

When working on the Twitter training, I started looking back at my own Twitter behavior and realized I didn’t like it. I had forgotten why I even started using it and had ignored many of the rules I once decided to follow. My rules, not everyone’s rules. Some examples? OK, here you go:

  • Use lists so you can follow the tweets of people you deem interesting for one reason or the other.
  • Update those lists and add people you follow to one so you know why you started following them in the first place. Because guess what: you forget.
  • Be human and say thank you now and then. Not as a strategy but because you care. Sure, I’m not stupid: Twitter is not the place where you will normally chat with your kids, partner, best friends or dog but, hey, there’s nothing wrong with being you, right?

Over the years I started breaking my own rules. I follow over 4,500 people now. That’s a lot. So I started making lists again and started unfollowing here and there. I don’t want to be too hasty and drastic about it. People deserve some time.

How Twitter works today: it’s different for everyone

However, I fully understand Amber Naslund who had to write about her unfollow “operation” and she hit the nail with the post she wrote about it. Respect. You can read ‘How Twitter Works Today…And How I’m Using It Now’ by Amber here. Chris Brogan did the same thing once and I get that. People sometimes get fed up with the whole Twitter game some play, you know.

I won’t do such a thing, simply because I’m not Amber or Chris. And Twitters works differently for everyone. Normally people send tweets, right? And the last time I checked people were different. I fully get the ‘why’ of Amber’s post and agree with most of it but I tend to think, well, a bit different.

No worries though: I’m not the kind of person that checks who unfollows him or, worse, tweet about it. I mean: get a life, right?

Follow Friday and the illusion of being too busy

Another mistake – again, according to my own rules – I started to make is send these mass #FF tweets. You know, the hasty “#FF @johndoe @susandoe @xyzdoe @whatnot @whatever” messages. I prefer to do a few #FF or Follow Friday tweets to one person at a time and saying why. By the way: #FF was not launched by Twitter but by users. Chris Brogan was one of the people helping ‘spread the word’ as you can read here.

But you know how it goes: we are always in a hurry. We create states of urgency. Busy is the new buzzword. Even at home sometimes; look around you. “Dad, can I talk with you about xyz…”? “Not now son, daddy is busy”.

You’re never too busy to listen to someone for a few minutes. You think you are but you’re not. Real-time, always online and always working everywhere is not a must, it’s a choice.

Back to #FF. No one is forced to send Follow Friday tweets. Heck, most people I know don’t do it and that’s cool. But if you do it now and then as a token of appreciation or gratitude, make it personal. Again: busy is a self-chosen state of mind. I like to send a Follow Friday tweet now and then. And I have a list of people I like to talk with, be it on Twitter or any other social network or in real life.

I call it my Chat & Watch list. you can check it out here. If you’re not on it and think you should be: I’m working on it and it doesn’t mean I don’t like you or anything like that. Go and read Amber’s post.

Socially (dis)connected?

Although I use probably all the social networks you do, I use most of them for work. The social network that suits me best? Anything that has to do with photography and creativity and a small local social network on which I can put some silly poems and connect with people I know in real-life. I don’t like Facebook to be honest. I plan to do more on G+ for business reasons. And the only social network I really use for both business and private reasons is Twitter, out of all the ‘bigger’ platforms.

Here is a confession: my work as a consultant can get pretty lonely at times. You have customers and people you work with but most of the time you’re sitting there alone. Isn’t that ironic? My work involves using social media a lot and my life is not that social at all.

Real-time does not equal real life, trust me.

Do you know Chuck Kent? Here is why you should.

Chuck Kent

Chuck Kent

A few weeks ago I wrote a very personal post and one of the people who commented on it was Chuck Kent. Earlier this week, Chuck sent me – and others – a tweet about #SocialSong Saturday. Never heard about that before. So today I checked it out. You know what Chuck does? He sings a song about the people he wants to mention instead of just sending a #FF tweet. It’s funny. It’s creative. It’s beautiful. It’s real. And it’s so darn personal. If you think it’s silly, I for one am glad to be mentioned in his third weekly #SocialSong. It makes me smile and feel grateful. And I’m not even in the Christmas mood.

What Chuck does means more to me than being in any list of marketers whatsoever. It beats LinkedIn’s silly Skills. It beats #FF. It beats being one of the Top 50 whatever. Because it’s real and it can’t get more personal. Here’s a guy that takes some time to think differently and do something all of us are often too…busy for. I should also add that I can’t sing or play the guitar though (that was a joke).

So, go and watch all Chuck’s three editions of #SocialSong on Chuck’s copyclatch blog and watch his second one below, mentioning some folks I follow too such as Joe Pulizzi, Heidi Cohen and Pam Moore. By the way: it’s not a coincidence I don’t put up the one in which I’m mentioned. Because that’s what it’s still about: the others. Now and then.

Thanks Chuck. Merry Christmas. And this is a love blog instead of a Twitter love song to you ;)

PS: sure you can get cynical about this. So could I. Cynical is my middle name. But not in this case.