12 August 2008

What Are You Doing? Wallstrip Does Twitter

Okay, this is outside my usual subject matter, but I've been a fan of Twitter ever since Fred Wilson sold me on the microblogging service over a year ago. (You can follow me at greenskeptic)

I know a lot of people who don't get Twitter, including some who are near and dear to me. Most think it's an unnecessary distraction; some actually think it's evil.

I used to think the former, but then I became addicted. After many months of using it, I realized the best answer to Twitter's simple question, "What Are You Doing?" is NOT, "Having a sandwich" or "Drinking my 3rd cup of coffee."

It's also a good idea not to answer, "Having a bad day at the office." You never know who is watching...unless they follow you. Like any communication tool it needs to be used judiciously and thoughtfully. (I've learned that lesson the hard way.)

What Twitter does best is allow you

1.) to stay in touch with people you don't get to see or speak to often -- or meet new people with whom you would otherwise not be connected;

2.) to post quick takes on subjects you are interested in but don't have time to write a blog post about, and

3.) to wrestle with business problems, the answers to which may already be out there in the Twitterverse.

I've even used it to ask my followers -- now over 350 people -- to help name my book or my green energy investing start-up. (More on THAT later...)

Recently, a number of us are using Twitter to muse about the rise and fall (mostly fall) of our stock portfolios and to gauge what others are thinking about companies we are interested in.

StockTwits scans your tweets (as long as they contain a stock ticker preceded by $, such as $FSLR) and automatically indexes and displays them with a chart of the ticker.

Now, two of my favorite addictions, er distractions, Twitter and WallStrip have come together, trying to answer the question, "What ARE you doing?"

Shout-outs to Howard Lindzon and Soren Macbeth, who got me into StockTwits early -- another great distraction, er tool.

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