I find it hard to believe I've been knocking about/wasting time on Twitter for a year. To mark the occasion here are a collection of posts written over the last year to try and make sense of it:
1) Twitter as a symptom of "Broken Britain"
2) Twitter and Politics
3) Daniel Hannan, the NHS and Twitter
4) Social Media and Business
5) Twitter Vs Trafigura
6) Stephen Gately, Twitter and the media bubble
7) Rage Against the Machine and Internet Radicalism
8) Top 100 Tweeting Bloggers
There are a couple of other things I'd like to touch on.
Firstly, it has changed the way how I experience the internet. My Twitter feed acts as a one stop shop for news, latest blog posts from others, short commentary on current affairs, gossip, critiques, and banter. It might be hyperbole to describe it as consciousness-changing stuff but via Twitter you can feel plugged into a collective thought process. Nothing else offers a better snap shot of what a particular population (in my case, socialists, activists and bloggers) are thinking.
Second, it's difficult to say how Twitter has impacted on the fortunes of this blog. At the moment my account, @averyps has 1,264 followers. In Twitter terms that is a lot. According to a (dated) report from social media firm Sysomos, almost 94% of users have 100 or fewer followers. But as you can see from the top 100 list of blogging tweeters above this number is chicken feed compared to some.
I tweet every new blog post, but generally they bring in less of an audience than incoming links from Socialist Unity and Dave Osler. But I did say generally. If you post something and tweet quickly on breaking news, that can drive traffic your way. For instance, my recent post on Michael Foot appeared a couple of hours after his death was reported. It attracted a higher than average number of visits from Twitter but had it appeared earlier I'm convinced more would have dropped by. Another example was my my defence of No2EU. This appeared and was promoted on Twitter at the time there was a real frenzy over the election of Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons, and some were pointing the finger at No2EU for letting the fascists in.
So using Twitter for blog promotion is not unproblematic. It's never a case of tweet it and they will visit. If you want to maximise visitors, you have to take the time to get a feel for your followers.
Third, while Twitter followers do not automatically translate into viewing figures for your blog it can raise your profile and promote name recognition. I imagine most Twitter users take an interest in who's following them. Every time my followers increase I look to see who's given me a punt. If they're obviously a spammer or a self-proclaimed social media guru I don't bother investigating further. But if they're a political person with a link to their site I always click through. I might not end up following them but at least I have an idea of what they're up to. And I imagine the reverse happens every time I follow a new person.
So there are a few reflections on my one year on Twitter. I'd be interested to hear what readers think about their experiences - has it helped your blogging? Has it made networking between activists easier? Has it helped change your political views in some way? Or do you find it all bewildering and/or pointless?