There are lots of “feelings” out there about Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites. Some people really enjoy them, some are addicted to them, and some people roll their eyes just at the mention of them. Personally, I like using them in moderation because they are a great way to meet new people and connect with friends. Doing this is fun for me personally and also helpful to me professionally, since a lot of what I do depends on my relationships with people.
If you use Facebook or Twitter, you know that on these sites you can regularly update people about what you are doing by making “status updates.” So, for example, if you’re going out and want to invite friends you can say, “On my way to the movies, anyone want to join me?” Or if you need advice on something you can type, “Anyone have a good recipe for chocolate chip cookies?” Or, if you want people to know more about your work or your life you can type something like, “Writing a new song and feeling excited about sharing it with you soon!” Okay, so you get the picture.
What’s interesting is that on Twitter and Facebook you have a limit to the number of words you can type in a status update. This means you have to make each entry short, interesting, and meaningful. It actually reminds me of writing haiku poems in school. Remember that? A haiku is a poem that you have to write in a certain rhythm with a limited number of syllables. Writing them was always challenging and clarifying, because you had to get very clear about what you wanted to say and get right to the point. Like haiku poems, writing status updates can actually make you a better communicator: you have to get clear about your message and find a brief and meaningful way to “say” it.
I also find that making status updates can actually be a helpful way to discover new things about yourself. Over time you can even look at them and see patterns. Here are some examples of things you can discover:
- How do I choose to spend my time?
- What’s my general attitude about things?
- What am I choosing (and not choosing) to share with others?
- What seems to be most important to me?
I’d love to hear how you feel about Facebook and Twitter and what have you discovered about yourself in the process of using them.