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Pointless Tweets and Advice for Linkedin

The world falls into three camps. Those who love Twitter; those who've tried it and can't see the point; and those who haven't got a clue what I'm talking about. But to immediately bugger up my carefully crafted analysis, I fall somewhere between the fan and the disappointed.

Twitter is an alerting service. It forces brevity and enables people to define their interests. Tweets themselves fall into two basic categories: People and Interests. Once again I will bugger up my own neat distinctions because People can represent a specific Interest you want to 'follow', as well as everything else they're interested in. Equally I might be interested in something which total idiots are also interested in, and I'm not the least bit interested in their utterances - although indeed I might be, but I've got to wade through piles of their rubbish before I find their gems. And therein lies my problem.

I'm interested in, for example, atheism. I therefore follow clever atheists whose writings I admire, like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. But who's to say that Sam Harris isn't also interested in teddy bears and cross dressing. His tweets, of which there can be many a day, might therefore contain alerts about these additional interests, in which, I assure you, I have no interest at all - thereby cluttering up my screen with inane and useless announcements. And the only way I can filter out what I do want to know from the barrage of what I don't (I think this is the only way - if you know better, then please let me know), is by reading each one. Conversely if I follow a subject of interest, like Atheism, I have to endure an endless torrent of morons tweeting that they do or don't think there's a god.

And Tweets are rarely written in easy to quickly understand English. Tweet also usually contain characters which aren't meant to be read, but which are for clicking on or information about who the originator was and to whom it was sent. So tweets require the modern art of short-hand txt spk. Both the medium, and our time to use it, constrain the number of characters. Consequently we have to become fluent in this new international language in order to scan read quickly. And if this wasn't bad enough, this new spk includes a Twitter language all of its own. RT, @names, #tags, not to mention #FF (Follow Fridays!),  GFF (Get Followers Fast), OH (OverHeard), OAuth (3rd party account access), truncated URLs and a vast glossary of other stuff like SMS commands.

I therefore predict that Future Twitter (maybe someone else's service entirely) will exclude URLs altogether, but will include a single universally recognisable icon to click on (ie the code for the link will be hidden, and the underlying text will not count as part of your character count limit), and all the other spurious stuff like whose @name it was originally sent to, and related #tags will similarly become icons or 'rollover' areas in each tweet - leaving the reader with the basic message - but still written in txt spk.... which by the way, as an amusing aside, is easier to understand than one might think:
Aoccdrnig to rscheeacrh at Cmabrigde uinrevtisy, it deson't mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a tatol mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe. Wlecmoe to the Dgitial Age!
The problem with following People whose total set of interests don't align with my own, and following Interests contributed by followers whose opinions aren't always worth reading, means there's vasts amounts of banal rubbish flooding into my Twitter feed the second I add either a prolific person to follow or an actively tweeted interest. Which means I either spend hours a day scanning everything to find the nuggets worth reading, and then clicking on them to see what they're so excited about, or ignore the lot - which is what busy people 'with a life' probably ought to do.

And then there are the celebrities. Who on Earth can possibly be interested in what someone is eating, in which restaurant, in which town, and with whom, no matter who they are? Even if that person is one of your favourite famous people and you wish they were close mates of yours, or perhaps in bed with you. And even if they were mates or in bed with you, can you think of more boring chat than the Tweet-crap they spew to their pathetic followers? "Drank too much last night, got a headache". "Walking the dog. Nice sunny day." "The view's great from my hotel room". etc . So if you think you're a celeb, for heaven's sake stop littering the world with this total crap! You're very boring. And if your followers don't agree, so are they.

And another thing. Linkedin is great for finding out what people are up to - either researching someone you're about to meet, or just passing the time of day by surfing 'what ever happened to old xxx'? But what you must never, never do, is assume that anyone is the slightest bit interested in where you went on holiday and what restaurant you like going to - or come to that, what you think about anything. The only thing Linkedin is useful for is helping people to try to get more money for themselves as a result of simply knowing you and therefore, they believe, your connections. And if someone's fiddling around with their profile, (Linkedin tells you immediately someone you know is fiddling with their profile), you can be certain they're desperate for work or think they're about to be. In which case they are hoping their misfortune will be of interest to you. Well it is, but unfortunately not in the way they will be hoping. The rules of Linkedin are therefore:

  1. Don't accept a connection invite from someone who is unlikely to be useful to you. They're only inviting you because they hope you'll be useful for them. And if they're too junior compared to you, their 'brand strength' will lower your own if you demonstrate they are a connection. Tough, but essential. So get real about who you invite to connect.
  2. Don't change your profile unless you absolutely have to. You'll only look desperate to find work.
  3. Make yourself sound like Bill Gates and Jesus all in one massive boast. Everyone else does, you must too. Underselling yourself is pointless.
  4. Never read what Linkedin calls 'updates' from your connections. They're ALWAYS unbelievably boring. Surely the people who write them can't seriously believe anyone would be the slightest bit interested in any of them.
  5. And of course, never write any updates yourself (which can also feed from the banality you broadcast via Twitter).
  6. Don't bother with groups. You'll never read the rubbish they contain, and no-one will ever read anything you contribute.
Twitter is a good idea. But unfortunately not yet. Linkedin is also a great idea, but only if you follow the rules.


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