Twittering from the Other Side of the World

I've been using Twitter for a while now, and I like it, really. It's how I met some of my favorite people. But often I get the feeling I use it differently from other people. A lot of that is just living on the other side of the world.

I don't know how Twitter is for you, but when I get on the computer in the morning, I'm greeted with 50-100 tweets from the folks I follow. I'm too obsessive-compulsive to NOT read them all, even though most of them are conversations long dead. Occasionally I find a piece of information or a link that makes me glad I searched through them, but that, of course, only reinforces my OCD.

This is why I have to limit who I follow. I WANT to follow everyone who follows me, but I can't. And I can't take part in most conversations that occur during the American day. I realized how big this was while we were in the States. I got to chat with EVERYBODY. I finally saw what Twitter was good for. Unfortunately, it's not very good for me.

So I just have to use it my way. I'll toss out a tweet when I wake up, maybe another before I go to bed. I respond to any mentions, even if it's hours later. Really, there's little else I can do. And every once in a while I'll get someone who stays up extra late, or someone from the UK, and have a really great conversation. That, really, is why I'm still on it.

How do you use Twitter? Do you read everything, or only whatever shows up when you're on? Do you follow everyone who follows you? Do you expect others to do the same?

(I want to ask something of the folks who don't use Twitter, but all I can think of is "Why don't you use it?" (A) That sounds rude, and (B) I already know most of the possible answers. But feel free to chime in even if you don't use Twitter. I never want to be exclusive.)

19 comments:

Adam Heine said...

I forgot two things: (1) I'm always ahead by a day, and (2) we don't have the same holidays.

So I get all the Follow Friday tweets on Saturday. Or I publish a post on Monday, wake up the next morning to 0 comments, and go: "Dang, it was Labor Day."

Anonymous said...

I see what you mean, and I know I don't use Twitter the way most folks do. For me, it's a way to broadcast my writing updates to the few fellow writers who follow me and a way to keep up on their writing, as well. (I use FB for the social stuff.)

Adam Heine said...

Me too, Milo! About Facebook, that is. With its comment threads, e-mail notifications, and the fact that the more people comment on a status, the more persistent it will be in people's news feeds, FB turns out to be perfect for the way I have to work.

Sherri said...

So is your time stamp on your time or ours?

I used to Twitter, back when I tried to keep up with all social media. I tried to at least scroll through all the posts, but after a while I had to pare down, and Facebook won the battle.

Adam Heine said...

The time stamp is on my time. The day is always right (M/W/F), but the time is my evening/your morning.

I tried it the other way, but scheduling posts ahead of time became too much of a headache ;-)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I use Twitter much as you do, although occasionally I'll join in on a chat session (YAlitchat, SFchat) that's all kinds of cool because you can read the rapid fire discussion and occasionally chime in yourself. (okay I always chime in, that's just me) I like when people tweet their blog posts (I do the same) because sometimes that's the only way I'll get around to reading them - I have too many blogs I want to follow! And I can't read every tweet of everyone I follow, or I'd pretty much do nothing else. Hmm...maybe I'm not doing it right? :)

fairyhedgehog said...

I use Twitter mostly to keep up with online friends.

Facebook is more reliable but too public.

I know that sounds silly, but I have people who are "friends" on Facebook who are former colleagues, writer friends, my sons' friends, all sorts. I don't show all of them all of me. On Twitter, it's mostly writer friends anyway.

I don't follow everyone who follows me and I block people who follow me when I can't understand why they do.

Elana Johnson said...

I use twitter to waste time and keep up superficial relationships. Ha ha! How's that for the truth?

I rarely read back through the tweets I've missed. I don't have time for that. Like, at all. I'll lurk for links and go read those. I'll lurk for trends and news and keep up with those.

I always respond to people who've tweeted me, and I try to engage in conversations with people who've tweeted during the limited time that I'm on twitter.

Jen said...

I found you over at Elana's blog!

I just started using Twitter, I had an account for sometime but had no idea how to properly use it until I asked for help. Now I stalk my favorites, give shout-outs and share my writing history.

jjdebenedictis said...

I use Twitter a lot like you do, actually. In my case, it's due to the fact I restrict myself to using Twitter (and checking blogs) only once a day.

This in a desperate attempt to not waste too much time on the internet--which fails, but at least helps a little.

Adam Heine said...

@Susan: No, I think you're doing it exactly right :-)

@fairy: It doesn't sound silly. Facebook is far more public than people think. For myself, I try to present the same Adam (which is the real one, mostly) everywhere I'm online.

@Elana: It's important to tell the truth, and honestly I think you do a fantastic job with this social media thing, all the more because you have great content.

@Jen: Thanks for stopping by! Judging by these comments, I'm not sure there is a "proper" way to use Twitter. Just use it however works best for you :-)

@jj: I'm totally with you on the restriction. And the failure.

Nick said...

I missed your post on social networking, but I checked it out since you linked it. I totally agree and the opportunity cost of not simply following based on interest and the sanity that you could gain from having meaningful idea sharing and seeing the other people out there is way too high even if you don't consider the obvious stuff like being fake and looking for career boosts. I think I have double nested negatives in that run-on sentence so I hope that made sense.

Adam Heine said...

I think I got you, Nick. You're saying not only does self-serving networking not work very well, but it actually costs you in friends and sanity you could have had.

Is that something like it?

Asea said...

I don't use twitter, because I also live on the other side of the world. I'm 8-12 hours ahead of nearly all my friends, which means we have overlap only when someone should be working or sleeping. What's the point of tweeting about the crazy thing that happened to me on the metro if no one is awake to respond anyway?

I also know, from trying to write Facebook statuses, that I don't much like the tiny soundbite type of communication anyway. I might get hooked on it if I tried it... but I'm saving it for when I move back to the states.

I DO follow Google Buzz, mostly because I only have 3 friends who update it and it's already there as part of my "Google Experience" (yeah, they're taking over. But it's awfully convenient!). I don't post to it, though.

Adam Heine said...

Oh yeah, Google Buzz. I had to wriggle myself out of that one. Three social networks is more than enough for me, but also I was kind of annoyed with the way they started it.

Annie said...

I'm on the east coast, and a lot of the people I follow are on the west, so there's a lot of chatter I miss because I'm going to bed just as it's getting started. Still, I find the links/blogs/networking helpful and fun-there's just a bit of delay. Okay, a lot of delay.
:)

Adam Heine said...

Interesting, Annie, how even 3 time zones can make a big difference.

Laura Pauling said...

I use twitter for a variety of reasons. And hey, first time to your blog!

I like to find links to great posts. I like to support and keep in touch with blogging friends. I stalk agents for research. And I'll follow back if people don't have like 8,000 followers.

I'm usually not engaged in conversation all day though. Not quite there yet.

Adam Heine said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by, Laura! I think your reasons for Twitter are much the same as mine, except I don't often follow back (but I do always check follower's profiles, just in case!).