Twitter 101

Twitter 101

Like most people, I try to avoid trends, especially if they are trendy, cliche and/or everyone is rushing to use it just because its the hot new social trend.  (Sorry for all the catch phrases there but it is befitting).  The reason I do love Twitter is because I get to select what news feeds come to my smartphone, iPhone, iPad, laptop, or whatever.  For example.  I do like a lot of celebrities, but I don’t feel or find a reason to follow their posts, aka tweets.  For example, there is one female food celebrity I adore.  However, I don’t really care that she was in LA and is now stuck in the pouring rain in NYC like the rest of us.  I don’t need to see a photo she took with her cell phone or smart phone of how bad the weather is.  However, in a similar example, another celebrity chef is sharing his or her culinary journeys across the globe, giving recipes, and directly replying to fans who have common and legitimate questions.

I love my cousins from all over the globe, the older ones and the younger ones, however, I don’t really need to read their tweet about how exams suck, or how they have a headache or love Lady GaGa, or hate Medicare.  But, they are my cousins and I can’t delete them.

Outside of that, if you love food, follow your favorite people talking about food. If you love cooking, don’t follow the foodies, follow the cooks with recipes.  If you love travel but don’t want ads about time shares in a place you have visited and don’t care to return to, unfollow them.  If you don’t want these people to know who you are and don’t want to insult anyone, especially because you know they might now you by your real name, simply create an alias or separate account.  While I am JRCX on nearly everything, I do often ‘hide’ online with an alias or private account so no one knows who I am and I can simply follow, unfollow and comment anonymously.  No, not to be devious, but just to protect my privacy and avoid drama and nonsense of how I get my entertainment, local and global news.

Here is a suggested list of people to follow in Twitter no matter who you are, or what your interests are outside of friends and family.  If you are not interested in getting updates and news from these people, quite frankly, you need to either find another similar source or broaden your horizons.

@NYTimes – I don’t care if you don’t live in NYC, they are a leading resource of world news even if you don’t agree with their often liberal views.

@BBCWorld – What happens in other parts of the world, directly effects you.  If you don’t think so, all the more reason to follow.

@WeatherChannel – Some people are fascinated by weather, others are not, but nearly everyone feel a need to know how extreme conditions can effect their daily routine.

@CSMonitor – Despite its name, The Christian Science Monitor is one of the least biased, valuable news sources.

@OMGFacts – incorporate some fun, trivial information and humor into your life.  Not all of these trivia facts you might find helpful, but its always good to be well rounded and have knowledge of things other than your immediate interests.

Additionally, follow other organizations such as: your local utility/phone/internet/tv provider (often they have great offers, promotions and news that can effect you as a consumer); your local news or newspaper (they will give you insight to new items which will not be covered by the major city or nightly news broadcasts); local politicians (again, they might give you insight that other news sources might not, especially since it might directly effect you and your community even in the smallest town); favorite charities (see what your local church, charity and/or non-profit and/or not-for-profit is up to so you know where your money, time and effort is going); follow your employer if they have an account, it does not matter if they are Verizon, the Government and/or a local pizzeria, they could have updates that might concern you (company picnic, employee of the month, important notifications); your favorite TV shows and/or channels (they could have special scheduling, guests you want to see or reports or special episodes); follow other sources like food products and services you often use (they could be giving coupons, promotions and/or an important recall); Follow all ex-lovers and mates/wives/friends. No, its NOT stalking, especially when they make the information public to millions of people, even strangers and real stalkers.  For example, one night you are home, lonely, and bored and wished you were out on a date.  A former lover calls saying they have “been thinking about you lately” and you think its fate, but if you had just checked their recent tweets that they made public about a recent breakup, divorce, you might think twice.  Maybe not, but good information to have.  Especially if its an old friend from college who is checking in to every pub or bar known and suddenly calls you looking to borrow just $100 to pay the rent or mortgage, when in reality its just going toward a bad habit (yes, I know its terrible to think this way and I am a bad person, but all these things have happened to me, and I am 99% sure you too even if you don’t care to admit it); lastly, follow anyone you find interesting and avoid anyone you find abrasive, there have been lawsuits of public defamation regarding public social networking websites… one most recent example, it has brought wars and downfalls of the most powerful dictators in the world such as Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and several other countries are also now feeling the effects of civil discontent.  My parents came here from Sicily and I have not been back to visit relatives there in over 10 years, but I still care what goes on there, especially when its an influx of Libyan and North African people that have been displaced due to these civil wars in those noted countries.

In closing, remember its easy to get overwhelmed.  I follow about 1500 people and I can go get an espresso and return to my office 5 minutes later and find over 100 new tweets.  Remember YOU DO NOT need to read all of them.  Some will be your cousin across the country complaining about how they got an A- instead of an A+ on an exam, some might be retweets of things you already know and should be filed under #duh like Charlie Sheen got fired and is ranting, or that more snow/rain/heat is coming.  Even if you follow 100 people and think that is a lot.  Its not.  I currently follow the US Embassy in Haiti, Japan and of course the White House.  But they do not update daily, perhaps not weekly, but I know if there is something significant happening, I will be informed rather than hunt for it on search engines and/or printed news papers.

Good luck, its a jungle out there, but you have tools to help you navigate through it, hopefully this will be of help as well.



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