Feliz cumpleaños, Twitter!

mymodernmet.com's Twitter sneaker image

mymodernmet.com’s Twitter sneaker image

It’s hard for me to believe that seven years have passed since Twitter flew into the social media arena (the online platform debuted on March 21, 2006; check out this Celebrating #Twitter7 video that details the history).

What about you?  Do you have a Twitter handle?  If so, how long have you been tweeting?  And, why do you appreciate the Twitter platform?

Or, if you’re not yet a Twitter user, why have you avoided joining the global chorus of tweets?

Those who know me might say that I’m a woman of many (many) words.  And, you’ve probably heard the old saying that opposites attract.

Something about the 140-character limit for tweets imposed by Twitter intrigued me from Twitter’s beginning.

I can’t recall exactly when I first began tweeting, but I used TwimeMachine recently to view some of my old tweets, and several of those old tweets date back to 2009.  For example, here’s an example of a tweet of mine from June 4, 2009:

have chuckled recently watching the latest tv ad in Cottonelle’s “puppy at the spa” campaign: http://www.cottonelle.com/ Thu Jun 04 15:27:08 +0000 2009

I would say that I’m “somewhat active” when it comes to composing tweets, however, when it comes to reading the tweets of others, I am, as Jimi would have said, experienced.

Reading and digesting the tweets of individuals around the world on Twitter is usually a thought-provoking and informative experience.  At times, though, the countless chorus of tweets can be deafening, and it’s sometimes hard to filter through all the words and Twitter noise.

Publilius Syrus once said, “Speech is the mirror of the soul; as a man speaks, so he is.”

What do you think Twitter speech says about the soul and identity of men and women today?

When we’re at a point where we can buy Twitter sneakers, there’s no arguing that Twitter has made an impact on our modern society.  The question is:  what kind of impact?

Locusts, Chávez and News in Question

locust image via frenchtribune.com

locust image via frenchtribune.com

Have you heard?  Hugo Chávez is dead in Venezuela, and locusts have invaded Israel.

International news outlets have reported on those two happenings along with countless other occurrences within the past week.

In this era of non-stop, instant news, how do you filter the information that you receive and on which news sources do you rely?

Are all of your news sources online, or do you still read news publications in printed format?  Have you become a digital news consumer?

Mashable reported that, as of the end of 2010, more people were receiving their news from online sources rather than from printed newspapers.

So, if everyone is getting their news online these days, which are the most popular online news sites?

According to the eBusiness Knowledgebase (eBizMBA), Yahoo! News, CNN and MSNBC top the list.  Check out eBizMBA’s Top 15 most popular news Websites list.

And, what about social networks like Twitter and Facebook?  How many consumers today are relying on those sites as sources for news?

In their 2012 report, “What Facebook and Twitter Mean for News,” authors Amy Mitchell, Tom Rosenstiel and Leah Christian reported: “just 9% of digital news consumers very often follow news recommendations from Facebook or from Twitter on any of the three digital devices (computers, smartphones or tablets).”

What about you?  Do you trust the social networks to which you belong as legitimate news sources?

As a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the topic of news and how it gets distributed grabbed my attention and fascination years ago.

As a journalism student, I was taught the importance of questioning news sources and channels and was warned of the dangers of relying too heavily on one source of information to learn the truths of this world.

I wonder if all those folks listening to “state-run” news reports of Chavez’s death down in Venezuela share my news outlook.

The Ultimate Content King

Crown of Righteousness image

Crown of Righteousness image

Content is king.”

If you’re a digital marketer today, no doubt you’ve heard the above statement uttered countless times during 2012.

For marketers, this year has been a year of clear focus on digital content creation.  Just today, for example, I read a Twitter tweet touting “8 Ideas for Creating Content.”

If you’re a marketer, how do you feel about the task of content creation?  Do you think that the task is brand new, or do you think that the task of content creation is actually a repeat of the news gathering techniques of days gone by?

Do you think that the term, “content creation,” is a modern buzzword for an older marketing or journalistic technique, or do you think the term represents a new marketing task or function?

It’s Christmastime, and, as a marketer who is also a Christian, I want to turn the focus of this post away from the idea that content is king.

Rather, I’d like to promote the idea that Jesus is king when it comes to the content of our lives.

King of kings,” in fact.

May His peace be with all of you who read this post.

A Second Hand Post

Handwritten Blog Post

Handwritten Blog Post

Note:  This blog post was originally handwritten.

The January 9 and 16, 2012 issue of Newsweek featured an article by Sharon Begley on how to raise your IQ along with “31 Ways to Get Smarter in 2012.” One suggested way to increase your smarts was to write by hand.  The article suggested that handwriting “engages more sections of your brain than typing” and that you can recall ideas more easily after writing them down.The suggestion made me think and wonder:  beyond the obligatory, occasional thank you notes penned on monogrammed stationery or the checks written for specific personal purchases or bills payments, how often do I handwrite in this increasingly digital world?

When considering my history when it comes to handwriting, I still remember the thrill of being allowed to write in cursive form in the third grade during the early ’70s.  I also remember that my father ,who practiced law in the ’70s, had a secretary who knew how to write in shorthand.  And, I remember the fun of writing in “Pig Latin” with early childhood friends.

