I took an internet sabbatical for the weekend. I was feeling sort of wiped out by constant connectivity. AND it was like 88 degrees and sunny all weekend in Minneapolis so I gardened and putzed around in my garage. When it started storming, I went on a Doctor Who binge. The makings of a successful weekend indeed.
Going on these internet-free weekends makes social media and the web feel more like a treat than a chore, which is nice, because that’s what it should be.
It all led me to appreciate some of my favorite tweeters and thought I’d give them some props for being delightful feed-fillers.
FAVORITE INTERNET FRIEND: @jamielikesthis
Jamie Frevele is a writer for The Mary Sue, so you can all me biased about her being a killer writer and tweeter, but just go check out her writing. I promise you’ll agree with me.
FAVORITE REAL LIFE FRIEND: @bodybytish
My friend Tish is relatively new to Twitter, but she’s impressing me everyday. She’s a Minneapolis-based personal trainer, so she posts a lot of recipes and quick workout ideas.
FAVORITE WRITER: @catvalente
Catherynne Valente has written so much good shit, it’s impossible to tackle it all here. So, go read her Lady Geek profile and then buy one of her books. You will love her soon too.
FAVORITE CELEBRITY: @RebelWilson
You may not know Rebel’s name now, but you will soon. You may recognize her as one half of the odd British brother-sister team that made up Kristen Wiig’s roommates in Bridesmaids.
FAVORITE PERSON I ADMIRE: @zenpencils
Gavin Aung Than is the artist behind zenpencils.com, a blog that “adapts inspirational quotes into cartoons.” His source material is inspiring, he’s inspiring. It’s a beautiful mix.
Who are your favorite tweeters?
Twitter amazes me sometimes. Going on and on about The Hunger Games manages to make me happy with every single character I type…
So when things like this happen with fandom, I’m just fulfilled:
@jonmarcbauer Oh! That is such a great question… Maybe: ||| …. What do you think?— Elizabeth Giorgi (@lizgiorgi) March 14, 2012
So I’m thinking… we got to make this happen. Here’s what I came up with:
Help me make this happen!
Not just because I think it’s awesome, but because we have to somehow survive until next Thursday at midnight… together!
I’ve been on a bit of a Twitter rant over the fact that Harry Potter didn’t win an Academy Award. Here’s kind of how it went:
"With HP&DHP2’s 3 losses, the world’s most successful movie franchise of ALL-TIME became the most-snubbed franchise of all-time."— Elizabeth Giorgi (@lizgiorgi) February 29, 2012
I’m still a little irritated.
But it’s not anything a new polka dot can’t solve. Or a necklace from Survival of the Hippest with your Twitter handle or your favorite hashtag on it. They start at $48 for sterling silver.
Let’s go shopping:
Today was my last day at the University of Minnesota after nearly five years working there as a multimedia producer and social media manager. Next week, I start a new job at Himle Rapp and Company, where I’ll work to bring their clients new advice and thoughts on how to use the web to their advantage.
I’m really excited about my new opportunity, but I’m also sad about leaving behind my awesome friends. They’re incredible.
And boy, did they give me a goodbye with pizazz.
I walked into a party yesterday with all these incredible people wearing spectacles (see Drew in his specs at left) similar to mine. Then, they pulled up this incredible web page. All day, they had been tweeting with the hashtag “#LizProud” and my programmer buddy, Pete, built a web page where all the tweets were displayed. I pulled some of my favorites for the photo here, but there were over 200 tweets. As a result, the hashtag was trending yesterday afternoon in Minneapolis.
The tweets were funny, they were sweet and they were touching. I was speechless. And I cried.
My fellow videographer Jack put together a video with my greatest hits, my crafty work BFF Kristin made a Mockingjay cake, my fellow sewer Ranja cross-stitched my 8-bit portrait and countless others contributed to the day with their tweets.
People who know me personally, know that I’m outspoken. I don’t tell this story often, because a part of me wishes it weren’t true, but the truth is that I was repeatedly told as a pre-teen and teenage girl to “shut up.” See, there was this cadre of boys in Junior High who made it their personal mission to interrupt me when I spoke, to tell me to “shut the fuck up” under their breath when I answered questions in class and who were generally bothered by the fact that I knew things they didn’t and I wasn’t afraid to say it out loud.
Young people all have different reactions to bullying, but my reaction was to flee. As soon as I could get out, I tested out of high school and started attending classes at the local community college until I could move to university. I’m endlessly grateful that I was able to get out when I did, because despite all this, I maintained my voice. I’m just as opinionated and outspoken and bold as I was at 15. If not more.
The long-winded reason I’ve shared this story is because reading all these tweets made me realize that I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m loved and admired for being me. With all my opinions and oddities, I found a place where I was embraced. If you’re one of my former co-workers and you’re reading this right now, please know:
I’m so thankful for you. I’m honored and shocked and surprised that you’ve remembered all the crazy things I’ve said. And I feel so loved. I can’t thank you enough for that.
There’s an art to composing a tweet.
You can use as many hashtags as you like, but if you aren’t saying anything meaningful that people actually want to read and then leads them to either:
a. click through to your website
b. learn something about you or your company
c. earn their follow
Then you’ve got nothing.
That’s a lot of pressure. So how do you compose a tweet that does one of those three things? Well, as I usually do, I look for inspiration from other sources.
1. Unfollow useless tweeters. I believe that the things surrounding you impact you. If you’re following crap tweeters, you might be absorbing some of their garbage tactics. How do you ID these people? You know them when you see them: they tweet about lunch, their twitpics are consistently disappointing and they never link to original content.Also be sure to follow small, mid and large competitors. Don’t get in the habit of only following companies or competitors that you hope to be like. Be sure to track down companies that are smaller than you, because they’re going to be trying new things to get attention. The mid-size competitors will tend to be more conservative and more risk-averse, but they can also provide great insight.
2. Save tweets you like. Get in the habit of taking screen grabs of tweets that grabbed you. Every few months, print these off and start to watch for trends. Share them with friends and get their thoughts on what appeals to them.
3. Strive for originality. You know when it’s late at night and you’re sitting around with your girlfriends BS’ing or at the end of the day when you’re at work and people’s true thoughts start to come out? I always feel that vibe would make the best tweets. It’s the attitude of the uninhibited humor that makes it appealing in real life. It stands to reason that much of this can translate to tweets.
Need inspiration for something? Send us your biggest inspiration pitfalls to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to help.
Tiffany Shlain is someone that I admire greatly because her output is incredible. Her film-making career isn’t even the beginning. She founded The Webby Awards, runs The Moxie Institute and is an avid Tweeter.
A graduate of the film program at UC-Berkley, she gave the commencement address there last year and it’s still a point of inspiration for me. Take a look:
Shlain’s most recent endeavor is a documentary called Connected, which chronicles her experience with being connected to and the desire to disconnect from our interconnected world thanks to the internet.
As Tiffany says in her commencement address as Berkley:
"All the women graduating today, we are only here because of what our mothers and grandmothers did. Now they’ve blazed a trail, but we definitely need to make that trail wider. We need to make more space for women in new roles in society."