The Great Twitter Debate: She Said, He Said

My co-author Andrea Howe (@andreaphowe) and I (@charleshgreen) are both on Twitter.  We have rather different ideas about it, however. We talked about our differing perspectives the other day, and decided to share our thoughts. What’s your view?

May I Have Your Attention Please

Andrea: I have a lot of mixed feelings about Twitter. In a world marked these days by a lot of distractions, Twitter is a big one—one more thing that helps shorten my attention span. This troubles me because being focused, present, paying attention—not being distracted—are the thrust of what you and I both teach and talk about.

Charlie: Well, if you’re going to tend bar, you’d better make sure your drinking problem is under control. Twitter is indeed mostly about short attention span. Then again, so are racquetball and improv comedy. Each of them is about impressions, reacting in the moment.

Twitter is where you come to scan, not to find soul mates. There is a time and a place for everything.

Andrea: You know I don’t visit bars much. I do have a soft spot for improv comedy, though. Good point.

Popularity Contest or Personal Growth?

Andrea: As much as I like to think of myself as a somewhat-enlightened grown up, I just can’t seem to avoid the negative emotional component of the Twittersphere. Twitter takes me back to junior high school popularity contests. Sometimes I feel great, like “I’m popular, wow.” Other times, it’s depressing as hell—“Why’d I lose 5 followers today? What did I do wrong?” (laughing).

Charlie: You can take the kid out of the junior high school; the important thing is to take the junior high school out of the kid. I actually see Twitter as a personal growth tool. It forces you to recognize that not every 140-second ADD burst from a stranger is an attack upon your being. It really doesn’t mean much at all.

Andrea: You know I’m a sucker for personal growth. I’m just not sure Twitter is where I want to work this stuff out.

The Downside of Early Adoption

Andrea: As long as I’m listing my complaints, let me add this one: Doing it well requires way too many steps. There’s using different client software programs, mastering Twitter etiquette, making the effort to acknowledge followers appropriately. It can take a lot of steps to create a good Tweet. So much for scanning and reacting in the moment. I’d rather let the process work itself out. Call me (Tweet me?) when the tools are better. I’m not an early adopter; I’m here purely under protest.

Charlie: On this we can agree. Twitter is still immature, and while it is changing—every month something gets easier—it’s still too cumbersome. I want more integration, more platforms, more easily available stats, and so forth.

You don’t want to be an early adopter? I don’t blame you a bit. I am an early adopter myself, but you do a pay a price for the privilege.

Authentically Pre-Scheduled

Andrea: Let’s talk about scheduling tweets. It smacks of being strategic rather than authentic; it doesn’t feel real. If this is such a conversational tool, then why pretend otherwise by pre-writing and then auto-delivering?

Charlie: I think you’re confusing “authentic” with “real-time.” Chat rooms and IRC have been around for decades. Authentic to me means real, not necessarily ‘right now.’ I have no desire to hang around for an hour watching the feed until someone looks me up and replies. I’ve got better things to do.

Also, not everybody reads when I want to write—that’s the great thing about time-shifting technologies. By spreading tweets around, I get to more people, and more people get to me.

Andrea: Hmmm. Interesting point about “authentic” versus “real-time.” I’m going to have to think about that one.

The Big Cocktail Party

Andrea: Maybe what irks me most is that the nature of Twitter tends toward  superficial interactions. While there is some substantive stuff getting exchanged out there, a lot of Twitter seems more like idle party chit chat than real connection. And I have never been a big fan of cocktail parties.

Charlie: Remember that song, “Lookin’ for Love in All the Wrong Places?” Of course Twitter is chit chat, of course it’s a big cocktail party. Why do you think they call it Twitter?

Seriously, there’s a place for shallow, and a place for deep. Twitter is shallow; blogs are deeper. Articles are deeper yet. Or books—books are real deep.

But if you want to do a surface scan on what tons of people are thinking or saying about a particular topic—hey, God bless Twitter. And compared to real cocktail parties, at least you don’t have to drink or worry about how you look.

Hello, World

Andrea: Despite all my complaints, I do tweet. And I do see one very powerful thing about Twitter: it connects people who otherwise might not be connected. It lets people share perspectives and interesting pieces of information. Link-shortening is a blessing.

