How Tweet It Is

In 2010, social media on the Internet – especially the Twitter message service – became the buzz. And, this year, came the inevitable thumbs-down on social-media use, especially by business.

So, do you stop what you’re doing? Do you pat yourself on the back for never starting? Or do you forge ahead, because the naysayers are saying nay because it’s now fashionable to buck a trend?

Don’t look at me to give you a totally unbiased answer. I’m on the ‘Net with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and our Stone Business Online website daily. I think that social interaction online works … and if you don’t, maybe you ought to visit the community built by the Stone Fabricators Alliance.

This is Twitter as many portray it. Not a pretty sight.

This is Twitter as many portray it, with vapid content spewed out in a chopped-up language.

Let’s be fair, though. Many of you avoid the thought of using Twitter, mainly because it’ll tie up your mobile phone with thousands of messages. And it can, if you decide to use your cell for Twitter access; fortunately, you can shut that part of Twitter down (as I have) so it’s something you see only on your desktop or laptop computer.

A large number of you out there also believe – and it’s not without some cause – that Twitter is only a way to waste the day in 140-character increments as users babble on about nothing. The problem, though, is that most of you experience Twitter by hearing or seeing controversial or inane messages (or, yes, Tweets) plunked into some snarky commentary (as seen on web blogs) or equally inane reporting (as usually seen on CNN daytime broadcasts).

What if there was a way to see what’s on Twitter without being on Twitter? And what if you cut out the teenage OMG! argot and 3,000 comments on the future of Charlie Sheen – and filtered it to Twitter messages by and for the stone community?

For the past few months, we’ve been participating (along with thousands of other users) in a large online experiment of Small Rivers, hatched by some programmers in Lausanne, Switzerland. The result is a daily collection of Twitter messages about an assigned topic; the mini-messages are assembled into a Web-based newspaper. And, if a Tweet links to a video, there’s a picture on the page with the link.

It’s taken some fine-tuning, but we’ve developed several of these Twitter collections for the trade. Every day, you can see a new edition of:

Sample Twitter newspaperThe NEWEST Stone Tweets Daily, covering tweets of general interest to the stone industry. (The name comes from Twitter’s server computers devouring our first two attempts.)

Stone Tools & Equipment Daily, tracking the tweets from machine and tooling manufacturers worldwide.

Stone Products Update, which adds tweets from producers and manufacturers of surface materials, installation/renovation goods and other products allied to the trade.

And, then there’s:

The Daily Fabricator (Tweet Tally), tracking more than 140 fabricators (and the list keeps growing) with their Tweets.

All the papers are produced automatically by Small Rivers’ program, so there’s no editing by them or by me. Some of the Twitter accounts we follow offer something daily; others belch out something once every 13 months or so, when someone remembers that they have a Twitter account. And the messages can be random and eclectic, from a fabricator praising a tool to an Italian manufacturer linking to a great recipe for chicken salad.

If you’re on Twitter already, email me with your Twitter name. Ours, if you want to follow our regular feed, is @StoneBizMag.

twitter email mini bigYou can sign up to get a daily email reminding you when new issues of the newspaper appear on the ‘Net. This does NOT sign you up for some junk email list; in fact, Stone Business doesn’t even get a record of who’s signed up for the daily notices.

This isn’t a money-making proposition for us. It’s an attempt to tap into a vast flood of information, find the things that you can use, and deliver them in a clear and easy-to-use way.

The volume and value of the collected Tweets varies, but there’s usually something interesting every day. You can decide if Twitter’s worthwhile – and we’re glad to help.

Emerson Schwarzkopf

You can read up-to-the-minute news on the dimensional-stone trade and search the archives at Stone Business Online.

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