I’ve been on Twitter since August 2008. (Wow. Where has the time gone?) I joined after being convinced by my husband (fiancé at the time) that it was new and different and would allow me to meet and have conversations with people all over the world. He showed me examples of new friends he had made in places such as Hawaii, England, Florida and more. They’d developed a relationship and were constantly commenting on each others tweets and getting “involved” in each others lives, even though they lived so far apart and had never met. I thought this sounded fantastic and would allow me to expand my networking list further than Lansing.
So I joined, started off with a few of his followers, and soon developed my own list of new friends in far off places. I was excited to share with them, and learn from them, and find out what was going on in their communities – be it breaking news, awesome events or just everyday life. We chatted, exchanged links, shared our lives and felt like we knew each other, even if we didn’t. It was conversation at its finest, and I really enjoyed it.
But then something happened.
Oprah joined Twitter. And Ashton. And Alicia Keys and Britney Spears and every politician, news anchor, sports star, company and organization.
And suddenly, if you weren’t on Twitter, you weren’t cool.
My list of followers/following exploded overnight. I went from a couple hundred to 1,000. (Now, I realize that’s chump change compared to those who are in the thousands, but for a small-town girl in Michigan, a thousand is quite a big deal to me.) I had to set up multiple lists in Tweetdeck in order to keep my sanity, stay organized, and try not to miss important tweets.
I was connecting with many more people, both in and around Lansing and all over the United States; I was seeing pictures and links and stories from places I’d never heard of; I was being bombarded with “I’m a social media guru, learn XYZ in one workshop”, “6 steps to XYZ , Free food for answering XYZ trivia”……but where were the conversations?
What I’ve discovered is everyone uses Twitter for a different purpose, which makes it complicated when I’m trying to organize my followers and figure out what they use Twitter for: networking, advertising, telling me what they ate last night, selling me their product or just having fun. Many of them don’t even actually “talk” to you, they just send canned tweets.
However, what they’re not using it for are conversations. The only people I feel I truly have conversations with anymore are the same core group of people in Lansing and a few friends I have met at conferences. Gone are the real conversations and interactions with fellow Twitterers from around the world.
Why is this? Are we too busy? Do we have too many followers to keep up with? Are we oversaturated with social media? Have we gotten complacent? Is Twitter evolving?
Or is it just me?
I’m just one person, trying to keep up. Trying to network. Trying to expand my horizons. Trying to build my personal brand so I can move onwards and upwards (shameless plug: did you know I’m out of a job at the end of this year? Thanks Term Limits.) I keep being told that social media is supposed to be the way to go, but I guess I’m feeling overwhelmed and wondering if others are feeling the same way. How do I connect, if the only people out there are only connecting to sell me something?
So, I’d like to have my conversations back please. If you know where I can find them, please let me know. I’ll be here, as @MiniJ, waiting.