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Introducing: A Zen Peacekeeper’s Guide to Twitter

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 by Marianne Elliott

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Twitter-radish A friend of mine recently asked me to explain Twitter to her. She wasn't the first, so I decided to start a series of short posts sharing what I know about Twitter.

These Twitter posts will pop up once a week and although I have some ideas about the topics they'll cover, please feel free to leave a comment with any of your burning questions about Twitter. 

This week I'm starting with the basics. What is Twitter and how does it work?

What is Twitter?

Disclaimer: This is not a technical definition, this is the Zen Peacekeeper interpretation of Twitter!

Twitter is a space where people can connect with each other because they care about the same issues, work on similar projects or find each other inspiring, encouraging or entertaining.

I've connected with writers, literary agents, yogis, Buddhist teachers, humanitarian workers, human rights advocates, creative women and social change agents. I've even connected with other human rights advocates and humanitarian
workers who are also writers, and who practice yoga and Buddhist
meditation. Mind you, I've also connected with people with whom I have nothing more in common than a sense of humour.

How does it work?

It works through millions of individual Twitter members each posting
short (140 character) updates (Tweets) about anything from their thoughts on the
events of the day to their favorite quote about mindfulness. You can include a link in your Tweet, so you draw people's attention to your latest blog post or a great article you've found somewhere.

members can choose to follow those updates. More on following next
week, but the basic premise is that you only see the updates of the
people you are following.

Lots of people use Twitter to promote their businesses and sell
their products or services. That's fine by me because I can choose who I
follow and I only follow people whose products or services, if they
have any to sell, are likely to be relevant to me.

I've used Twitter to:

  • learn everything I needed to know about approaching literary agents;
  • connect with other writers who cheer me on when I'm losing momentum or confidence and for whom I've done the same;
  • help someone find a job in Afghanistan;
  • keep up with and encourage the people who joined me on the 30 days of yoga challenge;
  • participate in a special Twitter chat session with author Dani Shapiro, and ask her everything I wanted to know about her new book, Devotion;
  • attract new readers to my blog and find great new blogs to read;
  • keep in touch with my existing friends around the world; and
  • make new friends, people who share my passion for a kinder, safer world for all and who are each doing something in their own unique way to make that world a reality.

Tune in next week to find out what it means to "Follow" someone on Twitter, how you can choose who to follow and how to get followers of your own. In the meantime, if you are on Twitter connect with me at @zenpeacekeeper.

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9 Responses to "Introducing: A Zen Peacekeeper’s Guide to Twitter"

  1. Christianne says:

    I’m glad you’re doing this series. I’ve been experimenting with Twitter for the last 90 days or so. For the first 60 days, I was going at it pell-mell with no real focus. Then I launched my new blog on nonviolence and have decided to use Twitter (with a different account than the first one I created) to do as you’ve stated above: connect with other likeminded souls, share thoughts on nonviolence and kindness, share articles of interest that I read on the subject, and promote the blog.
    My main concern with using Twitter right now is how to keep up with it. I started working full-time about a month and a half ago. I haven’t worked full time in over two years, and I don’t have time or the mindfulness to check Twitter or post tweets while I’m at work. When I come home, I feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tweeting that went on all day (and I don’t follow that many people yet!).
    How do you keep up? Do you feel the need to keep up? Do you battle that worry that you might have missed some great sliver of gold if you don’t catch up on what you missed?
    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this aspect of using Twitter.

  2. Bea says:

    I used to dismiss Twitter as another frivolous time-wasting device. Then I took a chance and signed up.
    The friendships I’ve strengthened and the new bonds I have forged are alone worth the five seconds of hassle it takes to create an account. The new discoveries, inspirations, connections and endless entertainment are the delicious icing on the top of an already fabulous cupcake.
    Hypocrisy, thy name is Bea. And thank goodness for that!

  3. stacy says:

    thank you, thank you, thank you! xo

  4. […] If you missed it, you can read the first post here: What is Twitter and how does it work? […]

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