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So you found me on Twitter, right?

Monday, 1 December 2008 — by

Twitter logoWelcome! So you’ve found me on Twitter and became a little curious about Wayne Smallman, the Blah, Blah! Technology blog, and wanted to know more, eh?

First of all, thanks for the visit. Secondly (and rather lazily, I might add), here’s a little about me and the Blah, Blah! Technology blog:

“Blah, Blah! Technology is about delivering technology commentary and opinion on the kind of technology trends that shape lives, shape businesses and shape the future.

I attempt to take the complexities of technology and distill their terms, phrases and industry nomenclature into smaller, easier analogies and examples that hopefully anyone can read and understand and to make technology accessible to the layman.”

Why are you called Octane on Twitter?

Good question! When I started my account on Twitter, way back in 2005 (I think), I used the name of my company as my username. On the plus side, it’s short & sweet, while on the downside, Octane is a little confusing if you don’t know anything about Octane Interactive Limited, my web design, development and internet consultancy that I founded in 1999.

What’s your follow policy?

The question itself might be a little misleading if you’re new to Twitter. OK, when you follow someone — or at least when I do — I don’t expect those people to automatically follow me back.

As in life, we don’t always find that we have that much in common with the people we meet, or we feel that the person that just followed us isn’t adding the right kind of ideas, thoughts and observations to our stream of Twitter updates.

As an example, if you’re an up-and-coming singer / songwriter and you were to buy the latest album of a famous singer, would you expect them to return the gesture? Of course not, because that’s not how it works.

I’m neither famous, nor am I singer. But the fact of the matter is, we are all different and to reciprocate for the sake of reciprocation is disingenuous.

So I might not follow you back if you follow me. And of course, the opposite holds true, too. Obviously, some people feel very differently about this, but this is my Twitter follow policy, and I’ve at least demonstrated my honesty on the subject, if nothing else.

Ideally, we’ll have many things in common, so here are a few things I look for before I follow anyone, or follow back:

So is Twitter the place to be?

That really depends on what you want from Twitter. I could go into all kinds of detail, but ultimately, you need to know what you want from a thing before you invest time & effort in it.

Twitter is doubtlessly very popular, but it’s also technically a very weak system. There are much better services out there. But yet again, it depends on your needs and your audience.

It’s not uncommon for people to refer to Twitter as a micro-blogging system, which I’ve done myself on occasion, just so people would feel comfortable with what I was writing about. The fact of the matter is, Twitter is a status update service (not too dissimilar to what you get with Facebook), which becomes amazingly obvious the first time you sign in, when you’re asked: “What are you doing?”

Anticipating your next two questions: 1. so what’s better that Twitter, and 2. what’s a proper micro-blog? In a word, Pownce. If you’re familiar with blogging, then Pownce really is a micro-blogging system.

Do you actually like Twitter?

For me, it’s a means to an end. I use Twitter for several reasons, but most of all, it’s a way of keeping in touch with the people who I feel I can learn something from, and I use Twitter as a way of promoting the Blah, Blah! Technology blog, as well as sharing the things that I find.

For a while, I really didn’t like Twitter, mostly because of the very, very silly thing people were saying Twitter could do. As an example, a lot of weight seems to be placed on Twitter as an as-it-happens source for breaking news. Any similar system would work exactly the same given enough people using it — it’s the people that make it work that way and not the technology.

Sitting somewhere between Pownce and Twitter is Plurk, which is vastly far more useful as a service for monitoring breaking news. I say this because with Plurk, you can actually see the news happening. The reason for this unique ability is because of the amazing way you interact with Plurk.

But after all is said & done, Twitter commands a huge audience, so your efforts are as well spent there, assuming you intend connecting with people, making friends, building relationships and sharing the things you’re into with like-minded individuals.

What now?

That’s as open ended a question as you could ever hope to ask! If you haven’t already, you could follow me on Twitter. And if you’re feeling extra kind, you could also subscribe to the Blah, Blah! Technology blog.

And finally, thank you for your time. Always a pleasure…

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David → Monday, 1 December 2008 @ 23:37 BDT

So you found me on Twitter, eh?

No, I found you on Pownce when you commented on what you considered the correct period of time between washing a pair of jeans. I also commented on that important question and you can find that gem or a reply under my Pownce name, which is photographworks. That is also my name on Twitter and blah blah etc, blah.

I’ll follow you if you … blah blah

I am in Leeds – can’t be a million miles from you.

all the best

Wayne Smallman → Tuesday, 2 December 2008 @ 11:18 BDT

All right, David!

