Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Botgirl Shares Her Secret Strategy for Twitter Success

I've wrestled with appropriate Twitter strategy on and off over the last couple of years. Since Mr. Crap Mariner started a ranked list of Second Life tweeps, I thought this would be a good time to rethink the topic. Of course, the initial area of inquiry quickly took on a life of its own so I ended up with more of a meditation on human happiness than a plan of action for Twitter. Maybe next time. :)
Any good strategy starts with a clear understanding of the goal we seek to achieve and its underlying purpose. In most cases, the tangible object of our desire is actually a means to a greater end such as happiness for self and others, love, respect, self-improvement, wisdom, etc. Unfortunately it is very common to go through life repeating behaviors that either don't support such underlying higher-level needs or actually undermine them. We don't do a very good job of predicting what will create happiness in our lives.

One concern I have about the trend to gamify life is that it seeks to manipulate our behavior by associating intense, but short-lived gratification with the achievement of otherwise meaningless rewards. It creates the illusory sense that we have satisfied some foundational human need within an intentionally addictive framework that keeps us checking in with Foursquare or following back people on Twitter to inflate our follower count. Although we know in our hearts that being Mayor of Starbucks or being in the top ten of Second Life tweeps isn't really a reflection of being worthy of love and respect, we keep pressing the treat lever like good little lab rats.

That said, I do believe that Twitter can be a genuine vehicle that contributes to the happiness of self and others. It allows us to share information we believe is of value to others. It can be an avenue to initiate friendships that can deepen over time and repeated interaction. It can help us keep in touch with existing friends, colleagues and distant family. It can support our professional life through "personal branding" and providing a vehicle to demonstrate expertise in our field of knowledge.

I have to admit that my own use of Twitter isn't entirely enlightened. I check Twitter Grader from time to time and have thought about how I might increase my score. But I usually come to my senses and seek the same kind of obliviousness I have to Plurk Karma.  Wish me luck!


Yordie Sands said...

I didn't discover you on Twitter, but I have begun following you because of your insightful posts like this one.

First, I believe you've hit a great balance with your Tweets. In fact yours are at the top of my list. And I don't think anyone should feel unenlightened to check stats to see if their messages are successful. (btw, thanks for the link to Grader.)

The original purpose of my blog was just a private journal of my SL experiences to share with a few friends, but it has evolve to be something I don't completely understand. Ntl, I recently moved to Twitter for exactly the reasons you've defined, but with an eye on increasing traffic to my blog.

Your post does cause me to reevaluate my reasons for both my tweets and blog. The notion of self-branding has been in some background area of my mind, but I think by developing my "brand" it opens doors for whatever the future might present.

Again, thanks for such great insights and please keep the coming unabashedly. /me smiles

Unknown said...

"Crap" should add me to that list - I have 904 followers (no bots or spammers there) and I almost only tweet about Second Life - usually with informative posts, links to useful documentation, ideas and cool videos.

Botgirl Questi said...

Yordie: Thanks! It was certainly a shock from me when my blog went from feeling like a private journal to one which had a public audience.

I just posted some of the underlying "rules" behind my use of Twitter.

oobscure: Hey! Don't hate on the bots. ;)

Unknown said...

heh - I actually LOVE bots - but I make sure I count them in a different way than humans, if I'm going to count the followers numbers.

have a look to the followers of the top users in that list...those numbers are being gamed the same way the SL traffic count was - numbers are high because there are lots of fake users.

my god, I can't write in English at all today. sorry