Dateline SXSW – Attending SXSW without speaking Twitter is like living life without a radio – in a world where everyone else has one. There is an invisible layer of communication that takes place, and those around you just seem to know stuff.
It’s nice outside, but I want inside information.
As a photographer, I follow the time honored tradition of never declining free food. Or, more accurately, seeking out free food and drink whenever possible. And at SXSW, free food and drinks are everywhere. It is laid out in hundreds of venues around town, sponsored by companies and institutions big and small, as well as states, cities and countries. And it’s frequently popping up at a moment’s notice.
Once inside – free food and drink. Thank you, state of Georgia.
And so I followed the SXSW App, and I searched the web, and I asked around, but a huge amount of it was simply invisible to me. I asked people how they knew where to go, and the universal response was “Twitter.” Of course that makes sense, since this is the place Twitter was introduced. It’s their radio.
Psyche-punk group, La Femme plays at the French Tech House. How can you find this stuff out without Twitter?
I’ve been pushing my blog posts out on Twitter for a while now, but I have not been using it for my own two-way communication. And I didn’t even really know how to find information when I was looking for it. It has become clear that this needs to change.
As Facebook moves farther into pay-for-play, it is less attractive as a channel for professional communications. (And this does not even begin to address the terrible Terms of Service issues.) Twitter is much less controlled – more open. Of course this means that you need a tool to help you make sense of it – some kind of way to tune into the frequencies you want to hear (to extend the metaphor.)
Tweetdeck is one, and that’s what I’ve been using to help me make sense of the massive flood of information going through the service. I’ve started to tune in to the invisible interchange of communication that I’ve been tossing my tweets into. It turns out that there is a world of people responding to my blog, discussing my books, and wondering about stuff I’ve been saying. Who knew?
(Of course, a bunch of you knew. As I look through the notices on Tweetdeck, it’s clear that a bunch of my friends and colleagues have been using Twitter on a daily basis.)
Tweetdeck allows you to separate out parts of your Twitter feed so you can make sense of the constant stream of information. Notifications are showing tweets I’m mentioned in, and Messages are direct messages to individuals. You can see here I made a new friend, possibly leading to free beer.
Not everyone will need to speak Twitter. But it’s looking like a much better bet than any other social media platform, at least for professional communications.