Friday, April 08, 2011

Twitter Trepidation

"Dr. Wes, I've done Twitter before, can you show me what I need to do?"

It was easy, I helped her sign up, showed her how to send her first tweet to me and sent her one in turn. She giggled. I even showed her how she could send a more private "direct message" and how to search for things using hashtags. I then demonstrated how she could take URL's of a favorite webpage and place it into the dialog box and, presto, the URL would be shortened and the link shared with the masses.

I even became her first follower. "Now everyone will want to follow you," I joked.

She was thrilled to have learned so much so quickly. Yet anxious. "So that's all I have to do?"

"Pretty much. You'll get the hang of it in no time!"

No one explains the psychological cost of Twitter to first-time Twitter users.

She went home and logged on with her own computer, just to be sure she could remember how. There it was, her first tweet and my smiling avatar off to the right in her follower column. She logged off.

She came back a few days later just to look, not sure what to do. No change. She was relucatant to send another tweet. What should she say? Will I sound stupid? Why would anyone want to know what I think? She looked at her lone follower and wondered, is having lots of followers the good news or the bad news?

Until.... one day some time later.... she logged on and there it was:

... her second follower.

"What? Who's that?"

She had no clue. She knew she was going fishing in this great pool of social media, but no one told her there would be minnows nibbling at her toes once she waded in. The unexpectedness of it. The terror.

Having another Twitter follower means, implicitly, you're obligated to lead doesn't it?

Caveat emptor, Twitter newbies.


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