“So what do you say on Twitter?” I’ve been asked this question a lot lately. Or, how about this one: “Why do you twitter?”.
There’s no one way to answer questions like these. To be honest, over 3,300 tweets later, I cannot remember exactly what I started tweeting about back in March 2009. I vaguely remember signing up because Ellen DeGeneres talked about it on her show a lot and I decided to sign up to see what all the fuss was about. For the first 12 months that I had this account, I probably only tweeted a dozen times. But then I found you could link your Twitter account to other apps (if you’re reading this post, chances are you are an owner of at least one app on your mobile phone or your computer!) such as Tweetdeck, Facebook, LinkedIn (a professional networking website) and countless others. Posting photos are easy via sites such as Twitpic or Tweetphoto and videos via Twitvid, amongst many options out there in the world wide web. You want to tweet more than the 140 characters permitted on standard Twitter post? Why not use Twitlonger? It seems where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Gone are the days when apps like Twitter are used purely for socialising. Businesses are taking advantage of this. Recently, I worked for a consulting firm that actively encouraged its staff to Tweet and use Facebook and even has its own Yammer account. At one point I wondered if I was ever going to get any work done from being Yammered at all through the day!
But it is not employers that I am interested in. While most people like to follow celebrities for a peek into their fancy schmancy celebrity world, I have become rather addicted to the tweets from the writers of my favourite TV show White Collar (yes, I am still trying to mention this show in every post!). Its creator, Jeff Eastin, has completely mastered the art of getting fans of the show hooked onto his every tweet, even “bribing” followers with behind-the-scenes video clips and pictures of his stars (sometimes they are even shirtless! *gasp!*). Most recently, he offered to upload a covert video of the show’s two leads, Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay, belting out their own version of Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love of All in between takes (incidentally, neither Tim nor Matt is on Twitter, despite the urging of many fans and fellow cast members), when he reached 6,000 followers. Within half an hour, he hit his target and the video clip was up – ah I do like a man who keeps a promise!
Then there are the teasers he posts, with screenshots from his computer of a script page from upcoming episodes or hints of what to look out for in certain scenes (think “pineapple” – a “shoutout” for his colleagues on another USA Network show called Psych). Certainly the intelligence with which Jeff (see, I’m even writing about him as if we were old friends!) writes is enticing enough to get me to watch his show. The witty banter between the characters is pure gold. But the tweets have got me absolutely caught, hook, line and sinker! When I’m watching, or re-watching as the case may be, an episode, I find myself tweeting the wonderful exchanges between the characters because they are just such great scenes. I could rattle off a bunch of my favourite lines right now but they would not mean much to the uninitiated. But I digress…
So, as I was saying, Jeff offers teasers galore. Since April, when they began filming Season 2 of this wonderful show, Jeff had been tweeting about the guest stars they had lined up (@Tim_Matheson, @JohnLarroquette). Without realising what was happening to me, I found myself looking forward to every tweet, every piece of news about the new season. And I started following other writers on the show – there’s even a group Twitterer @WCWriters – because I just could not get enough of the snippets of the work they were sharing with us “Collars” (that’s what fans of the show are called). What was even more exciting was when Jeff or any of his writers replies back to my tweets! This is what fan mail is all about. In the olden days, as my little nephew would say, you had to pick up a pen and paper and go to the post office to send your letter, and you could be almost certain you would never get a reply. But all that has changed now. It’s fun and it’s addictive. It’s almost…cult-like!
I can just picture a cult meeting with my new-found fellow Collars, with whom I tweet about everything and anything to do with White Collar. “Hi, my name is Valerie and I’m a Tweetaholic. It has been a very very long 4 months since the White Collar season 1 finale, ‘Out of the Box’ aired.”^ In a recent Q&A session^^ with Jeff advertised through the White Collar Facebook page, two of my fellow cult members’ questions were answered and I was so excited for them that I almost wanted to applaud them and these are complete strangers who I have never met but we are all bound by a common addiction that is White Collar.
So, if you want to check out this craze, here are some basics that I have picked up to get you started:
- Go to http://www.twitter.com and sign up for an account
- Tweeting = sending a message, kind of like a text message on your mobile phone
- To “Follow” someone means you can see whatever they tweet
- A timeline is a list of all the tweets that had been sent by someone
- “Trending” means a particular topic is popular at a particular point in time. This is done by marking keywords with a “#”, or hashtag as it is called in Twitterverse
- “When you want to send a tweet to someone, you simply type in “@” in front of their screen name
- You can follow me on http://twitter.com/valshopaholic or just look for me @valshopaholic
- Follow Jeff Eastin on http://twitter.com/jeffeastin or simply @jeffeastin
So let’s get tweeting!
^ White Collar Season 2 aired in the US on July 13th.
^^ The online Q&A session mentioned in this post is now available at http://video.usanetwork.com/series/white_collar/jeff_eastin_interview/season-two-?emc=lm&m=7342&l=preview&v=1348785. Hop to it and jump up with excitement when Jeff answers questions from Claire and Katelyn – my fellow Collars!