A Tale of Two Twitters
I spent at least five minutes trying to decide whether I liked “tale of two twitters” or ‘tale of two twittees” better, because that’s just the sort of writer I am (terrible). But that choice to go with a cutsey title rather than something very literal and keyword-loaded like “Managing Your Twitter Feed When You Have Both Professional and Creative Networking Responsibilities” gets us right to the heart of today’s issue, and how’s that for a segue?
Twitter feeds are, increasingly, a very self-defining medium. Five years ago your biggest public-persona worry was what turned up when someone Googled you, three years ago it was that plus what the public could see on your Facebook page; now it’s those plus Twitter and all the other micro-blogging-hyper-feeding-this-that-and-the-other-thing social networks you use. Someone who wants to know more about Geoffrey Cubbage is going to take a look at my Twitter feed. It’s a given.
Most people (Congressman Wiener excepted, obviously) know this. So you get an interesting mix of approaches to Twitter. Or more specifically I get an interesting mix, because about half the people I’m following are fellow writers and artists, while the other half are a mix of politicians local and national and the journalists who cover them.
I have a theory — and it is just a theory — that you can determine how “professional” someone’s Twitter usage is based on the percentage of their characters used that are contained in links rather than written text.
By “professional” I mean used explicitly for career purposes, not necessarily to sell something directly but at least to communicate about The Job rather than The Personal Life.
Another useful measure with slightly less exacting numbers might simply be the ratio link-containing tweets to non-link-containing tweets — high link usage seems, in my experience, to point toward professional usage, directing people to your website or Facebook page, articles about you, etc.
So I’ll be tracking this for the next few weeks and I’ll let you all know what I discover. But for now, you might take a look back at your own Twitter feed and see how much of it is your own original content and how much is links to external content. Be interesting to think about why your ratio is where it is!