I am approaching a milestone of sorts, so for the fourth time ever I'm going to devote an entire column to me and my Twitter account. It's going to be nothing but navel-gazing today, in other words, just to warn everyone up front (if that headline wasn't indication enough).
The milestone I'm about to hit is sending out my one-thousandth tweet. Or, to be more Twitterlike, my 1000th tweet (or maybe even just "1K tweets!"). That seems like a lot of tweets to me, but then I wouldn't be surprised if that's a normal monthly count for some Twitter users. I'm hovering right around 450 followers, and this column is specifically written to each and every one of them.
Hello, Twitter followers. Thank you for following me. Don't think I've ever said that to you folks, so I'll start with my appreciation to all of you. Other than people I previously knew, I have only met one of you in person ever, when I was checking in to a Netroots Nation conference and you responded when I told you my name: "That name sounds familiar... oh, that's it -- I follow you on Twitter!" I think I was probably the more astonished, as it left me speechless other than to mumble a thanks. A follower? Never thought about meeting one before, so I had no idea what to say other than "thank you!" I should mention this was back when I had far fewer followers, so the idea of crossing paths with one had never even occurred to me.
As I mentioned, I have written about my experiences with Twitter three previous times: when I was considering whether to join Twitter (in August of 2009); when I actually opened a Twitter account (in November of 2009); and when I shamelessly trolled to get a 100th follower (in September of 2010). In the second of these, I set my own terms for joining Twitter:
I will make a promise which basically defeats the whole purpose of Twitter in the first place: I will never post any Twits other than notices that a column has been posted here. So ChrisWeigant.com readers should not in any way feel obligated to follow me on Twitter, because you won't get anything more there than you'll already get here. My Twitter usage will be solely as a glorified RSS feed, in other words, to notify those who are interested that new columns have appeared.
. . .
I will answer no personal messages sent to me on Twitter. I simply haven't got the time, what with everything else I do on the computer, sorry about that. I may read them, but you'll never get a response.
I am not now following anyone else. I may decide to do this in the future, if it turns out to be handy, but I am making no promises. I am leaning toward following no one, in true democratic style, because that way nobody will feel left out (or, perhaps, "everybody will feel left out" -- either way, it's nice and non-discriminatory). But I reserve the right to change my mind on this one later.
For the most part, I have stuck to these basic rules. My Twitter feed is an easy way of being notified that I have published a new column. I try to send these out every day, but occasionally I forget and have to send out two the next day (sorry about that!). I have answered a very few tweets, in fact I could probably count them on the fingers of one hand. But I do read every tweet or retweet sent my way, so even if you didn't get a response from me, I did read what you had to say.
I still am not following anyone else, because if I did so then my entire day would be reading what others are saying about politics, instead of writing about it myself. I've taken a look at how many different types of people use Twitter and see how it could indeed provide useful information to me, but I am still too scared of being sucked in to enormous amounts of time spent each day reading others' tweets.
If I followed anyone, it would be Craig Ferguson (@CraigyFerg), because after spending a long day mucking through the swamp that is Washington politics, he is sometimes the only person who keeps me sane (and laughing).
But I realize that even in the limited way I use Twitter, that I am somewhat of a Twitter moron (Twittdiot?). I fully confess I really don't know what I'm doing. Which is why I'm asking for your help.
As you can see from the tweets I do send, I am woefully unaware of the wide world of hashtags. In fact, I really only know one that I probably have been overusing: #p2. I was told this stood for "progressive politics," although I could easily be wrong about even that.
So my question to all of you is: what other hashtags should I be using? My writing is obviously from a liberal or progressive (yet still reality-based) viewpoint. But I write about specific issues often, and always wonder "maybe I should add a hashtag" but have no idea what to use. And I don't want to misapply hashtags and be seen as even more of a Twittdiot than I currently am, so I just wind up not using any (other than the old reliable #p2, of course).
So, to you hundreds of Twitter followers out there: you have read what I write, so you know what subjects I regularly comment upon. What would you suggest I consider to broaden my hashtag use? I figure if I can get a list of a couple of dozen subjects together, then I can easily refer to it when composing my tweets.
So help me out. Send me your hashtag suggestions!
You can do so in a number of ways. There's Twitter (of course), but if you'd like me to respond to your ideas, I would suggest either posting a comment right here or using the Email Chris page on this site. Because you have to log in to my site to do either of these, I am creating for one day only a "public login" for you to do so without giving me any of your personal information. Use the login: Twitter Follower and the password: tweet and you should be able to post -- for the next 24 hours only! -- in the comments below or in a private email to me (from the Email Chris page).
I'm trying to be a better Twitter citizen, but I need everyone's help to do so. Any other advice for navigating the Twitter world would be helpful, too, but if you've got a hashtag suggestion for me to use, I would love to hear it. Let's see if I can make the next 1000 tweets better than the first!
-- Chris Weigant
Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant