This weekend I added a link to my Twitters on the sidebar of the blog. I’m still embroiled in a love-hate relationship with Twitter, enthused by some of the potential it offers and frustrated by its limitations of that potential that keep me from using it as I want.
As someone who has pointedly studied innovation diffusion, it is interesting to see Twitter slowly spread around the world and watch social norms rise up to accompany it. While some tout Twitter as a microblogging tool, its capacity to create social networks through the following of other people is where the most interesting behavioral norms are sprouting. What does it mean to have a follower (someone who reads your updates)? What does it mean to follow someone else (so you read their updates)? When do you want to follow? When should others follow you? And when is it ever appropriate to unfollow someone and stop reading their posts?
Feelings can easily get ruffled when one user answers these questions one way and someone else answers them another. For instance, I got a little irked when someone followed me, I followed them back, and then, after securing my following, they unfollowed me! But with so much information and such limited tools for managing it, unfollowing is going to happen.
Which is frustrating for someone trying to build up an audience. As you develop your voice you want your audience to grow, not shrink. But alas, none of this Internet communication thing is a precise science. It’s not even clear how one should manage their own blog. Should it be all business? Or is there a place for the personal?
I discussed when I launched this blog that I would risk mixing the two together. The risk of doing so is that I may lose the attention of people who only want to read my serious, lawyerly material when I write about other things. On the other hand, there are people other than lawyers who read my blog, people who aren’t interested in the serious material and who only like the lighter stories I tell.
Like my grandma, one of my earliest readers of my original blog. It meant something to me that she read it, and knowing she did helped me to feel connected to her even though I lived far away. As my mind wandered today I was struck with the urge to call her and ask if she’d seen my post about seeing Hamlet because it seemed like the kind of post she’d like. But she never will see it: she died a month ago. And thinking about how I’ll never be able to share my stories with her again reminded me just how much I miss her.