Charlie: Amen to that. Twitter is the new blog comments. Twitter is the new RSS feed (though we both use Feedly and I use AllTop to source some material). It is a whole ‘nother level of content-sharing between article/blog headlines and the articles themselves—and it lets you express your own views along the way.

Twitter lets me efficiently state to the world who I am, by way of sharing what I read and my take on it. You could call that branding.

Also, contrary to all the cocktail party metaphors, I’ve met some really cool people through Twitter–and then I’ve gotten more acquainted with many of them through email, by phone, and in-person. It is a fine way to meet interesting folks relevant to one’s business.

Parlez-vous?

Andrea: One last thing. I wish I didn’t have to invest the time to learn a whole new language with Twitter: “RT,” “TY,” the myriad other abbreviations, and the effort it takes to say something sensible in 140 characters. We humans can barely communicate well in our native tongue. Isn’t our time better spent trying to master our own language?

Charlie: That’s what I keep saying to the French when I visit Paris! But I haven’t been able to convince them yet to speak English.

Andrea: Tell me you did not just try to compare Twitter to Paris.

What’s your perspective? Join the conversation. Post a comment to this blog. Tweet about it. Email us. Or—gasp—give us a call.

29 replies
  1. peter vajda
    peter vajda says:

    A great, and much-needed, conversation, Andrea and Charlie. Thanks for sharing your conversation. I look forward to what others have to say.

    So, some thoughts:

    The short attention span has been born out by research – namely, the brain is being conditioned to expecting more and more immediate stimulation. Twitter, and other needed types of stimulation, are a drug in this case. And, thus, the addiction; the distraction by and for the “drug.”

    More than that, there are some therapists who also see the twitterer’s obsessive need to fill a “hole” (sense of lack and deficiency) for “belonging,” to be needed. It’s another form of addiction, but psycho-emotional, not only physiological.

    Charlie: Well, if you’re going to tend bar, you’d better make sure your drinking problem is under control. Twitter is indeed mostly about short attention span. Then again, so are racquetball and improv comedy. Each of them is about impressions, reacting in the moment. Twitter is where you come to scan, not to find soul mates. There is a time and a place for everything

    It would be the same addiction for the person who plays racquetball (or another form of engagement) “24/7, 365.” I know “exercise bulimics” who are junkies for exercise. Non-stop every chance they get. It’s a psycho-emotional addiction, not a “healthy” love of sport or exercise, or “improv.” And, unfortunately, Twitter (and FB, etc.) is a place where many lonely and self-esteem- and self-worth-deficient hang out.

    Andrea: As much as I like to think of myself as a somewhat-enlightened grown up, I just can’t seem to avoid the negative emotional component of the Twittersphere. Twitter takes me back to junior high school popularity contests. Sometimes I feel great, like “I’m popular, wow.” Other times, it’s depressing as hell—“Why’d I lose 5 followers today? What did I do wrong?” (laughing).

    Thanks for your honesty, Andrea. I’d bet more than a few feel this way when they lose followers and rather than shrug it off as it’s part of the game, go deeper inside to ask “what’s wrong with me?”

    Charlie: You can take the kid out of the junior high school; the important thing is to take the junior high school out of the kid.

    Easier said than done Charlie. I’d say only 2% of the Twitter population is this emotionally intelligent and “conscious.” In a “reactive” state, which is where many Twitterers live (i.e. in the limbic/amygdala brain not in the neo-cortex), folks don’t self-manage and self-regulate or see the “personal-growth” opportunity.

    Andrea: You know I’m a sucker for personal growth. I’m just not sure Twitter is where I want to work this stuff out.

    Great point, Andrea. One needs to be heard, really heard, seen and treated with empathy here and Twitter’s not the container for that.

    The Big Cocktail Party
    Andrea: Maybe what irks me most is that the nature of Twitter tends toward superficial interactions. While there is some substantive stuff getting exchanged out there, a lot of Twitter seems more like idle party chit chat than real connection. And I have never been a big fan of cocktail parties.

    What’s the one common denominator of cocktail parties? Alcohol. And for many folks, the purpose of alcohol? So I can “be myself” and “be authentic.” Superficial, indeed. The last thing many of these folks are is authentic. Authenticity and “being myself” do not require alcohol or any other drug.

