Sunday, December 21, 2008

Views on Twitter

The main reason I got on Twitter was so I could communicate with readers of WALK! Magazine and they could reach me fairly easily. I thought it would be fun to have short 140-character chats with other walkers and fitness fanatics. I could post things that happen throughout the day. It would be fun.

I've been on Twitter for a little while and I have a couple of observations:

1) Most people using Twitter are PR people. I don't have anything against PR people -- I used to be one. It just seems to be a really high percentage.

2) There are not many walkers. @bethwatkins, @BigManWalking, @LarryWalksFast, @TimSeaman and a couple of others are about all I've found. @hiwendee runs and walks, but that's OK, I still talk to her.

3) You follow people and people follow you. But not everyone you follow has to follow you and vice versa.

4) Related to number 3 -- sometimes I feel like I did in high school. All of the cool kids are having a conversation and I'm not included. It could just be that I follow people who don't follow me, so they don't even "hear" me. Regardless it feels weird.

5) Some people tweet too often! Maybe when the novelty wears off it will slow down. I've quit following some people because there are way TOO many messages from them and it makes it hard to see what other people are saying. Sometimes enough is enough!

6) You can waste a LOT of time on Twitter. It is fun! I like getting breaking news stories. It's interesting hearing that Lance Armstrong rode for 6 hours yesterday. Wendee is either cooking or stuck in traffic and Larry posts about his training or going to see AC/DC. Some of the local news anchors tweet during newscasts! It's like a private joke people not on Twitter never know about.

7) I don't know how to use Twitter effectively. I started out just posting about the magazine, but that seemed a little uninteresting. I added posts about training and races I've entered. Sometimes the posts are more personal than professional. Not quite sure how to handle that. There have also been some general complaints about people who use corporate names as opposed to personal ones. I picked @WALK_Magazine so readers could find me easily, but people who don't know that I am WALK! Magazine might be turned off by that.

In conclusion, I really like Twitter. At the same time, I think it wastes time. I don't have a lot of free time as it is, do I really need to spend a couple hours watching people chat? Still, I know it has the potential to be a great marketing and PR tool (hence all of the PR people on there), I'm not sure how it will help me yet.

In the meantime, follow me @WALK_Magazine. You'll find out all kinds of things like when the next issue will be out, what I had for breakfast and how many miles I walked. :-)OK, I just posted a notice promoting the WALK! Magazine Walking Team. Maybe I will get the hang of using it!


Anonymous said...

Cindi, good observations. I am new at it too. Actually, my wife set me up on it, and she picked my Twitter name, not me. Kind of funny, though.

Frankly, I don't have much time either to be twittering. Maybe on the weekends. Maybe more during these holidays. I am having trouble finding its benefits, for me, anyway. Although, I just found someone doing the Flying Pig in May. so, that was cool.

Keep blogging. Keep Twittering. Or Tweeting, or whatever it is.


Tammy said...

Cindi - I'm not on it much but I do have a Twitter acct. I just tried to twitter you but I'm not sure it worked. Oh well... thanks for letting me know about the other walkers on there.

@AndreaApplegate said...

As you know, I am off-again, on-again in the Twitter-verse. You are spot-on re: the time-suck that is Twitter. One Saturday afternoon, as an example, while watching the Ohio State v. Northwestern game on TV, I decided to fire up my laptop to accomplish Meaningful Task A. Before I got started, I decided to check out Twitter, just to see what was going on. Well, then I got sucked into various conversations with folks about all kinds of things, including @HiWendee, who, it turns out, is a Northwestern alum. I STILL haven't finished Meaningful Task A. (Maybe while I'm off work over the holidays...?)

Cindi said...

Funny thing -- after reading these posts I actually went back to Twitter and ended up wasting more time! Why is it so fun!

Beth Watkins said...


I think Twitter and its usage is still evolving; even the self-described experts are still adjusting. However, I do know that over time, you'll probably attract a niche audience. You're doing all the right things: engaging your followers, providing info and plugging your blog. There is not enough competitive walker presence in social media, period. We also need a Facebook group.

I agree with you that some people spend an enormous amount of time on Twitter, although some are being paid to do that for a living. And I also agree that some people get their own convos going. That's fine. The key to it, like everything else, is finding the balance that's right for you. BTW, you may wish to try one of the Twitter applications like Tweetdeck or Twhirl that allow you to better see your followers, hone in those responses, etc. That might make your Twitter experience more efficient.

Beth Watkins
competitive walker and one of those pesky PR people :-)
@bethwatkins on Twitter

Cindi said...

Thanks for the e-mail, too. Twirl alone has helped me manage my time on Twitter better. BTW: I don't think PR people are pesky, there are just a lot of them. It surprised me at first, then my daughter, a PR student, explained it to me.