Twitter – Really?

According to polls I have seen, about one in five (20%) of all American adults are on Twitter.   I am one of those people.  I want to share my experience now that I have been on it for nearly two years.

I suspect that the 80% view Twitter as this place where narcissistic people got to tell the world what they had for lunch, who they saw and what they are thinking.  In 140 characters people could tell others “look at me and how interesting I am”.  I can remember reading about “celebrities” tweeting about what they had for lunch.  Who cares?  While that may be true, I am here to tell you that my experience has been very different

I initially got on Twitter to see what it was all about.  My students talked about it a lot.  I wanted to see what the draw was. It quickly changed into a totally different experience for me.

Twitter has become transforming for my existence.  I spend at least 1-2 hours a day on Twitter.  But almost none of that is me telling others about me.  And 99% of the tweets I look at are not someone telling me about themselves.  What I get from Twitter is the news I want to know about and links to interesting things people are writing or saying.  Virtually the only things I look at are links to stories that I believe might be interesting.  So the 140 character piece of Twitter for me is a series of links to articles that I will learn from, be amazed by or laugh at.  That is the positive power of the Internet.

So what do I “learn” from Twitter?

I use Twitter for news.  The Associated Press (AP) has a Twitter feed that provides links to many articles every day.  If you want to find out about the news in the world, this is a great place to go.  The 140 characters provide a brief intro to the article and a link.  If the brief intro sounds like something I want to read about, I click the link.  Otherwise, move on to the next tweet. I follow some really interesting opinion and research polls.  Pew Research does some truly interesting analysis of trends in the world.  Again, I read the short intro, decide if I want to learn more and move on.  I feel like I am much better informed to day that I was even a couple years ago.

I use Twitter for sports. Following ESPN, Sports Illustrated, NBC Sports and others keeps me up to date on all kinds of features and news about sports.  I used to go to ESPN.com as my initial place for sports news.  Now the links are my primary source of information from a number of different sources.

I use Twitter for running and fitness.  Those subjects are obviously passions of mine.  So I follow a number of organizations that write about running.  I also follow a few very interesting runners who provide all kinds of interesting perspectives.  I also look at brief introductions and links to articles and videos on fitness, stretching, weight training, etc. (In fact, this is how I got the yoga video I am using to meet one of my 2014 Resolutions).

I use Twitter for following interesting people.  As I progressed in using Twitter I found people who wrote about interesting subjects (education and history for instance). So I began to follow them, opening up a world of information that was available but unknown to me.

Twitter also allows me another avenue to stay in touch with my kids about our mutual interests.  So when one of us sees something interesting, we pass it on.  Occasionally we will “converse” about a subject.  It is fun.

Yes, I am a Twitter convert.  But I suspect I am using it a different way than most people would assume.  But that’s just me!  If you ever join, let me know.

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My Resolutions for 2014

Well, it is that time of year again.  They saying that writing your resolutions down and then letting others know about them is the best way to be accountable.  So, I am going to continue to do that.  Last year I had three resolutions.  So how did I do?

  • I said: “I am going to continue with my running and working out.  My goal is to get in over 1000 miles of running (about 20 miles a week) for the 12th straight year.”  Result: Did it
  • I said: “I will also continue my Blog in 2013.  I enjoy it.  I hope to make at least 75 new posts.:  Result: I did 71 posts.  Missed this one by a little bit
  • Is said: “My major resolution for 2013 is to get outside my “comfort zone” at least three ways.  We all are guilty of settling into a way of life and not trying new things.” Result: Failure. Did not do this

I would have to say those results are not as good as I would like them to be. So I will try harder this year

2014 Resolutions

#1 Continue running and working out, but add to it.  I need to get in 1000 miles again (13th year in a row).  I plan on getting my running buddies together for a race somewhere next fall.  I want to do a better job of running with others.  That will require me to reach out and to be more open on my schedule. The final thing I want to do is increase my strength and flexibility.  So my goal to do that is to do yoga at least once a week.

#2. Continue with my blog, but add to it.  I would like to get at least 75 posts this year.  In addition to that, I want to commit to getting onto Linked In as a way to stay in touch with people.  I have an account but I never look at it.  My goal is to be on it at least weekly and figure out a way to use it to stay in touch.

#3 I have committed to some pretty extensive travel this year.  I promised to take Rose to Puerto Rico in November.  I promised Courtney I would visit her in NYC.  I want to race with Nate somewhere this year. So I need to hit those commitments.

#4 Do something really new this year.  I am leaving myself wide open on this one.  I am going to challenge myself to do some activity that is very different than what I do today.  It is really undefined – which I guess gives me some wiggle room.  But I will try hard to make it significant.

We’ll see where that leads me in 2014.  Best of wishes to all!