I remember the excitement of receiving handwritten “love notes” from classmates in middle and junior high school as well as discovering the art of poetry writing.  And, I can’t forget how “exotic” it felt to communicate via handwritten letters with a French Pen Pal during my ninth grade year.  Such a global communication is so commonplace now, as we live in a world with global Facebook Friends and Twitter Followers.

I can recall handwriting my high school valedictory speech, the verbal delivery of which was preserved in a VHS tape, and how could I forget the countless notes hand-drafted during my college courses or those two-hour hand-written college exam essays?

Though I learned to type in high school, my transition from routine handwriting to the online digital world began with a Brother brand word processor in the early ’90s.  I became fully entrenched in online technology and endeavors when I began working as a communications specialist on the former IBM PC Company division’s internal SAP software implementation.  From that point, my online typing overtook my handwriting efforts.

Over time, many of my most treasured keepsakes are hand-written cards, poems and letters from family, friends and loved ones. I own journals and boxes to store the memorable words that carry so much meaning.

What about you?  What have been your most significant personal writings?  How have you maintained or honored those words?  And, how often do you handwrite today?

Maybe you should write your answers to those questions down.  According to the Newsweek article and author Begley, your brain may appreciate your doing so.

How are you handling Twitter?

Twitter Handle shirtDo you have a Twitter handle (ex. @RuthDobson)?  Have you ever tweeted?  Do you understand the meaning of the word hashtag?

With an estimated 200 million+ global users, Twitter is an online social networking platform of which you’re most likely already aware.

The Trends functionality within the standard Twitter profile allows users to see discussion topics in virtual real-time that are trending and most popular among other users located in different geographic locations around the world.  Basically, the Trends function allows you to quickly and easily discover sentiments of others related to current world events and global happenings, as well as countless past, present and future-related ideas and items of interest.

For example, after selecting the “Worldwide” setting within the Trends function, I discovered that the following topics were most popular among users tweeting earlier today, October 8, 2011:

RIP Al Davis

Do any of the above hashtags or phrases peak your interest enough to search Twitter to learn more?  Or, would you be more interested in seeing topics that were or are trending in your local neighborhood?

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died three days ago, and millions of global Twitter users have expressed their reactions to Jobs’ passing via tweets.  Searching the hashtag, #stevejobs, on Twitter today reveals the continued sentiments of many organizations and individuals in tweets, such as:

BrooklynBrewery The Brooklyn Brewery
Paying our respects to a man who changed the world bit.ly/qwQpdb #stevejobs

Cathy Salazar
Retweet if you are touching an Apple product #SteveJobs #iSad

Declan Cashin
Gawker: What everyone is too polite to say about #SteveJobs gaw.kr/rqD5xV

Beppe Grillo
[Commento] 10 years ago we had #SteveJobs, #BobHope and #JohnnyCash. Now we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash goo.gl/EvYkI

Siegfried Woldhek
A portrait of #SteveJobs. The man with golden eyes http://ow.ly/6RccO

eorlins Eliza Orlins
Walking by the #apple store at 14th street. Moved by the tribute to #SteveJobs. twitpic.com/6wody1

yoanifromcuba Yoani Sanchez
#Cuba I was born in a society where talent and desire to innovate can be politically penalized . But you inspired me #stevejobs

NewYorker The New Yorker
Steve Jobs was a great businessman. But was he a great artist? nyr.kr/o1VesB #SteveJobs

Maybe the most appropriate question to raise is not the question, “Do you have a Twitter handle?”    Maybe a better question is, “Are you using Twitter to search out different perspectives and discover different worlds?”

You can doodle this…you can doodle that…

Yesterday, August 6, 2011, I tweeted about the fact that Google debuted its latest interactive Google Doodle to its site visitors. Yesterday’s Doodle interactive design celebrated what would have been the 100th birthday of comedian Lucille Ball and featured a TV image containing interactive remote control buttons that aired clips from Ball’s famous, “I Love Lucy!” show.

Seeing yesterday’s Doodle, I remembered previous interactive Google Doodles that I have enjoyed viewing.  I was excited to see the initial interactive Pac-Man Doodle that Google released in May 2010 celebrating the 30th anniversary of the popular video arcade game.  And, I had fun using the interactive Doodle that honored the life of American jazz and country guitar artist Les Paul to create my own “Doodle song.”  Beyond the interactive Doodles, I also enjoy viewing the creative images captured within Google’s standard Doodles.

From a corporate marketing perspective,  I have enjoyed witnessing Google as a company achieve success in maintaining its strong corporate logo and brand identity while simultaneously being “playful” with its corporate logo.  I also admire the fact that Google has created its Doodle 4 Google contest for K-12 kids.

On a more reflective note, the Doodles remind me how an attitude of openness to change, of thinking beyond the status quo and of positivity and even playfulness can have far-reaching positive effects in carrying us forward in both the personal and professional realms.  I wonder how many people who clicked the TV remote buttons on the Lucy Doodle yesterday didn’t smile and reflect on past and future possibilities?  I know that I certainly did.

Apart from all of my positive comments above, I do have some questions about Google. I recently downloaded the e-book, “The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry),” to my i-Phone, and I look forward to reading the book and learning more.

For now, I’m content knowing that, like Google’s logo, I, too, can continually evolve, change and refine my perspective.  To put it in “Google terms,” when it come to my life, I can “doodle” this, or I can “doodle” that.  It’s up to me!  So, how do you like my avatar?
Ruth Dobson-Torres’ avatar

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