My passion is to help others in the community, young, old, and everyone in between, find relevance and joy in learning, performing or listening to classical music.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What to do with this thing called Twitter

I've already written here about my slight addiction to Twitter and I got so many responses from people that either feel the same way or who are curious enough to want to give it all a try.  But I’ll never forget my first few days and weeks on Twitter. Well, ok, the first few months. I am the first to admit that Twitter isn’t the most intuitive form of social media, at least it wasn’t for me. I thought it might help if I write down a rough re-enactment of my very first encounter and to give folks a few directions to twitterville and what to do upon arrival.

Go to Easy enough.
Now what?
I have no earthly idea.
I see a stream of tweets, also known as a timeline, that makes absolutely no sense to me.
Uh huh.
Ah, I see a search box. I like search boxes.
I type in “classical music,” then enter.
Oh my. The timeline is now populated with tons and tons of tweets, some which seem to actually have something to do with classical music, some that don’t.
As I’m concentrating on the timeline, I see a message at the top of the timeline that says, “5 new tweets,” “8 new tweets,” “25 new tweets.”
You mean new tweets in general? Or new tweets about classical music? That can’t be.
I click on that constantly changing message and voila…25 new tweets…about classical music…pop up.
Oh my. I kind of wish it would stop popping up new numbers.

It was that moment that I remember thinking, this is amazing and really, really overwhelming. But I still didn’t know how to really make it all work.

I would say it took about 6 months for me to start to get the hang of it all. In an effort to encourage a few more folks who are intimidated by twitter to give it a go, here is how I proceeded in my adventure into twitterville.

Once I had a twitter account, the search box seemed like a nifty place to start. I think I started with searches like “piano,” “piano accompanying,” “piano collaborating,” “future of classical music”… After each search I glanced through the tweets, looking for interesting ones and when I found one, I clicked on the tweeter’s name to see their most recent tweets and to read their brief twitter bio. If they seemed interesting and relevant to me, I followed them, which meant that now, when I logged into twitter and looked at the twitter timeline, I would be spared the overwhelming mish-mash of tweets and only saw the tweets that had been most recently tweeted by the people I was interested in. It also meant that I could check out the folks that those I followed tweeted with. From there, it all started to snowball and it wasn’t long before I was following a large number of people who were very interesting and that offered me plenty of links to fascinating articles and videos to keep me busy for hours.

I think I could have continued in this way for quite some time but after a while, I found myself really wanting to enter into some dialogue, or at least to connect with some of the folks I was eavesdropping on. After chickening out several times, I finally gave it a go. I hit the reply symbol, typed in my comment, and pushed enter. That was terrifying. It really was but once it was done, my complete and utter fall into twitter mania ensued. It was all over

That’s not to say that I haven’t had my awkward moments in twitterville. Once I started actually interacting with others, putting my foot in my mouth, making comments that were completely misunderstood or that offended people, was inevitable but in time I learned that it was well worth that risk. I also began to tweet my own thoughts which sometimes elicited some sort of response from someone. And once that started happening, and people started learning who I am and what I’m all about, people started following me.

Wow. People actually care? People actually read my tweets?


Very, very cool.

I think I'll end this post here for now. Stay tuned and check back for another post on Twitter, with some of its terminology and for some tips that I've picked up along the way for making twitterland a wonderful place to be.

Until then, I hope to see you on in, where else? Twitterville!

To read another post on Twitter, check out:
Twitter is not just for the birds
Making heads or tails out of Twitter

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