Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Um, we need to have a little chat

OK, I've already addressed this issue once with @stevenfoley here, but maybe I need to cover this a little more explicitly for the rest of you, especially:

@CofSussexAngel (see comments section)

Here's the thing, when you're on twitter, you are limited to 140 characters - that's not a lot of space to communicate a reasonable message - you have to get to the point quickly. This normally means your message comes down to one of three categories:

  1. I'm passing along useful information
  2. I'm expressing something good/encouraging
  3. I'm upset and I'm throwing a tantrum

Now, stop and think about this for a moment - if you had three friends, one fitting in each category, and you could only hang out with two of those friends, which two would you choose?

If you look at the previous post, you'll see a really cool video showing the "Twitter Moods" around the country over a period of time, I've taken the liberty of grabbing a couple of screen shots:

Do you notice something there? Doesn't Delaware seem to kind of stick out in a good way?
I would argue that's because the vast majority of people in Delaware who choose to engage on Twitter are doing so in a positive way, using this tool to communicate useful information and/or expressions of gratitude and encouragement.

I'm asking you to really think about what you are trying to accomplish - because if you're trying to get people to support your candidate by yelling and screaming at those who support another candidate, well, that hasn't proven to be a very effective strategy.

If I were to employ your methods, the local twitter stream would be packed with links to posts like this and this and this and this and, well, you get the picture.

Seth Godin recently posted this piece about the kind of tactics you are using, here's a key excerpt:
If a candidate wants to gain attention and possibly votes, then, it makes short-term sense to stir up fear of strangers and turn it into anger. It might even work (once). But it makes it virtually impossible to govern. It's a short-term strategy that eats itself, because sooner or later, everyone is a stranger, and fear is no foundation for work that matters.

Here's the thing, six months from now I'm still going to be on Twitter trying to build this community, encourage good things, inviting friends into the conversation, and trying to do something constructive - and I believe, based on the commitment I've seen from so many great people here in Delaware, that many others will still be here doing the same. The elections will be over and life will go on - I would love it if you were working with us, but if your idea of contributing to this community is to simply attack anyone with whom you disagree, well, I guess I'll have to live with that.

I hope I've done a reasonable job of communicating with you, I hope you will take your energy and intellect and use it in a positive way on Twitter, we'd really appreciate it.


  1. You forgot this one:

  2. So you think that I do the equivalent of e-yelling about my candidate? I haven't endorsed a candidate. I post press releases regarding every candidate.

    Do you know which candidate I am endorsing? I would really like to hear this answer. Please back it up with links showing where I support them.

  3. @ Sussex County Angel - Thanks for posting - and now that I've had a chance to review more of your posts and your blog, I see that you are more interested in good dialogue than others on the list.

    The list was made up of those I saw on the #desen feed who were tweeting or re-tweeting negative campaign material.

    Please accept this as my mea culpa to you.

  4. Thanks. I just try not to play favorites is all but I don't really use twitter for much more then sharing links. I appreciate your happy tweeting advice however. I'll try to use Twitter for more then just links occasionally.