I love Twitter for its variety. In many ways it’s a lot like my favorite programming language Perl, whose mantra is “There is more than one way to do it.” Some people choose the messy, spaghetti code way, while others choose nicely formatted, object-oriented way, even taking it to the extent of protecting it further with libraries like Moose. On the web I can do basic, old-style CGI, or take it as far as a full MVC structured framework using Catalyst (if you don’t know anything about what these are that’s okay – just know that they’re good, and well structured). Perl has both a good and bad reputation because of this, and I like it that way. I like it the same way I like Twitter – there’s more than one way to do it.
That’s why I get so bugged when I see so many people trying to tell me how to write my Twitter stream. Some say I have to have multiple accounts to organize the data. Others say I can’t run ads and my content can’t be promotional in any way. Funny thing is most of those people are promoting something of their own, whether they admit it or not. Personally that doesn’t matter to me.
What matters to me is that I can use Twitter the way I want to. I can write everything in one stream if I want to, or I can run ads if I want to (which actually, I just signed up for ad.ly yesterday to see what it was all about – no one has purchased anything yet though so no worries there, if there ever were any in the first place). I can be profane if I like (but generally I prefer not to, just like real life). I can even retweet the way I like to. The cool thing about Social Media is we all have our own purposes and our own ways of doing things and when we do such we use the best tools for the job. The great thing about Twitter is that it allows us to do such. I use Twitter the way I use Perl, however I want to and what works for me – and I get criticized in the same manner. There will always be a critic of the way you use Social Media, just like there is always a critic of how I write Perl.
And I’m okay with that.
The fact of the matter is I’m interesting because I’m ME. Hopefully you follow me because of that. If I advertise it’s going to because that’s something I think will help pay for me to be me, and it will always be some sort of reflection of myself. If I don’t advertise it’s because I don’t think that’s necessary. If I separate my content into multiple accounts it’s because I want you to find out different bits of information about me in different ways. If I keep it all in one stream that’s because I think that’s the best way of learning who I am. If I retweet it’s for my own reasons, not anyone else’s.
I think we get way too caught up in what we think is the best way that works for us, and thinking others should do the same. What works for me will not always work for you or the next guy. What works for Chris Pirillo or what works for Chris Brogan will not always work for Robert Scoble or Leo Laporte or someone else. We are all unique, and that’s what makes Social Media a beautiful thing. Social Media is all about how you receive, not about how other people give. Receive well, and you will give much. Social Media is all about ME. And you. And him. And her. It’s about connecting Individuals, which individuals are not the same.
And if you don’t like that concept, I’m okay if you unfollow me. After all, there’s always more than one way to do it.