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Connections, Ideas and Emotions


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#OpenHouse Thursday (Night) 26th August till Monday 30th August 2010

It’s an #OpenHouse invitation/gathering during the last days of #Summer2010  (doors of my home open for people to drop by, stay a while, cook a bit, drink a bit, talk a bit, play a bit maybe even sleep over) on the very edge of the Countryside in Surrey.

Although it is #OpenHouse,  I’m specifically inviting people I love, respect, admire, listen to, learn from, take strength and motivation from. I hope you can come to my place for any amount of time, from an hour to a few days, you’re very very welcome. I’d love to share my home and outdoor space with you.

I have dreamy ideas of great debates with the many brilliant people i have connected with in the last two years (yes it’s that long since Twitter, leaving BBC land and embarking on a new journey. A journey I am really enjoying and that is taking me to places and experiences that you just couldn’t “script”).  I have visions of laughter, silliness and amazement, bad jokes, goood jokes, funny accidents, and great song 🙂

We could have days out… Brighton and the Seaside (40mins), The Surrey Hills (15 Mins) , Devils Dyke (30 Mins), plus lots of National Trust sites that are localish,  trips in Central London are only  35 Mins too. Or we can have days “in” lounging. My garden backs onto woodland it’s circa 4/5 miles of fields and woods and walks with views on high. It’s easy to just go hike, and there is a lovely pub about 30 minutes into a walk.

To get to #OpenHouse is really quite easy…

Zone 6 on the Rail Network direct from Victoria, London Bridge 32 Mins and Clapham Junction 25 mins on modern air conditioned trains. From the South around Brighton, it’s a quick whizz up to East Croydon by train and a change for a journey 15 Mins back south.  I’m 10 Mins and a straight road from Junc 6 on M25 too, I can handle up to 6/7 cars if parked right :), there’s no yellow lines on the road either.

I’ve connected and built friendships with an incredibly wide section of people via Twitter, I’m really hoping a good slice of you can come and meet each other, swap stories, world changing views maybe.  Everyone is guaranteed a hearty welcome.

What about Kids ? Well look at the garden… of course! they are welcome, lots and lots to explore :-).

It would be excellent if you came and you’re in to gardening and/or cooking, you’ll be a very special guest indeed – Bring your tools and gadgets, recipes and ingredients.

I’ve got room for 10 or so to sleep each night, I reckon (airbeds, sharing the floor etc), and the garden can take a good selection of tents, even a couple of massive ones!

If @leashless comes, maybe we could build a Hexayurt ? I would really love that!

It would be very cool if you brought along some supplies (anything you like), enough to share maybe ?

I’d defo like a big conversation about #BigSociety. Oh…. music, there will be MUSIC and your welcome to come and “plug and play” wherever you find a set of speakers.  Not BIG! LOUD!  I haz lovely neighbours, but, well, you know, loud enough for the moment.

Not sure how to structure knowing who’s coming when. The Serendipitous potential of the #OpenHouse is something I’m quite excited about, but… I guess it would be good to know who’s maybe coming on what days. EventBrite seems a bit ordered, any ideas ???  Do share, I need some spark of genius 🙂

I really hope to see you and yours, thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy some of my garden snaps.

#OpenHouse Garden on Flickr

Daren


3 Comments

#140Conf – Tel Aviv – Israel

I’m still recovering from my trip to Tel Aviv. I’m still thinking about my trip to Tel Aviv and how I happened to find myself there, “representin”.

I have many many people to thank. So I’m going to try like this, A Twitter List for you to follow http://twitter.com/DarenBBC/irlcontributors-4 , some photo’s and some thoughts, experiences and emotions I went through. If that sounds interesting then please do read on, I hope you enjoy, it was EPIC for me.

London Heathrow – T5 – Jayne had the great idea that I drive myself to H/Row and park using long term parking. I found a new service that meets you at the short term parking area and takes your car away for you, then when you return, they meet you back at short term.
Alfred the Jag
Perfect and only a £5 premium, which given a black cabbie quoted £100 one way to heathrow, it was a no brainer.

Heathrow T5 8.45pm on a Saturday night was deserted, if you’re going to fly, fly then, it was heaven.