    Charlie- But if you want to do a surface scan on what tons of people are thinking or saying about a particular topic—hey, God bless Twitter. And compared to real cocktail parties, at least you don’t have to drink or worry about how you look.

    What is it that they are thinking or saying in many cases? Often, from what I’ve read, need-jerk reactions, positions that lack depth, emotional reactivity, and throwing around other people’s quotes.

    Andrea: Despite all my complaints, I do tweet. And I do see one very powerful thing about Twitter: it connects people who otherwise might not be connected. It lets people share perspectives and interesting pieces of information. Link-shortening is a blessing.

    For me, in many cases, I see Twitter this way: someone is standing at the front door of the Library of Congress and the same to everyone who passes by, go in, go to the right-hand side of the room, and starting there read everything that’s in this building. Or, someone is standing next to a newsstand, and to every passerby, they say, starting at the top, left go through every article in each magazine, journal, and newspaper. Or, here’s a book of quotes, start on page one and just read them all. In essence, in my experience, many Twitterers are simply brokers of information. And, to tell the truth who really has all that much time to read every reference they’ve been twittered in the last 5 min., 10 min., hour etc. For some, it’s a question of intention of the information brokering. Does it say more about my really wanting to serve others, or serve myself?

    Charlie – Also, contrary to all the cocktail party metaphors, I’ve met some really cool people through Twitter–and then I’ve gotten more acquainted with many of them through email, by phone, and in-person. It is a fine way to meet interesting folks relevant to one’s business.

    I think that’s an important point, Charlie. If one is intentional about Twitter, then, in my opinion, less is more. Choose those folks whose tweets and/or profile appear interesting and see if there is a relationship worth cultivating. Not sure how one consciously and intentionally sifts through two million followers for those relationship nuggets.

    I think the questions underneath the question about Twitter are, “Why am I really, really, really engaged in Twitter?” “What does Twitter really, really, really get me?” “How I feel when I don’t have access to Twitter for a half-hour, and hour, a day, etc.?” Am I OK with that? Or do my mind and body go into some kind of revulsion, not unlike an addict who can’t locate a next fix? And, for me, a most important question that needs to be asked honestly, sincerely and self responsibly, is “Is any part of my life – work, play, alone time, relationship and the like – suffering because of the amount of time I spend on social networking?” And, lastly, “Am I in denial about my use of Twitter?” “Am I trying to justify a behavior that is often self-limiting, self-sabotaging, and self-destructive?”

    I’ve come upon many of these thoughts as a result of my coaching work with individuals and couples whose lives have been turned upside-down as a result of their obsessive, compulsive and psycho- emotional dependence on social networking. Sadly, many of these folks have lost the sense of who they are (through the addiction) and, luckily, have been jolted either directly or indirectly into regaining the sense of their true, authentic self.

    Reply
  2. peter vajda
    peter vajda says:

    oops, two edits to my comment,above (with apologies)

    …someone is standing at the front door of the Library of Congress and SAYING to everyone who passes by…

    …standing next to a newsstand, and to every passerby, they say, starting at the top left,……

    Reply
  3. Chris Downing
    Chris Downing says:

    I have an account – but never really got into sending – or wanting to read it. (If I was famous perhaps a fan base would want to know my diary and sudden thoughts.)

    Essentially I think Twitter has two key problems for me. The senders and the readers. If we were to imagine we were all in a cocktail party or a street market – do we really want to pay attention to the guy who randomly seeks our attention with a random megaphone message? It’s just attention seeking and annoys the hell out of everyone. AND do I really want to be in communication with people who think all this is normal? Or the readers, who in turn, are about to start megaphoning everyone in the same way? I really don’t want a relationship with either the listeners of Twitter, or the senders. I tend to think it’s a dysfunctional way of communicating. Mostly it’s a dumbed down version of SPAM.

    SPAM, Twitter, unsolicited email, flyers, mailers, cold calls, call centre selling, fake ‘market research’, breakfast networking, cocktail networking, exhibition stands, all tend to divert the attention of the sender from building ‘real-reality’ relationships with potential clients. Clients who are the ‘must-haves’ for our products and services; people who really want to hear from us.