I’ve got an office just outside of Pontefract and I between Barnsley and Doncaster. So no, not a million miles away.

Sad news about Pownce, eh?

Speak soon…

Paul Simister → Friday, 19 December 2008 @ 12:45 BDT

You got me all interested in Powne and now I find that it no longer exists from December 15th as it has been bought by SixApart

Wayne Smallman → Friday, 19 December 2008 @ 12:52 BDT

Hi Paul! Yes, as of the 15th of December, Pownce was declared dead.

Six Apart have since started up their own replacement of Pownce. Problem is, the way they burned the compact but passionate Powncerati, I think they’ve got their work cut out for them.

Had they handled things with even a smattering of common sense, they would have worked with the Pownce community. Instead, they just cut them loose…

Heidi Cool → Wednesday, 24 December 2008 @ 13:08 BDT

Deep sigh. I’m still mourning Pownce. Where, like David, I met you. (I didn’t meet this David until Pownce Refugees). But I saw your recent Tweet that you’d added some rules to this entry so I thought I better revisit it.

For me the difference between Pownce and Twitter that matters most when it comes to followers is the breadth of posts. Twitter is a constantly moving stream that I check from time to time. There’s no way I’ll see every message that comes buy. I just need to know that when I stop by and dip my hand in that stream, I’ll pull out a nice trout or crayfish rather than an old hiking boot that’s mysteriously encrusted in leeches. In other words the Tweets need to be vaguely meaningful to my life. They could offer a link to a great Web development site, they could be silly, they could offer a recipe involving bacon.

What I don’t need are product offers, young ladies who want to offer “good time cheap” or updates on hobbies in which I have no interest. I don’t mind the latter if the Tweeter and I have other things in common. In that case their collection of porcelain dinosaurs may offer new insight into their persona. But if it’s just a stream of tips on knitting or how to make lutefisk, I think I’ll pass.

Of course we all get such people following and I’m always mystified. If our lives have no common threads they shouldn’t want to follow me either. Why should they care if it is snowing in Cleveland and whether or not I think links should open in new tabs. Thus when they do follow, I can only assume they are either clueless about Twitter, are voyeurs who want nothing but random peeks into the lives of others, or are gearing up for some future nefarious spamming.

But the bottom line is they should provide enough info, in their Tweets, their mini-bio and the link to their site to help us make an informed decision. I wrote a post on P2 recently entitled “Dear New Twitter User” addressing my frustration at that problem. I’d recently been followed by a mystery person who’d made no posts. My ego doesn’t demand an army of followers, but when a new person does decide to follow me, I just need a bit of a clue as to why. Otherwise, they’ll remain unfollowed and I may just miss out on learning the meaning of life (42, of course.)

CASUDI (Caroline Susan Di Diego) → Friday, 26 December 2008 @ 0:30 BDT

I have been on twitter for a little over a week; read an article written by Guy Kawasaki and realized there might be something more then mindless “drivel”….
so I am researching and learning …. and your ….”so you found me on Twitter…..”
is some of the best info….. I only want to follow those people that interest me and I am not interested in picking up zillions of follows just for the sake of followers ……
something I gathered many do. I am really surprised I am finding so few who actually
tweet something of value, however I continue to look and I am optimistic.

David → Tuesday, 30 December 2008 @ 0:35 BDT

Caroline,
May I suggest that you go to Search Twitter and search for something that interests you (architecture, perhaps?) and see who is talking about that subject and see whether they seem to be people you would like to follow.

:)

CASUDI (Caroline Susan Di Diego) → Tuesday, 6 January 2009 @ 5:11 BDT

David,
Thanks for the suggestion. I now have looked at about 1500 profiles (search for architecture or design did not find much of interest) and looking at Mr.Tweets and Graders suggestions (about 18) also did not result in any. However I have found some really cool and interesting people to follow and some really interesting websites (in many instances the websites are really great but the people’s tweets are personal focused). Of the 24 I am following I find the these at present the most interesting (or useful) Brett Steenberger, KurtzweilAInews, Douglas Karr (and he responds), Jean-Luc Raymond, Jan Quickels (somewhat beyond me technically but I find it interesting and he answered my DM’s and helped me get started), Steve Rubel,SB on Social media,Dave McClure, David Orban, Sheryl Nussbaum Bach, I love Getty Museum, and when I have time I can find an interesting tweet or two from Guy or Scobie. I of course am a fan of the Octane website and have directed several new people on twitter here. I have a limited time each day for Twitter but I feel I am making progress. So far TweetDeck was the most helpful tool for me. Any oher suggestions?

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