Empty T5 Heathrow

Charity Gallery - Heathrow T5
Take off was 10.30pm and I have to say the British Airways plane was great, got us in 30 mins earlier at 5.00am. I spoke to the crew because I thought the plane was new, but it wasn’t it had been refurbed. Good job, it felt new. Whilst chatting with the crew, I found out that they would be on my flight home, they were staying in Israel the same amount of time as me, 26.5 hours, of which I slept for 1 hour between 8.30am to 9.30am and 3 hours between 1.45am to 4.45am. I’m not complaining, but I;m not in my 20’s anymore, i’m still feeling the pain of no sleep.

Jeff Pulver graciously offered me the use of his hotel room to shower and change before Conference, I woke Jeff up at 6am, I was earlier than expected. Jeff bought me coffee and cake and gave me some background to Tel Aviv and his activities there, the key to his room says how highly he’s thought of in the tech powerhouse that is, Israel.

Jeff Pulver Room Key
So…quick kip, shower and change into the suit and tie. I was later to find out I would be the only person in a suit and tie 🙂 [ I like that]

The cab ride, was I have to say, that of a middle eastern experience, no english from the driver and no idea where the venue was, Coool! 🙂 I was running a bit late, but, I’ve learnt on my travels, let destiny take it’s path, I’m powerless in effecting the outcome.

Taxi Tel Aviv
I arrive just as Jeff is finishing his intro, the energy and buzz in the room was off the scale, physically, there was standing room only. I had my suit carrier and “man bag” so felt very concious walking to the front of the room, there were 200 people plus. Once settled I was greeted by smiles from the people that surrounded me. Jeff then announced to the audience that I had arrived and the room applauded, I felt joy, embarrassment, great pride and a real sense that I was “welcome”. I was in room of full of Israel’s “thought” and “geek” leaders and achievers.

Audience at #140Conf Tel Aviv

First up was Yossi Vardi – The Grandfather of the Israeli Tech Sector, founder of ICQ. Amazing charisma, wisdom and humour.

The laughter and engagement from the audience was amazing, and so natural, it was just part of what seems to happen when a couple of hundred tech/media/education/spiritual/young/old/political/music/finance related people get togethr in a room. There was a stage, with mic’s and seats for “speakers and panelists”, but that stage was for audience “use” too. I learnt, that Israeli’s take part, they don’t sit back and think it, maybe talk it down in the corridors quietly, they say it, share it, challenge and act. If it was too cold, someone shouted, “turn the heating up” or if someone said something funny ( which they did a lot) lots of people would laugh, but laugh properly and look at each other while they laughed. It’s a tough subtlety to describe, i guess you had to be there :-).

And “be there” I was… Lot’s of people chipped in cash to make the experience (trip) possible, and I have expressed my gratitude to you all in some way, but there are seven people I’d like to really show my deep appreciation to. They were the catalysts, and often the work of the catalyst is under valued, if valued at all, as it’s often forgotten, but is actually the vital spark that is always required. So…here are the catalysts, thank you once again.

http://twitter.com/digitalmaverick – He suggested asking the community on Twitter for funds – Drew is a teacher

http://twitter.com/bensaint – He made it clear, very clear he would make a major donation early on – Ben owns Evolv Digital

http://twitter.com/gemmawent – She matched Ben’s support within minutes – Gemma is founder of Red Cube Marketing

http://twitter.com/scottgould – He confirmed covering the cost of flying within 30 minutes of my appeal. Scott is a partner in Conference Group #LikeMinds

http://twitter.com/drewellis – He is Scott’s business partner and signed off flight costs within minutes of Scott’s suggestion

http://twitter.com/robocallaghan – My 1st “Chip In” donator, and what a donator. Just amazing.

http://twitter.com/JeffPulver – He invited me to Tel Aviv

Next edit, I will go into some of the people I met. Until then enjoi the music vid. The tempo is reflective of the intensity experienced and the “here I am” line sums up my feeling once I’d settled into my seat for five minutes.

Daren


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I’m still recovering from my trip to Tel Aviv. I’m still thinking about my trip to Tel Aviv and how I happened to find myself there, “representin”.

