a kettlebell training log, and
a launch pad for aberrant missives

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How I Use Twitter - Or Why (Most Of) You Shouldn't Follow Me

I am @twiddlebells. I knew a couple of my clients were on Twitter and they were cool, hip people, so I signed up too. I wanted to know who their friends were, and whether they could help me spread some @twiddlebells goodness. I also have this narcissistic belief that I am wise and witty (which my Facebook friends will validate). I wanted to impress my tweeps, but soon I ran into a huge problem:

@twiddlebells hates everyone from Obama to God and therefore constantly offends people who are into Obama or God. Therefore you shouldn't follow me if you are easily offended. Chances are, I hate you too. Just because I also hate Bush doesn't make you follower-worthy to me.

@twiddlebells' likeness is represented by the picture of a kettlebell, the same one that everybody steals from Dragon Door. This, in my opinion, is slightly more interesting than the white tweetie bird in blue, green, or orange background. (How are the colors assigned anyway?) I'm sorry if the picture misleads, but I do not tweet about my fucking workouts. Therefore you shouldn't follow me if you're looking for workout ideas, or inspiration, or encouragement. I don't record, I don't track. I train, I enjoy, I do something else.

Fitness often comes hand-in-hand with nutrition. Those of you who read my tweets know that I write about cupcakes and ice-cream everyday. Ad nauseum. Cupcakes and ice-cream are an important part of my stream of consciousness, the recording of which is Twitter's purported raison d'être. Believe me, if you pay me I can show you how to eat five desserts a day (plus two square meals) and stay a Size 0, but you shouldn't follow me if you're looking for weightloss ideas, or inspiration, or encouragement, because you will hate me. I resolved on January 1, 2009 to eat one cupcake a day for the whole year. I have been outdoing myself. Yes, you hate me.

A lot of people follow each other for "networking," professional reciprocity, or whatever you'd like to call it. I respect that, if you are actually making good use of the information you read. If 500 people are following each other and pathologically tweeting and re-tweeting each other's workouts and blog links and the same fitness articles that everybody reads and writing Bravo! and Awesome! to each other - well, I have to say, WTF! I don't write about my own training, and have very little interest in yours. (I do swings and get-ups à la Enter The Kettlebell, end of story.) I appreciate the #followfriday, but really, no thank you. You shouldn't follow me if you keep tweeting about the same topic (workouts) and want me to follow you back. I won't. If you want penpals (and I like having online friends) let's do it on Facebook. (Hello my ex-Twitter-now-Facebook friends!)

I am humbled that some very accomplished professionals are following my Twitter stream. I am sorry I don't have much to add to the discourse, as I use Twitter as a private social vehicle, not for marketing or keeping up with the industry. I hate announcing my own classes and workshops on Twitter and Facebook (which is perhaps something that I should get over, but I am very much a purist). Yes, I did say I want to spread @twiddlebells goodness, but sometimes, you just want to ride the elevator without having a pitch!

I don't care about numbers, so I am not into reciprocal following. I don't use a private account because I want to make it easier for my stalkers and people in general to find me. I prune my follower list periodically. All bots, most businesses, britney.fucked.vids, and creepy people get eliminated. If you look relatively harmless, you stay. If you seem cool and different I may follow you back. Very few people make this cut. I only follow 20 entities - 3 food purveyors, 2 other businesses, 1 cartoon guy, and 14 real people (4 of whom I have not met, but would like to).

Basically, if you're not a personal friend or client (or prospective friend or client), you should have very little interest in what I tweet about, except for the funny vids or pics that we all come across each day. "Following" requires both subject and object (as opposed to "status updates" which only need you) and tweets are what keep friends continuously apprised of each other's thoughts and exploits so a recap is not necessary when they meet again. Tweets are conversational, hence the @replies. If I appear to lopsidedly favor one or two people in my @replies, it's because these tweeps tweet more and thus evoke more responses. If I appear to write about completely random things, it's because in conversation with friends you don't need to repeatedly explain the context. If you think you know the context, don't be too sure. (If I order revenge on you, I won't announce it on Twitter!) I know when my tweeps go to bed because I am a vampire and I don't sleep. If you're up late too and your profile page is where the only action is, I may just go there and hit "refresh." Periodically I find out cool things about people that way. I also love real-time tweets from an airplane, especially at times when I have to stay up late for non-vampire reasons and need some twitteine*. (@virginamerica way cool!)

Admittedly, I am not using social media in a way that might make me more money. I don't want to act in ways that I myself find annoying. Mutual annoyance, mutual masturbation, bots following bots - not my thing, go away. I'm still learning how to navigate Web 2.0 to make it enhance my relationships, not botch them. Yeah, I still hate Obama and God, but I love and value my friends for their love and entertainment value.

*twitteine: an addictive substance, like caffeine, that makes you crave for more tweets; may induce stalking-like behavior. (And you read about it here first!)

PSA: October 17 Level 1 Kettlebell Workshop in San Francisco. I don't mind people tweeting about @twiddlebells goodness!

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