Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Follow Me

It's no secret that I love Facebook. I enjoy reconnecting with old friends, getting to know new ones even better, keeping up-to-date-with people I know (even if we're not actually "in touch"), sharing interesting items and news stories, and most fun of all, coming up with amusing status updates — even if many of them are just song lyrics. Facebook has become nothing short of an addiction for me; it's a routine, a site I check often throughout the day, and one I genuinely love visiting and spending time on. Facebook's a community site, and while it's not perfect, I tend to find value in being a part of it every day. And, it's a site I feel I've become "good" at using.

On the other hand, I've never quite understood Twitter. How can you really say anything of value in 140 characters? Do I really need to see the random Tweets of random celeb folks and other people? Why would I want to "follow" someone if all they did was link to other sites? What is with the people who seem to Tweet all the time? And isn't Twitter really just a marketing site now — a place for companies and celebs to promote themselves? Sounds like a waste of time to me. You can have your Twitter, thanks. I'll stick with Facebook.

But last week, when I was at the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Mixer, everyone, it seemed, was on Twitter. It was topic number one in a few of the sessions. One of my coworkers was meeting all kinds of people he had Tweeted with in the weeks leading up to the event, and adding new Tweeters to his Follow list. And I was actually enjoying following the Twitter stream of the folks in attendance, and Tweeting on my company's corporate handle.

Not surprisingly, then, over the weekend, I finally decided to sign up for my own Twitter account in an attempt to understand just what all the hoo-hah was about — and, you know, because of my need to be in "the cool crowd" and all. My first Tweet? "As VP candidate James Stockdale once said, 'Who am I? Why am I here?' Thus begins the search for intelligent life on Twitter." Cute, perhaps. Maybe even a little cliched. But you'll surely agree that it's nothing terribly exciting. In truth, it's about as deep as my first blog post was four years ago. Then again, I think it's appropriate for the medium.

So I've been Tweeting, and a few days into my Twitter Adventure, I'm still of mixed opinion on the site. On the one hand, I enjoy the challenge of condensing my thoughts to 140 characters or less each time I post something, and I like Tweeting random non sequiter statements. I like that I don't have to write every "status" as a third-party statement about myself, like I do on Facebook. I like some of the back-and-forth "dialogue." John Mayer lives up to his billing as an engaging Twitterer, as does Jimmy Fallon. (Mindy Kaling, from The Office, is good too.) I think it's cool that the official handle for the TV show Modern Family is following me. And I like being part of an international conversation.

But I still think much that passes as "content" on the site is just text messaging on a public scale. Not having too many followers yet, it's hard to really feel "engaged" on the site. I prefer how you can comment right below people's posts on Facebook, and not how replies get lost in the endless stream of Tweets. And the celebs I'm following? Do I really need to know that a certain young starlet (who shall remain nameless) just got a new cell phone? No, and that was one of the more interesting things she's Tweeted recently. (They can't all be John Mayer, I guess.) This particular Tweeter is, like, all about the site and she post all the time. Seriously, girlfriend needs to step away from the computer a bit more often. (Though full disclosure: I am going to keep following her.) I think my lowest point so far was when I actually considered Tweeting a message to another beloved of mine on Monday night to tell her I didn't enjoy the latest episode of her TV show. (Thankfully, I didn't do it.) Oh, and I still refuse to follow Ashton Kutcher, so I guess that's a good thing.

I guess the question is, do I really need to be a king of all media? No. So for now, I'll reserve judgement on Twitter and I'll keep devoting more of my attention to my Facebook account — and this blog, of course.

That said, I'm not giving up on Twitter just yet. I'd like to try and make my Twitter feed something as fun as my Facebook page is, and not become a statistic. So, if you'd like to help me grow into my Twitter handle (and I hope you will, despite the absolutely glowing endorsement here), go ahead and follow me: I'm @martinlieberman. I'll try and make it worth your while.

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