I have many many people to thank. So I’m going to try like this, A Twitter List for you to follow http://twitter.com/DarenBBC/irlcontributors-4 ,  some photo’s and some thoughts, experiences and emotions I went through. If that sounds interesting then please do read on, I hope you enjoy, it was EPIC for me.

London Heathrow – T5 –  Jayne had the great idea that I drive myself to H/Row and park using long term parking. I found a new service that meets you at the short term parking area and takes your car away for you, then when you return, they meet you back at short term.
Alfred the Jag
Perfect and only a £5 premium, which given a black cabbie quoted £100 one way to heathrow, it was a no brainer.

Heathrow T5 8.45pm on a Saturday night was deserted, if you’re going to fly, fly then, it was heaven.

Empty T5 Heathrow

Charity Gallery - Heathrow T5
Take off was 10.30pm and I have to say the British Airways plane was great, got us in 30 mins earlier at 5.00am. I spoke to the crew because I thought the plane was new, but it wasn’t it had been refurbed. Good job, it felt new. Whilst chatting with the crew, I found out that they would be on my flight home, they were staying in Israel the same amount of time as me, 26.5 hours, of which I slept for 1 hour between 8.30am to 9.30am and 3 hours between 1.45am to 4.45am. I’m not complaining, but I;m not in my 20’s anymore, i’m still feeling the pain of no sleep.

Jeff Pulver graciously offered me the use of his hotel room to shower and change before Conference, I woke Jeff up at 6am, I was earlier than expected. Jeff bought me coffee and cake and gave me some background to Tel Aviv and his activities there, the key to his room says how highly he’s thought of in the tech powerhouse that is, Israel.

Jeff Pulver Room Key
So…quick kip, shower and change into the suit and tie. I was later to find out I would be the only person in a suit and tie 🙂 [ I like that]

The cab ride, was I have to say, that of a middle eastern experience, no english from the driver and no idea where the venue was, Coool! 🙂 I was running a bit late, but, I’ve learnt on my travels, let destiny take it’s path, I’m powerless in effecting the outcome.

Taxi Tel Aviv
I arrive just as Jeff is finishing his intro, the energy and buzz in the room was off the scale, physically, there was standing room only. I had my suit carrier and “man bag” so felt very concious walking to the front of the room, there were 200 people plus. Once settled I was greeted by smiles from the people that surrounded me. Jeff then announced to the audience that I had arrived and the room applauded, I felt joy, embarrassment, great pride and  a real sense that I was “welcome”. I was in room of full of Israel’s “thought” and “geek” leaders and achievers.

Audience at #140Conf Tel Aviv

First up was Yossi Vardi – The Grandfather of the Israeli Tech Sector, founder of ICQ. Amazing charisma, wisdom and humour. See for yourself

<embed src=”http://blip.tv/play/g8UBgbTGJwI%2Em4v&#8221; type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”480″ height=”302″ allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”></embed>

The laughter and engagement from the audience was amazing, and so natural, it was just part of what seems to happen when a couple of hundred tech/media/education/spiritual/young/old/political/music/finance related people get togethr in a room. There was a stage, with mic’s and seats for “speakers and panelists”, but that stage was for audience “use” too. I learnt, that Israeli’s take part, they don’t sit back and think it, maybe talk it down in the corridors quietly, they say it, share it, challenge and act. If it was too cold, someone shouted, “turn the heating up” or if someone said something funny ( which they did a lot) lots of people would laugh, but laugh properly and look at each other while they laughed. It’s a tough subtlety  to describe, i guess you had to be there :-).

