What’s To Be Tweeted?

What are these rockin' robins tweeting? He rocks in the tree tops all day long
Hoppin' and a-boppin' and singing his song
All the little birdies on Jaybird Street
Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet

"Rockin' Robin,' by Bobby Day, made immortal by Michael Jackson

From Anne Clelland:

“I’m a reporter,” I heard someone say as I listened to my voice mail.  “I read your tweet.  I’d like to follow up with you on a story I’m doing.”

Uh-oh.  Which of my tweets on Twitter had attracted a reporter’s attention?

My mother told me, “Never write anything on paper you can’t have the whole world read.”  Z. Kelly Queijo derived rules for the use of social media based on similar wisdom from her mother.  Gary Cope became thoughtful about his social media content upon learning his new boss uses Facebook and Twitter.  Mine is not a publicly traded company, so I don’t have to worry about SEC regulators following me on Twitter.

I’ve been mindful of the content of my tweets.  They still attracted attention.

What’s to be tweeted?

I wrote that Twitter is my downtown – a commercial district, an economy – so I try to contribute to a downtown conversation.  My tweets seem to fall into several general categories:  I tweet about my business, my clients’ businesses, businesses in my locale and in my social-media-made global economy, a charity event I’m helping organize, links to thought-provoking posts or stories, personal insights when I have them, and occasional personal news when, for the intangible ways that social media creates a sense of human connection, because I feel called to share.

Tools exist to follow lots of people and sort their tweets by keyword.  The tools I use are my own eyeballs and I read the tweets of those I follow.  The remainder of my tweets are reply tweets, or retweets of the tweets of those I follow.  My reply tweets are my two cents on a tweet or conversation, or an invitation to converse.  I tend to retweet what I find humorous, wise, moving, or more daring than I would tweet alone.

Maybe that’s what got the reporter’s attention!  I broke my mother’s rule, retweeted someone’s sass, and got in trouble for it!

And, hey, how did the reporter read my tweet?  The reporter is not on my list of followers.

Therein lies the challenge of the use of Twitter.

All tweets, of course, are public.  Globally.  Anyone can find anything on Twitter.

Having followers and being followed on Twitter creates the illusion of a private, downtown conversation that passersby might overhear snatches of, but not really understand.


One of the reasons I feel comfortable using Twitter – most of the time – is because I accept a universal human truth.

I cannot control what others think of me.  Not about how I look, what I say, what I do, what I write, or what I tweet.  No matter how I dress my body, or don’t dress, no matter how I attire my thoughts and feelings in words, or reveal them, someone is going to take offense, disagree, or scoff.

It’s the deal with being human.  And it’s definitely the deal with putting it out there, online or off.

As I approach the milestones of six months on Twitter and 1800 updates and I reflect on my use of this Web 2.0 tool, I am having an insight.

The reason I am willing to write – to tweet, to blog, to use Facebook, to use whatever new Web. 2.0 content tool comes along – is this:

I’m willing to take responsibility for my words.  Both the wise and the foolish.

The reporter?  Lerone Graham, a journalist for @roanoketimes wrote a comprehensive, thoughtful piece and quoted my words.  I am proud to take responsibility for them.


Grateful thanks to William Sydor for the use of his original photograph of robins.

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