thinking outside the tank

Twaiku – a haiku in a tweet

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Yesterday I re-invented the twaiku, which is a haiku submitted to Twitter.

I am new to tweeting, the activity in which people who are bored with txtng on their mobiles tell not only their friends but anyone who wants to know, what they are doing, thinking, eating etc. My natural reserve means I’m new to social networking in all its flavours. You could say I’m up to Web 1.8 so far. So, if you already know what follows, please allow me to help the billions who don’t.

Twitter is one of a growing range of social networking tools that connect people globally. It isn’t only the Facebook generation that’s active; businesses, entrepreneurs, and consultants use them to develop relationships with potential customers and spread their marketing and brand messages. To give two examples, Richard Branson has about 11,000 followers (people who receive his tweets) and Stephen Fry has about 46,000. Many of the messages in the Branson twitter simply publicise the Virgin brand, whereas Stephen Fry is his own brand; his tweets are more personal and reinforce the notion that his brain is quite large.

So, if you’re already famous, twits will seek you out and follow your every word. For the rest of us the question is how to be noticed; what would make Stephen Fry follow me? 

There are two parts to the answer; the first is to have something to say which is interesting, witty, or directly useful; the second is to use every available technique to raise your profile. If you have a personal or corporate website, your WordPress blog can have links to it. If you use LinkedIn, as I do, you can publish your blog on your profile. The blog can also direct people to your Twitter, and your Twitter can embed hyperlinks to your webpage, blog, and other networking URLs. In each area you must use whatever techniques you can to get all of your digital assets working together:

  • In a WordPress blog you can add tags to your message. Use as many as are relevant and use words that you think will be popular as search terms – but only if you refer to them in the blog itself.
  • On your blog page, embed links to your own stuff. I point to Coravel and Mobipocket publishing where I sell a few books; I connect people to my LinkedIn and Twitter pages etc.
  • On Twitter, you can embed a hyperlink. However, you are limited to 140 characters, so you can’t have a great clunking URL. Instead, use TinyURL, a redirection service, to create a compact URL for you, and embed that in your tweet (a phrase I didn’t imagine using even six months ago).

Katy’s little brother, in What Katy Did, started a diary one year. The sparse entries petered out into the occasional “Forgit what did.” That, I hope, does not happen to my Twitter. For now, my challenge is to tweet in the haiku format, the aforementioned twaiku, trying to use as many characters as I can. I don’t believe it’s possible to write a haiku that uses all 140 characters, but I’d be happy to be proved wrong – let me know how it goes. Here are my early attempts:

  • Southern Hemisphere: Fry sleeps while we still Twitter, dreaming of black robin (you have to ‘follow’ Stephen Fry to understand this one).
  • Vision 4 Children – wants no child needlessly blind, please help if you can.
  • Haiku refinement – will come with constant practice, and it starts today (A trifle self-conscious and deconstructionist, but it’s early days)
  • Give up that big car – we must learn to tread softly – on our children’s Earth.
  • Toyota Prius – my best mileage to date is – sixty eight point five.

My longest twaiku to date was my first, without even thinking about it. They are easiest measured by the ‘available character’ count, and that one scored 61. Can you do better?


Written by netkingcol

January 14, 2009 at 1:00 pm

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