And “be there” I was… Lot’s of people chipped in cash to make the experience (trip) possible, and I have expressed my gratitude to you all in some way, but there are seven people I’d like to really show my deep appreciation to.  They were the catalysts, and often the work of the catalyst is under valued, if valued at all, as it’s often forgotten, but is actually the vital spark that is always required. So…here are the catalysts, thank you once again.

http://twitter.com/digitalmaverick – He suggested asking the community on Twitter for funds – Drew is a teacher

http://twitter.com/bensaint – He made it clear, very clear he would make a major donation early on – Ben owns Evolv Digital

http://twitter.com/gemmawent – She matched Ben’s support within minutes – Gemma is founder of Red Cube Marketing

http://twitter.com/scottgould – He confirmed covering the cost of flying within 30 minutes of my appeal. Scott is a partner in Conference Group #LikeMinds

http://twitter.com/drewellis – He is Scott’s business partner and signed off flight costs within minutes of Scott’s suggestion

http://twitter.com/robocallaghan – My 1st “Chip In” donator, and what a donator. Just amazing.

http://twitter.com/JeffPulver – He invited me to Tel Aviv

Next edit, I will go into some of the people I met. Until then enjoi the music vid. The tempo is reflective of the intensity experienced and the “here I am” line sums up my feeling as I had settled into my seat after five minutes

Daren


11 Comments

Onions, Twitter and Trust – #140Conf Tel Aviv

I had a great time on Tuesday 17th November with a five minute talk on “Serendipity” at Jeff Pulver’s 140 Character Conference at London’s O2.

Here is an AudioBoo of the speech: Listen!

Also a Video shot by Damien @b33god the link has Stephen Fry’s epic speech as well.

The speech went down really well, I received some lovely tweets about it and spent the rest of the day talking to as many folks as possible.

Then Jeff offered me a slot at the Tel Aviv 140Character Conference on December 6th.

A few folks on twitter saw my tweets about wanting to go to Tel Aviv and “represent” the UK at the conference. One great man @digitalmaverick suggested that I needed 32 Twitter friends to chip in £10 each and that would cover the flight. I slept on the idea, as I was uncomfortable it may come across as begging. But I received some tweets encouraging me next day from @bensaint , @gemmawent , @drewellis , @b33god , @juicyinfo , @dailytwitter , @joga5 , @overthewire , @dr_black @scottgould .

The result of these tweets got things to the point where #Likeminds founders @scottgould and @drewellis are sponsoring my flight cost £340 (including the ridiculous £4.50 credit card surcharge, I’m sure it doesn’t cost BA that, but hey, hard times for our national carrier, hence my loyalty and not booking cheaper options, I’m flying British Airways, because I really do think they are the best and worth the little bit extra, remember the crash landing on BA flight from Beijing last year ? Great piece of piloting).

But then still others wanted to contribute, and it’s so #BloodyBrilliant that people want to support, I thought I would create some sponsor opportunities for other costs. Taxi Fares, Hotel (1 night), Maybe some food and I thought a round of drinks for Jeff Pulver and his team.

So here goes: If you would like to take part and chip in anything from £5 to £50 I will dedicate part of my speech to the Tel Aviv audience to this incredible piece of Twitter love. I will name check and put up a photo of your Twitter avatar or Company Logo. If you have company/brand t-shirt I will wear it on some part of the journey (not on stage, I always wear my suit) take a pic and TwitPic it.

So… the additional costs budget (all approx) are below.

To and from Heathrow – £20 petrol money for Joe (21) my eldest son.

Taxi from to and from Tel Aviv Airport to the Conference venue – Not sure how much that will be, but would be surprised if over £40 each way.

Hotel, well… I guess £70 will cover that. Trick is to stay as close to conference venue as possible to reduce more taxi fares. I’ve booked flights that get me into Tel Aviv at 5.25am on the morning of the conference, I/We save a nights hotel accommodation costs like that. I leave Tel Aviv at 7.30am on Monday 7th December. So I’m in Tel Aviv 26.5 hours, I thought the less time I’m there, the more costs are kept down. Not sure how much sleep I’m going to get, praying I get lucky and BA upgrade me to one of those fully flat seats in the Business Cabin, I can sleep then. 7th December is also my son’s Joe 22nd Birthday, so I really needed to get back and I will land at Heathrow 11.25am.

Food, well no more than £15 needed for that I guess (I’m happy with a couple of Shwarma’s to keep me going).

A round of drinks after the conference… £20 I guess ?

So… there you have it. I do hope you don’t think it’s begging. I’ve been encouraged by some wonderful people and I think if we make it happen, it’s a great example of Twitter trust, love and sharing. A story of a community supporting a community member. I will of course blog the whole experience, name check and link out to everyone that takes part.

