01 February, 2012

A Drop in the Ocean

I've been using the Internet since around 1994; I had AOL at first, and then after getting my account cancelled for swearing in a chat room (...yeah) I signed up with a local ISP called PrimeNet, which had SLIP connections. I honestly can't even remember what I used to do with it: the Web was still in its infancy, then, but I think I did set up a web page and browse some other sites.

My day job is PHP development for a major entertainment website; I manage a team of developers. I've been doing web development as my career for twelve years. I run Linux on my work and home desktops. It would be reasonable, I think, to say that I'm pretty familiar with the Internet.

Despite that, Twitter confounds me. To a degree, it's just because there's an overwhelming number of people. Yesterday I went on a following spree, adding a large number of fantasy-writing-related folks (mostly people from this list). A few followed me back (thanks guys!) and I'm very, very slowly starting to get the hang of how to actually use Twitter in a productive manner.

I still don't know what people actually do to manage it; I see people who have a thousand followers and also follow a thousand people. Having a thousand followers, that I get; but following a thousand people? Do these people simply not read their timeline at all? Or do they have a small, select group partitioned into a list that they read, and ignore everyone else? Things like that. I could code Twitter, I just don't really know how people actually go about using it day-to-day.

To me, it's primarily a marketing tool. I tweet all my blog posts there, and I'm now getting in the habit of tweeting regularly. I'm still intimidated by the sheer number of people on Twitter. I'm sure I'll get used to it in time; but right now it feels like I'm floating in the middle of the ocean, without a square inch of land in sight.

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