Monday, 7 May 2012

Desert island tweeps*

So, there's been a fair bit of sniping on Twitter about this article in yesterday's Observer. Lauren Laverne gives what is actually quite a nice intro, but then it all descends into a bit of a celeb Twitter love-in.

I don't think we can really be too critical of the fact that celebs follow other celebs - these are the people they socialise with and who they have most in common with after all. What is pretty galling about the article, is the implication that because the celebs follow these accounts then we should too.

Anyway, earlier today, @corrinnedouglas came up with the rather brilliant idea of crowdsourcing a version for us 'real people'.

So, off I went to have a think about my top three follows. And it was really hard. Really, really hard. I follow almost 1500 people and I wouldn't want to give any of them up. How to decide? Well, some criteria was obviously required. Should it be tweeple:

  • who post interesting links?
  • who I have good conversations with?
  • who spark ideas in my head? 
  • I've met in real life?
  • who are controversial?
  • who make me laugh?
  • who make me want to scream?
  • who like libraries?
  • I'd be happy to have round for tea?

But I doubt I could narrow it down to three in any of those categories, or even in an 'all of the above' category!

I had another look at the article and there doesn't appear to be any consistency in how the celebs have decided on their favourite tweeps. @johncleese follows @mrmichaelwinner "because he is Michael Winner"; @salmanrushdie follows @shteyngart (Gary Shteyngart) "because he's funny, has a dachshund and travels a lot"; @emmafreud follows @prodnose (Danny Baker) because "he's a brilliant, inspired, wise commentator on our strange world and his stranger imaginings of it". So, that didn't help.

And then I thought, who am I to tell anyone who they should follow? As Lauren points out in her intro,"one thing everyone agrees on is that nobody agrees on the point of Twitter." So we all get something different out of it (I've blogged before about why Twitter works for me, if you're interested).

So, at that point I stopped worrying about criteria. I'm not recommending Twitter feeds for you to follow. Instead, here are three people who have taken the time to join me on my personal Twitter 'journey':

1. The first person on #mytwitterthree list then is @snap2grid, aka 't'other 'alf'. He's the one who introduced me to Twitter in the first place. He doesn't tweet as much I'd like...but is good value when he does. He mostly tweets about nerdy stuff. He's a writer, so he knows how to get the best out of 140 characters. And he's generally very funny and/or clever.

2. Second on the list is @euan. One of the first people I followed (and who followed me back!) and instigator of a fairly pivotal moment in my Twitter life. I went to see him talk at a British Computer Society event in Edinburgh a few years ago and got the shock of my life when one of the first things he did when he got up to speak was ask where Lesley Thomson was sitting. When I put my hand up, he preceded to ask what I'd bought at the shops. Turns out he'd read a tweet I'd sent earlier in the day while doing some shopping on route to the talk. That was quite a big deal for me - someone was actually reading my tweets and was willing to have a conversation with me! "Euan is a one man digital upgrade solution for companies that really want to get their heads around all that is new in social computing" (testimonial from his website). And he knows that the emphasis should be on the 'social', not the 'computing'. He's recently written Organizations Don't Tweet, People Do: A Manager's Guide to the Social Web, which should be required reading for anyone 'doing' social media. I'm hoping I can get him to come and talk to our senior managers!

3. And my last but not least top follow is @dianebrodie. I've known Diane for several years and would consider her a good friend, but have only recently started following her on Twitter. Mainly because I didn't know she had a personal account. She's been quietly doing brilliant social media stuff at UK Trade and Investment for a few years now. She tweets about social media and webby stuff, and art and tractors. And she's a librarian. I may be responsible for getting her to start tweeting (rather than just using Twitter to follow people)...and I'm hoping this post encourages her to tweet more (but I'm also a bit worried it'll have completely the opposite effect :))

So there you go, three good tweeps that I'd happily take to a desert island (whether they'd want to come with me is, of course, another matter...). Follow them, or don't follow them, that's entirely up to you.

* blog post title shamelessly stolen from @comms2point0

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