You can Chip In Here: http://darenbbc.chipin.com/mypages/view/id/7127c47a5a4869d4

Please please comment on my blog if you chip in.

If there is a balance/surplus left after the trip, we can all decide what to do with it, that sound OK ?

It’s looking like I will be the only British resident speaking at the conference, so I will do the very best I can to represent UK tweeters as the coolest on the planet.

Thanks to those that tipped this over edge to make it happen.

Daren.


6 Comments

Do you listen to tweets, real ones ?

Conversation

July 2010: It was a year ago this week, we had #CozyTweetUp in the Queeens front Garden – St James Park, the blog post from that night is below, it was awesomeness, a lot of love, really. This year we are gathering at Regents Park, and celebrating Glenn @Lesanto 50th Birthday. See you in the park around 7ish – Baker Street tube entrance – somehwere around there. Just tweet #CozyTweetUp.

Skip to the first photo below of a Picnic if you’re not interested in a *Totally* indulgent section about me, it could be be a waste of your time and I wouldn’t want that.

If you know me from Twitter, you can also skip to the picnic photo if you want, as you probably know all the stuff below already.

Where to start, erm…I’m a very fortunate man, discounting monetary value, I  believe I am quite rich, certainly in 2009 anyway, who knows what might happen in 2010 though ?

Why and how am I rich? (you maybe thinking, oh please)

  1. I don’t have to work the 9-5 (does that exist?) five days a week , but I do have to work, which I love because, I love my work, so it doesn’t feel like work (most of the time).
  2. I have three sons, the age spread is 21, 16 and 8 – all three have different natural talents and they know what unconditional love is. Jayne my partner loves me (still) too. I’m surrounded by love.
  3. Physically, despite my best efforts (I smoke too much), I have good health, I am not impeded in anyway,  hearing, sight, touch, smell, no disfigurements and all my limbs function.
  4. Mentally, I invest in the fitness of my mind. I’m paid by some to think ( others to talk), so it makes sense for me to spend money on servicing my mind. I am blessed with a two forms of intelligence, the “normal” ( i.e. measured) IQ and Emotional Intelligence (CISCO rate it, I like CISCO, but not academia really, I could be wrong though?).
  5. I’m trusted, respected, quoted and I’ve been “missed” (being “missed” is I think the greatest compliment you can receive) both on a personal and professional level.
  6. I know how to love men as well as women and I’m not afraid to cry. ( I cried the heaviest for many years a few weeks back when Richard Mitchell died, Richard was just 28 and a truly exceptional young man).
  7. I may have another 20 years on the planet with my good health.
  8. I know how to use the internet, Wifi and some other mobile devices. I can have a good Mac and when I need to I can buy “Game Changing” gadgets like the iPhone.
  9. I’ve worked (and still work) at a senior level in industry, I really get about 🙂 For example: I’ve been with Bill Gates in a meeting for over the usual  hour.  (please… it’s not a brag, just trying to frame things for later). And right now, my embryonic business is starting to progress beautifully into it’s next stage.
  10. I can dance and I love music. But I’m not big on Rock, not sure why, I think because I can’t dance to Rock, I feel stupid when i try to dance to it.
  11. Because of Twitter, the number of wonderful people that are a part of my life has  blossomed like a great big like a sunflower over the last 12 months.
  12. I belong.

If you have listened to my tweets ( I say listened, because a tweet is a noise right?) over the last year or so, you would know all of that 🙂

If you haven’t listened, I don’t blame you 🙂 I’m noisy, and it’s a bloody noisy place, full of all sorts including Porn Spammers (that’s the internet I’m afraid)

I haven’t always been rich, I started  life very poor (maybe one day I’ll cover the poverty story, this is about life’s richness) which is why this week has been such a special week and I just wanted to share it.

