How I use Twitter
Someone recently asked my advice about Twitter, since BusinessWeek magazine just named me one of their “20 to follow” for entrepreneurs. I'm not a Twitter expert and don't claim I'm one to emulate, but here are my personal thoughts on how I use Twitter:
Twitter is a P.A. system
Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and mailing lists are all a P.A. system. (Remember P.A. stands for “Public Address”.)
Speaking through them is like stepping up to a microphone, on a stage, in front of 10,000 people. What can I say that's worth saying to 10,000 people? It has to be something that most of those 10,000 unique individuals will find interesting.
I try not to let that paralyze me into thinking that everything I say has to be super-important. Occasionally I light-heartedly post something cute or funny. Nobody wants to be around someone who's too heavy and profound all the time.
Depends on the size of the room
Musicians know that you perform differently to 5 people than 5000. If there are only 5 people in the room, you can take advantage of the intimacy to be more casual.
If I'm hanging in my living room with 5 friends, it wouldn't be strange for me to say to them, “I've been tired all day. My foot hurts.” That's just regular conversation with friends. But I wouldn't say that to 10,000 people.
Reversing it: With a few of my best friends I actually do enjoy hearing the tiny details of their day. I want to know that they're feeling sick, or just had the best Chinese food, or missed a flight.
Because of this, I have two profiles on Twitter and Facebook. One public, for anyone. One private, only for 20 close friends. I highly recommend this.