    Don’t believe me? Can you imagine trying to find a potential wife or husband by going to events and running the activities in the above list? I suppose there’s someone out there who will tell me they set up an exhibition stand with the strap line “Want to Marry Me” or sent out flyers to a bought in email list. All this sort of tech based contact diverts us from the tough task of seeking out relationships that lead to somewhere that we and the contact want to be.

    (OK – So now bring on the crazy posts about how you met your spouse – ha-ha!!)

    Reply
  4. Shaula
    Shaula says:

    Andrea and Charlie, I’m trying to compose my response to your interesting article. In the meantime, I want to complement and tank Peter for the outstanding questions he raised!

    Peter Vajda wrote:
    – “Why am I really, really, really engaged in Twitter?”
    – “What does Twitter really, really, really get me?”
    – “How I feel when I don’t have access to Twitter for a half-hour, and hour, a day, etc.?”
    — Am I OK with that?
    — Or do my mind and body go into some kind of revulsion, not unlike an addict who can’t locate a next fix?
    – “Is any part of my life – work, play, alone time, relationship and the like – suffering because of the amount of time I spend on social networking?”
    – “Am I in denial about my use of Twitter?”
    – “Am I trying to justify a behavior that is often self-limiting, self-sabotaging, and self-destructive?”

    Peter, I get uncomfortable with the amount of hype and the lack of honesty or self-awareness in many discussions not just about Twitter but about any kind of social media, and the peer pressure implicit in the evangelical tone of its proponents.

    Your list is a GREAT way to bring some honesty to the discussion, and help people make their own truthful assessment of the role of social media in their lives. Thank you very much for this! I’m book marking this list to refer people to in future.

    Chris, I loved your comment, too, and I agree about both the spam aspect and the potential reputation drag that goes with being associated with Twitter. (More on that when I have my thoughts together.)

    Reply
  5. Charlie (Green)
    Charlie (Green) says:

    Hey Chris,

    More later, but in answer to your question of can you imagine trying to find a spouse that way?
    Yeah, and it’s called Match.com! And it works at least better than the old dating bar routine, at least for a great many people. It’s not without its issues, but it’s not crazy either.

    I couldn’t agree more with you about lack of interest in spam, but I think you’re overlooking a critical feature of Twitter, which Google has wisely copied in Google+.

    Namely: infinitely variable selectivity.

    I think people have this idea that Twitter is a massive channel of noise that you have to open yourself up to, and that somehow it’s like drinking from a firehose.

    It’s not true. If I find your chatter annoying, I never have to read you. You don’t even have to put people on an exclusion list. You START with a selective list.

    If there are only five people in the world I want to follow on Twitter, then I just sign up to follow those five. never have to see anyone but those five. And if one of them annoys me, boom, he’s off the list and now I only watch four.

    I never put on my list the following people:

    a. those who only dispense their own homilies
    b. those who only retweet others
    c. those who carry on private convos in public tweets (“thanks for the great shout out, bro”
    d. those whose topics don’t interest me
    e. those whose thinking appears dull to me

    That means I only follow people I choose. I only choose to follow:

    a. those who comment on and link to interesting blogs or artices
    b. those who talk intelligently about topics that interest me

    So Chris, the megaphoning you talk about is just simply not there. Not for me, not for anyone I follow. Nobody I follow does that, I don’t follow anyone who does that, no one has to follow anyone who does that, so it’s just not an issue. It’s one of these bad raps that twitter gets, I think.

    Great dialogue, folks.

    Reply
  6. Rich Sternhell
    Rich Sternhell says:

    First a caveat…I am not on twitter and don’t intend to be. Peter,as usual you have hit on the really key points. From my perspective it is a tool intended to give people with very little to say an excuse to say very little and to say it without thinking very much. I imagine that it has some value as a branding tool if your goal is to have as many people know who you are as possible. Name recognition has tradable value as both Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann have demonstrated. There are many sources of valuable information competing for my attention and reading 140 character “tweets” simply doesn’t make it into the top 1000. I’m also not sure how much I value the reaction of people who spend there time “twittering”. I imagine that it perfectly suits the objectives of the Kardashians whose objective is to be famous for being famous, but I’m out for substance not flash.