CozyTweetUp Nomnomnom

I went to a #CozyTweetUp Picnic this week, I missed the first one (#CozyTweetUp) in the restaurant, because Joe(21) had SwineFlu. But @mazi asked me where we should do the next one, I said a picnic in St James Park London SW1 (Her Majesty the Queen’s Front Garden) and @ilicco agreed. Then as he does @mazi made it happen, even securing a drinks sponsors because of Twitter conversation with @hedgewhytch (pic below)

CozyTweetUp

Sponsor 1. #Magners… who delivered 7 cases (84 bottles) of Pear Cider to my flat in Westminster. Thank you #Magners ( and their London based digital marketing agency), it was delicious I loved it. I don’t drink pints of anything usually. so here’s to Pear Cider 🙂

@darenbbc

Sponsor 2. #Media140 who I went to the Tesco’s with to grab some wine, plastic glasses, black bin bags and some ice. Ande (#Media140 Founder) picked up the bill out of his own pocket as well as the Black Cab fare to the park. “Well Played” Ande thank you very much.

#Media140 Founder

#Media140 Founder

So… We arrive at the park and someone is “on” Ande within seconds, literally as we were getting out of the cab, nice guy was congratulating Ande on his London and Sydney events being confirmed. Anyway, walking up to the picnic area there are loads of people (scarey to walk up to) under three big and beautiful shady trees, it 30 degrees in London. Thankfully ( I get really nervous entering any kind of gathering, just the entrance bit.) I was greeted by Izzy who had also invited Olie. Olie had decided to do a wonderful spread of food, enough for 5/10 people maybe (see first pic in this post).  Amazing!  he also brought along some nightlight candles to take the edge of the darkness. I had never met Olie, so Olie was, you could say, a total stranger! from Twitter!

Has that ever happened to you ? Someone you’ve never met before, creates and serves food for you by candlelight for no other reason than kindness and a desire to connect. It’s weird stuff some might say, for me, it’s a new age of computing and communication. The art for me will be, how we you use online to connect people offline to deliver real, social and world change. Mankind 2.0 by 2050 maybe 🙂

Anyway, back to the picnic! The Picnic was a first for me. Heading to the park, for a picnic with friends and friends of friends after work is something I have never done before, I’m in 41 years old, I felt like a child. But… this is no ordinary picnic, it’s a picnic for “twits” or is it “twats” ?  well I prefer “tweeters” myself, so I can relax and just be a me and enjoy the moments.

The picnic lasted about three hours. And for three hours I was just in this bubble of relaxed pleasure with some great people, (some uber smart and earthy), some I knew, most I didn’t. One person, Britt traveled all the way from Devon for the picnic, and saw her kids in London on the same day. “Well played Britt” 🙂 [When I use “Well Played” it’s in the style of a very pleased Football (Soccer) manager.]

Inevitably I got a little merry on the cider, It doesn’t take much for me to get a little cheeky and say edgey things to shock or make people laugh, sometimes I get it wrong and offend people ( it mortifies me), I’ve seen Jayne cringe several times over the last 21 years (that’s another post I guess).

About 2 hours in, I was stumbling through the darkness trying to avoid treading on rugs and food etc, as I was stumbling around Vikky reached out with her voice, “Daren, this is one of the most lovely nights, this year”. Hearing those words, from a person I had only met a few weeks previously, whom I admire and respect, just melted me.

Why?

Well… I’ve never had a large picnic in the park with friends, especially not in the beautiful St James Park and since being a  kid, I have always dreamt of it.  Vikki re-enforced my own feelings of just how lovely the picnic was, it felt surreal, it was Perfect! actually. I don’t think you can get any richer than that. And “that” is being with friends, feeling at one with them and sharing your thoughts and feelings with them. We often share our frustrations with our family and friends, how often do you share your feelings of enjoyment ?

Thank you Vikki and James who tweeted the same feelings the next day.

IMG_1873 IMG_1876

So… that’s it really, a beautiful night in a park with friends, for very little expense but with a big bag of Happiness in return. I was brought up to believe happiness was achieved by having more than somebody else, a better car, a bigger house, more fashionable clothes, in my house, even being a better fighter (harder) was supposed make me happier. Luckily that’s all behind me now (my  up bringing), and my son’s have certainly never had a whiff of such nonsense. If you can find some happiness, you’re rich, and you’re richer than most, because to me, it just “feels” like there ain’t (I know that’s not a word) a busting lot of true happiness in society. Except on Twitter of course 🙂

The picture slide show below was put together by Benjamin Ellis (great man). The pictures in the show were taken by Paul Clarke, Ilicco and Benjamin. I hope you enjoy the slide show. I like listening to the track from Elbow, performed with the BBC Concert Orchestra (I trained at Ashridge Management College with a wonderful man from the BBC Concert Orchestra team) – One Day Like This.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “cozytweetup tag“, posted with vodpod


3 Comments

Is Twitter a real community?

