Micro-blogging, as explained in Wikipedia: "Microblogging is a broadcast medium in the form of blogging. A microblog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actual and aggregate file size. Microblogs "allow users to exchange small elements of content such as short sentences, individual images, or video links".
When we think of micro-blogging, we think of Twitter and perhaps, Facebook. Facebook does allow for longer posts, but not of the quality you would generally find on an educational, informative blog. For today's purposes, we're going to focus on Twitter.
Why do people micro-blog? In a poll posted in 2009 on twitip, Lara Kulpa discovered that we tweet to network, promote ourselves or our company, to find new stuff and sometimes… just to chat. In the pet community, we seem to tweet more to help save lost pets, support shelters, pass along good information on what's going on in our immediate area, and to connect with friends. There's a good bit of 'promoting' but it's all done responsibly – that is, we don't hit people over the head to buy our stuff. [that's a general statement - there are, I'm sure, folks who do get obnoxious - but, I don't think they mean to be; I think they are just talking to their peeps]
We've discussed Twitter here and at the conferences, but until we recently participated in a three day twitter pawty by sponsoring the Anipal Academy Awards ceremonies, I did not realize how powerful twitter can be! I also did not realize how connected our pet community is – while, at the same time, being disconnected. We have hundreds of pet friends on Twitter who are not in our community. We learned that they felt we were focused on "bloggers" not on folks who tweet.
Hence, this post to explain that twitter is a blogging platform. It's micro-blogging. It's just another way of sharing information with a group of people, some that you know, and some that you don't know.
The goal of twitter shouldn't be to increase your followers without cause. More followers does not mean more power. It seems like it should, but the truth is a bit different. In this blog post on Business Chopstixs, Phyllis Zimpler Miller says, "The goal on Twitter for business purposes is NOT to accumulate as many followers as possible." [her bolding, not mine]
She also writes, "To begin with, everything you write on Twitter, from your bio to the first tweet, is presenting an image of you and your business. And that image is public (unless you lock your account, which basically defeats benefiting from the power of Twitter for making connections)."
We hear from many of you that you're not 'in business' – your blogging and micro-blogging isn't to establish a business online. Or, support one offline. It's to connect. To that end, the advice Miller shares is just as valid. More followers just makes that number bigger if you can't relate to them; if you aren't sure who they are; if you are being followed for the sake of increasing their numbers (hoping you'll follow back). And, remembering that everything you put online, including your micro-blogging, is a representation of you to all who see it, should influence you to only share the 'good' stuff. What I mean is – be careful with rants, be selective with personal information, take your conversation offline if it gets too deep, and be respectful of others [ don't do to others what you wouldn't want done to you!]
I'll close with a couple of thoughts…
First – we love Twitter! If you tweet but you don't "blog"… join us and bring your thoughts on how we can help tweeters the way we help bloggers. We are all bloggers of a sort.
Second – Heidi Cohen has a fantastic post on Twitter Etiquette that I recommend. Here are a couple of her ideas on how to mind your manners on Twitter [then go read the rest! head's up: the numbers here are not in order]
- Don’t auto DM people. It’s a broadcast message that recipients know isn’t targeted at them. For many, especially more seasoned Twitter users, its spam.
- Check your environment before you tweet. Don’t ignore the people you’re with in real life to tweet. Consider how your behavior will be viewed before you do it.
- Don’t be negative. Research shows that people react better to positive messages on social media platforms. Try to be a positive force on Twitter.
- Be a helpful resource. Be the go-to person with the information everyone follows for news on a specific topic.
Share your Twitter thoughts in our comments.