    Reply
  7. peter vajda
    peter vajda says:

    …and not unrelatedly,

    http://tinyurl.com/42gnewa

    A CNN.com story today, “Do you obsessively check your smartphone?”

    “…Earlier this year, Frank started to realize that he, too, was habitually checking his smartphone over and over without even thinking about it. When he sat down to figure out why, he realized it was an unconscious, two-step process.

    First, his brain liked the feeling when he received an e-mail. It was something new, and it often was something nice: a note from a colleague complimenting his work or a request from a journalist for help with a story.

    “Each time you get an e-mail, it’s a small jolt, a positive feedback that you’re an important person,” he says. “It’s a little bit of an addiction in that way.”

    Once the brain becomes accustomed to this positive feedback, reaching out for the phone becomes an automatic action you don’t even think about consciously, Frank says. Instead, the urge to check lives in the striatum, a part of the brain that governs habitual actions.”

    and,

    “…Dr. Adam Gazzaley, a neurologist at UCSF, sees another cost: Whenever you take a break from what you’re doing to unnecessarily check your e-mail, studies show, it’s hard to go back to your original task.

    “You really pay a price,” he says.

    Habitually checking can also become a way for you to avoid interacting with people or avoid doing the things you really need to be doing….”

    and more…

    Reply
  8. John Gies
    John Gies says:

    I love a good conversation like this.

    When Twitter first came out I said, “What can you say in 140 characters that is worth listening to?” My Coach suggested I explore it and what I found was that it it could a be a big time waster. Then I discovered lists. I could set up lists of people I follow and sort them by categories. Example, Sales leaders, Healthcare Biz, Spirit, etc. This way I could cut through the noise to the people that have something to say that I want to hear.

    I now can log in in the early am or evening and scroll through my lists to see what people like Charlie and others have been sharing. What I have found is that some of my best reading comes from items that others have found interesting and they have shared.

    With respect to the studies on distraction. Absolutely a huge challenge for our society. I find more and more my colleagues are looking for solutions. Not just to avoid the facebook and twitter distractions but also that annoying chime from email. I have developed the habit, (some days more successful than others) of turning off my email notices and working with my calendar open but not my email. Thus limiting my distraction by email.

    Managing distractions be they digital or otherwise boils down to discipline. And like most practices, we get better with practice.

    Thanks for the tweets!

    @jrgies

    Reply
  9. Sandy Styer
    Sandy Styer says:

    Andrea & Charlie:

    You know I’m on both sides of this discussion, depending on the day. The great benefit I’ve found is getting turned on to and sharing new research and articles; for that I thank my Twitter friends! @sandystyer

    Reply
  10. Ed Drozda
    Ed Drozda says:

    Wow, a very captivating conversation and you sure did raise some conversation (well in excess of 140 characters I might add). I am one of those late-adopters, not due to fear but as a result of band-width. I like to do a good job at what I choose to do. Thus far, I am not ready for Twitter (and by then it may have a new name). But seriously, Andrea and Charlie as well as your readers, particularly Peter make some great points. My take away- Social media whether Twitter or otherwise is a choice best adopted after a thorough review of your intentions.very interesting points.

    By the way my take away was 110 characters- is it time for me to Tweet?

    Reply
  11. Andrea Howe
    Andrea Howe says:

    So many thoughtful comments — thanks to all! Keep ’em coming. For now I’ll say this: Rich, your honest and straight-forward comments inspired me to consider taking an even harder line than I have about Twitter and its role in my life/career! Ed, you had me at “I like to do a good job at what I choose to do.”

    The score so far: Andrea 6, Charlie … 1? 🙂

    Reply
  12. Charlie (Green)
    Charlie (Green) says:

    There seems to be some idea that twitter is an uncontrollable tsunami. That argument is a straw man.

    As Peter put it,

    “If one is intentional about Twitter, then, in my opinion, less is more. Choose those folks whose tweets and/or profile appear interesting and see if there is a relationship worth cultivating. Not sure how one consciously and intentionally sifts through two million followers for those relationship nuggets.”