Let me start by looking at two definitions of Twitter:

  1. Twitter.com defines itself as a social messaging utility for staying connected in real time.
  2. About.com expands this definition: it’s miniature blog, a social messaging and news reporting tool and is used for social media marketing.

I would also include that it’s a network building tool where people ‘like you’ can discuss anything (in 140 characters) and take an online relationship offline via conferences and tweetups.

My thought
I’ve been using Twitter daily for a few months and have seen people using it for different things: heated discussions (Twitter doesn’t lend itself very well to following these threads), asking questions, arranging meetups or conferences and up to the minute news stories (e.g. Iran election, Michael Jackson’s death). I’ve met a few people on Twitter that perhaps I would have never met in the normal course of my life – very interesting people and not those in my industry. One of those people is Daren (@DarenBBC) whose analogy of Twitter is the easiest one to understand and goes something like this:

Map in a pub

Image from Steven Carver - Flickr.com

Introduction
You move into a new area and go to the local pub that’s nearby. You order your drink and sit down. You watch people and observe how they interact with each other. You finish your drink and go home. You return the following day and do exactly the same as the day before. You go through the same routine for a few days even weeks. By observing those around you, you form impressions and you know which are the people you want to avoid and which you’d like to talk to. One day, you go into the pub with the intention of starting a conversation – these people are not at this specific moment in time, your friends – but you do engage in a conversation.

Integration
So, you’ve been going to the pub regularly and the people in the pub have become your friends. These are the friends that are happy to see you as soon as you walk through the door, that will talk to you about anything that pops into their heads or who include you in the conversation they’re having with their friends. Some nights you go in and the pub isn’t full of any of your usual friends and other nights, the pub is the place to be – full of fun and banter.

Missing out
We know the obvious thing that happens when you don’t go out to the pub is that you miss the conversations your friends are taking part in. You miss the gossip, the invitations to events, etc. but you don’t worry because you know that the next time you see them, if it’s really important, they’ll fill you in. The unimportant things will be left unsaid – they only filled the gaps throughout the night any way.

For me, Daren’s analogy is perfect – someone explaining Twitter in a way that’s easily understood!

The missing bit at the introduction stage
Daren’s analogy covers people who engage with Twitter after a while but what about those who don’t. Going back to the analogy, you get some transients – those that either accidentally stumble across the pub or those whose friends have recommended it. These people may pop into the pub to have a drink and they may never come back. Can we entice them back? I guess that answer needs it’s own separate post.

Popular kids on the block
Of those new people that have moved from introduction to integration, hopefully very few, if any, will be exposed to an uncomfortable scenario. It’s the one where the ‘popular’ people won’t allow any new people into their circle (unless they’re popular too). I have noticed the cliques forming on Twitter, it may have something to do with the fact that I’m new to the area. The characteristics that I’ve found are that they have a managed to get a huge number of followers yet they only seem to engage with a few over and over again and do not reach out to anyone else. There are exceptions to this and I don’t want to say that everyone that has a huge number of natural followers behave in the same way, some are extremely inclusive.

Community leaders?
I’d like people, who have experienced the benefits of Twitter, to reach out to newbies, to try to engage with them – not all newbies feel confident enough to approach people with huge follower numbers, after all, they are new in town and observing.

How many times have we heard the following from people who aren’t active Twitter users:

“I don’t want to hear about people washing their hair or about what they’ve had for dinner.”

Yet, some will still go to the trouble of setting themselves up on Twitter. For those of us who’ve been on Twitter for a while, we can see the benefits of the site whether personally or professionally and if we want to help this site grow into a community, we have some responsibility for ensuring we engage new people and that their first experience is so fruitful that they’ll come back.

So, next time you see someone on their own – just say hi. 🙂