My Twitterverse

My Twitterverse, the Creation:  I began tweeting in 2009 I believe.  My first tentative tweet was something like “Hello world.”  Then my twitter account was dormant for a couple of months.  I think I wanted to be sure I presented myself as I wanted to be perceived.  Finally, I realized I just wanted to present the person I am and find some like minded twppl and to follow twppl who were writing and doing interesting things.  Now I am totally out there … Rotarian, atheist (or antitheist as Hitch would say), Democrat, grandmother, lawyer, wife … not in any particular order.

My Twamily:  Each twitter community is self selecting.  Ican choose to follow or not follow based on any criteria I establish and I can change my mind.  Early on I started using certain tweeters to help me learn my  twitiquette.  @sandinbrick was one of my unwitting twutors and now, I believe, we consider each other as friends.  I have lost twppl who passed away, lived through illness and adversity with others and just had a lot of laughs with still others.  Here are some of my “rules” for selection —

I will follow commercial tweeters if they don’t sell, sell, sell in all of their tweets.  Love it when they throw in a joke, good quote, or something historical.  Also I don’t respond to DMs (tweeters know what this is) trying to sell me something.  To me DMs are personal.  I follow some commercial tweeters because in this post 2008 world many ppl are trying to make a living or supplement an income through social media.

I also will follow twppl who post often in a foreign language as long as they have posted some tweets in English so I get a sense of who they are.  I’ve bought a Spanish dictionary and am about to buy a French dictionary so I can do my own rough translations when time permits.

I will follow some twppl on the opposite end of the political/philosophical spectrum just to learn their views, logic, basis for belief and so on.  Occasionally, I’ll make the mistake of trying to carry on civil discourse with a Tea Partier, a libertarian or a religious zealot only to get ganged up on and insulted.  So much for the art of civil discourse and the exchange of ideas.  Don’t make the mistake of believing they can converse intelligently or politely.  In the end you can block them so they don’t send any dark tweets your way.

Sex Bots and extreme profanity have not place in my twitterverse.  From time to time I cull who I follow because they eventually work their way in by changing identity and showing their true colors.  Other tweeters may want a community of these twolk but there is enough profanity in this jostling world for me.

My Twitter Benefits:  If friendship isn’t enough there are other benefits.  Education, breaking news, blog access, links to more articles, youtubes and other sources than there is time to enjoy fully.  And yes, there are times the twitterverse is a brief respite from all the work on my desk.  I take a short break and dip into the twitterverse to refresh me so I can go back to work.  I also sometimes have the opportunity to inform others.  This is especially true in the political junkie world.  You can find tons of information by following @vademocrats if you want to be informed on Virginia political events or @VAhistorical if you are interested in Virginia history and then there is @VAStateParks for outdoor activities.

Some caution must be addressed here.  When a tweet is limited to 140 characters it is inevitable that misunderstandings can occur.  Recently when I followed back a great tweeter, I told her that I had FB.  She took that to mean that I was inviting her to join me on Facebook (I’ll deal with Facebook another time.)

It is also a very good idea to view a conversation before you join-in.  Without doing that you may have tweeted a totally irrelevant, ridiculous or just inane comment on something you didn’t understand.  It’s like that in real time face-to-face communications also, isin’t it?

Finally, despite the lack of complete or comprehensive exchanges, tweets are like poetry at times in their precise communication.  When that happens the tweeter is rewarded with a fav or RT.  Don’t know RT?  Join Twitter and find out.

Follow me on #twitter @CarolDWoodward.  I #followback.





“O Brave New World”

I’ve had two brief brushes with virtual fame in the last 40 days.  Joe Scarborough (Morning Joe) retweeted one of my tweets to his 100,000+ followers on June 1.  On July 3 I tweeted a question into Book TV’s In Depth interview with Linda Hogan.  My name was used and Linda carefully answered my question.  In both cases I felt so validated, like somebody special.

Social media networks are becoming an increasingly part of our communication overlay.  Even Prince George County Government has a twitter account @PrinceGeorgeVA.  Authors sell their books on social media.  Politicos, or at least their staffs, are becoming social media savvy.  Even Joe Biden became a tweeter yesterday …well his office staff did.

When I started tweeting, linkingin and facebooking a couple of years ago, I had thought that I would communicate about different matters on different platforms.  I could be a stalwart liberal democrat on Twitter, a serious professional woman on Linkedin and a fun-loving Rotarian on Facebook.  It didn’t totally work out that way.

Many of the people and groups that followed me, connected with me or friended me did so on all those platforms.  I couldn’t be different people of different networks.  When I realized that, I connected by Twitter account to my Linkedin account.  That went on for a while and then I realized that the “character”  of 140 character tweet wasn’t really compatible with the more loquacious discussions on Linkedin.  I then uncoupled the two after having had to put out a tweet seeking help on how to do it.

Though we can keep our communities small on all three of the platforms, limiting access to  just family, co-workers, etc., most of us are not  being that selective, preferring to enter into discourse with those in  the greater world community.

Even if you keep your virtual community small and controlled, be aware that there really is no anonymity and virtually so secrets.  Employers search social media to scope out job applicants.  If you have a virtual presence that the potential employer finds inconsistent with its brand,  you may not be hired.  If the potential employer finds you have no virtual presence, that also may bd applied negatively to your prospects with that company.

Soon we will have Google+ beckoning to us and we may be able to Skype on Facebook in the near future.  Our exposure will only increase.

Advice …

-don’t expect to be anonymous

-respect the privacy of those in your personal life

-remember Shakespeare’s line,  “To thine own self be true.”  Be who you are, but remember that is how the “world” will know you.

What has been your experience on Social media?