    Well, duh. I can assure you I don’t sort through two million followers. I don’t know anyone who does. There are dozens of ways to extract nuggets, and the fact that someone doesn’t know them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. John Gies describes some of them in his comment above: the thoughtful creation of lists, of people whom I choose to follow.

    I maintain about 20 lists, some of which I look at more frequently than others. There are some people I occasionally seek out on purpose to see what they are talking about. I occasionally use the broader list I follow as a source to query on specific topics. There are hashtags. And so on.

    As I mentioned in the post, twitter provides an invaluable way to quickly scan what a lot of people are talking about. The main function it provides is a higher-level index of subject matter; it is way faster than looking up one site at a time. I have total control over the index I choose to define.

    To the question of “who to follow,” I started out very intentionally. People I knew I wanted to follow, for example, included @pkedrosky, @epicureandeal, @julien, and @chrisbrogan. I then visited their sites and looked at who they followed–I found that to be a very productive way of finding interesting people.

    The metaphor of someone standing in front of the Library of Congress handing out “start here” cards is quite wrong. Twitter offers you a far greater degree of precision over who you choose to follow than these metaphors would suggest.

    As I mentioned to Rich, I’d bet that 98% of conversations on the phone are gossipy, silly, wastes of time, but nobody talks about getting rid of the telephone. I suspect that Gutenberg was criticized for mass commoditizing the experience of writing and reading one-off manuscripts.

    This is another one of those two-edged swords we face all the time in society. Should we regulate cigarettes? Fast food? The temperature of coffee? We work out those solutions over time.

    I agree completely with Peter and Andrea that Twitter can feed obsessive, neurotic behavior. And that’s definitely an issue. It’s not unlike the social issues we face with kids regarding video games, and online games; I detest Farmville, which raises similar issues for adults. It’s not unlike gambling; I find similar issues with FaceBook for lots of people. And texting with still-younger generations.

    Come to think of it, what about TV programs? What about all those people who obsessed for weeks over Cable TV coverage of Caylie whatsername? What about the old complaints about Saturday morning wastelands of TV? Remember all the declaiming of couch-potatoes? What about the huge waste of time web-surfing when the internet first came out? How about the many addicts of online QVC shopping?

    In a modern world, there are huge numbers of ways to waste one’s time, to become addicted to instant-feedback, to withdraw from society. They are all issues for concern. They all also come with benefits. There’s probably not one answer good for all. Is it an evil that needs regulating, like cigarettes? Or intelligent usage by individuals?

    Where does Twitter fall on the list of evils? Somewhere below internet porn, I’d suggest, and maybe above afternoon TV Judge shows.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m starting to hyperventilate from tweet-withdrawal; I gotta get me a tweet-fix.

    Reply
  13. Shaula
    Shaula says:

    I’d like to rejoin this conversation, but it looks like I’m going to have to apply all kinds of things I’ve learned from the two of you, Andrea and Charlie, in order to do so.

    First off, a caveat: my health isn’t great at the moment, so I’m a little more fragile than usual, and thus my reading of the conversation may be totally wrong. I apologize in advance if that’s the case.

    Second, some Name It and Claim it: this conversation has grown really weird and uncomfortable for me. Charlie, again I may be just reading things really wrong, but it feels (very subjectively) to me like you have a big emotional investment in this discussion. Is it that it’s really important to you to convince everyone who disagrees with you about the value of Twitter? Or is it about really needing to be right, or to be seen to be right?–which seems out of character for you. Or is it about something outside this discussion creeping in? Or something else altogether? Or am I just plain wrong?–which is always an option.

    Whatever’s going on, for whatever reason, this no longer feels like a conversation, or at least not a comfortable conversational space for me.

    So I’m just going to ask up front: if I make some comments here, civilly, and in good faith, is it okay if I disagree with you? Or will I be met with disparaging or insulting language (Well, duh.”) or accusations of employing logical fallacies and deception?

    I debated whether to wade back into this at all, incidentally. I know you have a lot going on right now, and it’s perfectly okay for you to be passionately invested in an argument, to have opinions that are sometimes (or even always!) different than mine, to be more ascerbic than I’m comfortable with, and even to have an off day. I’m not challenging you or accusing you or saying you’re doing anything wrong.

    What I am saying is I’d like to be able to voice some different opinions and I want to find out if it’s safe to do so. Is it?

    Let me know. Any answer, as long as it’s honest, will be good and welcome. And if it turns out that I’m just not robust enough for this particular conversation at the moment, that’s okay, too.

    Shaula

    Reply
  14. Shaula
    Shaula says:

    Thank you, Charlie.

    While I’m putting my thoughts together, I have a question for you (out of genuine interest): How do you feel about Twitter vs Facebook for business people?

    Reply
  15. Charlie (Green)
    Charlie (Green) says:

    Shaula,

    With the caveat that I’m much less familiar with Facebook than with Twitter, I tend to think of Facebook as deep vs. Twitter as wide. That would suggest Twitter is better for networking, Facebook is better for deeper discussions of relevance to the host. We’re about to announce our own Facebook site, incidentally.

    Charlie

    Reply
  16. Charlie (Green)
    Charlie (Green) says:

    I want to apologize to Peter Vajda for some of my comments a few lines above. In my passion about making a point, I seized on a passage of his and spoke about the broader point in unnecessarily personal terms. I’m sorry about that.

    Peter is the single most loyal and dedicated reader of this blog, and certainly among the most consistently thoughtful in his commentary. I am grateful for his continued engagement and sharing, and don’t want him to think otherwise for even a moment.

    Peter, I’m sorry.

    Reply
  17. peter vajda
    peter vajda says:

    Charlie, I appreciate your apology, and, for me, it isn’t necessary. I didn’t take your comments personally. They are what they are, words, and I choose to experience them as they are, without injecting any emotion or reactivity into them. You have positions, interests, perspectives…and I respect those. Sometimes, I disagree and, as best I can, when I do disagree, I hope that I do so without being disagreeable.

    One of the reasons I’m a loyal reader is that I consider you to be a mentor of sorts, from afar. I’ve learned a great deal from you (and your readers/commenters), on many levels, over the few years since I found your blog. Not only that, but you consistently tug on my sleeve and urge me to think about life – at work and outside of work. And, selfishly, that’s good for me in terms of my personal, professional, emotional and spiritual growth. Very important for me.

    So, thank you for your kinds words, not necessary for me, and let’s move on with our day.

    “Think otherwise?” Never gave it a thought.

    Reply
  18. Matt Homann
    Matt Homann says:

    I’m with Charlie on the value of Twitter.  I’ve often said that Facebook is about what people are doing, LinkedIn is about where they’re working and Twitter is about what they’re thinking.  

    Even if you don’t participate in Twitter as a content creator — though it is the easiest place to create and post content — you can derive tremendous value from following and listening to folks who can positively impact your business and even worldview.

    And if you jump in and follow lots of people, realize that you don’t have to read everything everyone says all the time.  Filter those you follow, listening to everything some say and letting serendipity drive the information and ideas you get from the rest, as you dip in and out of the Twitter pool throughout the day as time allows.

    Reply
    • Andrea P. Howe
      Andrea P. Howe says:

      Matt, for some reason I’m just now seeing your post. I really appreciate the advice you give about letting serendipity drive Twitter activity. As someone who tends to get over-focused on *accomplishing* stuff, this helps a lot. 

      Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] “There’s a place for shallow, and a place for deep. Twitter is shallow; blogs are deeper. Articles are deeper yet. Or books—books are real deep.” Charles H Green […]

  2. […] again proving that my resistance to Twitter is often misguided, Charlie and Anthony first “met” in the Twittersphere, and when I joined the […]

  3. […] “The Great Twitter Debate: She Said, He Said” was first published on the Trust Matters blog. […]

  4. […] July of 2011, Charles H. Green and I engaged in The Great Twitter Debate on our She Said, He Said post on Trust Matters. I was transparent back then about the mixed […]

  5. […] July of 2011, Charles H. Green and I engaged in The Great Twitter Debate on our She Said, He Said post on Trust Matters. I was transparent back then about the mixed […]

  6. […] again proving that my resistance to Twitter is often misguided, Charlie and Anthony first “met” in the Twittersphere, and when I joined the […]

  7. […] “There’s a place for shallow, and a place for deep. Twitter is shallow; blogs are deeper. Articles are deeper yet. Or books—books are real deep.” Charles H Green […]

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