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Twitter and the bi-directionality of Web 2.0 November 23, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, random thoughts, Twitter.
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While this week (and weekend) has been incredibly busy, I still managed to see Joe Solomon and Jonathon Narvey for a really quick coffee. Both Joe and Jonathon live fairly close to me, and we tend to hang out at JJ Beans. It’s such a cool coffee shop. They were there to play chess, and I just did a mega-ultra-quick visit to catch up with them in real life.

At some point in our conversation a couple of nights ago we discussed the bi-directionality of Web 2.0 and Twitter. I indicated that in fact I DO know many, many of my Twitter friends in real life, and that I’m actually friends with them.  Karen Parker and I mentioned it to Shane Gibson at the recent Tweetup: our usage of Twitter is much more social and less business-oriented. Arieanna and Ianiv mentioned this point to Ianiv’s family one night when we were having dinner: we have been able to develop our friendship through the use of Twitter, because it keeps us connected even though we are in remote places.

David Drucker actually suggested this theme as a potential topic for Northern Voice 2009: how to stay connected when you’re far away (if you remember, I was away from Canada this past summer for about 1.5 months to attend a funeral and be with my family). Even though I wasn’t really in Vancouver, I kept my connections with my friends through Web 2.0 tools – Twitter, my blog, GTalk, Flickr, etc.

One element that Jonathon, Joe and I were musing about is the need for bi-directionality in Web 2.0. In the case of many politicians, their use of Web 2.0 was dismal. Broadcasting your very next move is not what Web 2.0 is all about. It’s about bi-directionality. You speak, I answer. You drop a comment on my blog, I respond (or I monitor the discussion so that I can jump into the conversation at some point). You tweet at me. I tweet back. It’s a 2-way street. I just hope politicians and newcomers to Twitter and the rest of the Web 2.0 applications can understand that.


Steve Jagger’s talk about Twitter – Vancouver Real Estate Tech Meetup November 7, 2008

Posted by Raul in Twitter, Vancouver Real Estate Tech Meetup.
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I usually attend this meetup because I have a lot of friends (the organizers included, Shane Gibson and Steve Jagger) who are either realtors or do tech stuff for realtors. Steve gave a quick talk followed by a question answer period on our beloved micro-blogging platform, Twitter. These are my notes of Steve’s talk

Twitter is a microblogging platform, but has evolved into a communication device. Twitter allows you to communicate with people you find interesting. Steve uses the Favorites function to engage with new people and stories (Steve talks about how he got an interview with The Vancouver Sun on Twitter precisely through Twitter itself). You can make stories happen.

Search.Twitter.Com (formerly known as Summize) is a tool that allows you to search the conversations happening on Twitter. You can see other’s public conversations, and through that, you start creating conversations and new relationships (that may lead to potential business). Start following people and engaging with them, and the relationships will come.

The concept of Tweetup – a gathering (mostly impromptu) of people who use Twitter and may be geographically close to you. Shane explained how he got involved with the China Speakers Bureau (he started following them and writing blog entries, etc.) Tom also explains how he got appointments to the National Real Estate Association.

Shane also commented on the fact that realtors should be on Twitter to signal that they are early adopters. Also, Ubertor and Twitter can be integrated.

Another tool that Rodney and Steve showcased was Twitterlocal – that’s a tool that allows you to find people who tweet within the same geographical location that you are.

If you’re following noisy people (I am one of them, hehe) you can use TweetDeck. Also, I emphasize that part of Steve and Shane’s success (and many other real estate tech people) is that they engage with people as human beings, not only as realtors. [Raul’s note as well -A great example of this are my friends, like MJ Ankenman and Matt Collingem Yam de la Peña, Kye Grace, to mention but a few. I would have never met them either if it hadn’t been for Twitter. Same goes for Steve and Shane]

I really enjoyed Steve’s talk, and was particularly amused by the fact that, while many realtors were already on Twitter, many were on the fence. Hopefully Steve’s talk helped them decide to join!

Beyond national frontiers with Twitter October 12, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, Politics 2.0, random thoughts, Twitter, Web 2.0.
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Credit: JMilles

Yes I know I tweet. A lot. With over 9,000 tweets since April 2008, I have no clue how I have managed to actually maintain my followers. You are too kind! At any rate, while I was in Mexico I started thinking about following some people there but then I unfollowed them as I figured that I wouldn’t be staying for long and thus it was kind of pointless.

Through my tweeting, I’ve discovered that I now have followers not only from Canada, but also from the US, United Kingdom, Mexico, and that’s kind of neat to me. Because I sincerely think that Twitter should trascend domestic frontiers.

I know that I shouldn’t care about my stats but since I was asked to provide some metrics of traffic, I did a quick Alexa search and found out that about 30% of my traffic comes from the US. Nice! To be quite frank, I didn’t even think anybody read my blog in the US (seeing as the vast majority of my writing is fairly hyper-local, e.g. Vancouver). But I’m glad people do, and I’m glad I am able to provide some content that can have wider appeal.


Credit: justj000lie

On a semi-related tangent, I also have to say that I’m glad that Elizabeth May (leader of the Green Party and candidate to Prime Minister of Canada) is interacting with her followers on Twitter (@elizabethmay). I was very impressed with the way she conducted herself during the debates, and I have several very close friends of mine who are friends with her (or at least know her very well).

Witty tweets September 10, 2008

Posted by Raul in random thoughts, Twitter.
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I use Twitter both as a tool to interact with my friends as well as a tool to reach out to a broader public. I’ve programmed TwitterFeed to publish my posts (I can’t use WordTwit because I’m not self-hosted yet). Usually I make a concerted effort to write funny tweets, because honestly, I really appreciate reading one, but I’m not always as witty as some of my readers and follows.

some fave tweets

I uploaded some funny tweets (you can check my Favorites on Twitter) on my Flickr account, so this is only a sample. A recent really funny one that Lorraine (aka Raincoaster) published recently was this:

raincoaster Web 2.0 Shirley Manson says: Stupid Twhirl! about 7 hours ago from web

I figured that we could start a thread of witty tweets for singers and songs and Web 2.0 (like Lorraine did here), but I’m not witty enough. Any ideas?

New to Twitter? Use a Twitter client August 28, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, Twitter.
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I know that Rebecca has compared Twitter clients at some point, and I recall a post by John Biehler (that I couldn’t find) and one from Gary Jones by BlueFur explaining Twhirl, so apologies if I’m missing another one. Feel free to ping me and say “hey Raul you missed my blog post about Twitter“. I’ve previously written about Twitter etiquette, about the relevance of Twitter, about why I use Twitter instead of Facebook, etc.

At any rate, I recently connected on Twitter with two bloggers whose blogs I read, Sexy In VanCity (by Emme Rogers) and From Sparkly to Single (by Laura Smart) and made a suggestion, that they download a Twitter client. I haven’t tested many, having only tried Twhirl and TwitterFox (given that I am PC-based).

I love the fact that Twhirl picks up tweets where the @ is in the middle of the sentence (e.g. “How was your weekend, @hummingbird604?”). My recollection of TwitterFox is that it doesn’t pick up those tweets where the @ is in the middle, but since I only have Twhirl here, I have no idea.

I love the fact that TwitterFox accumulates ALL the tweets and replies (thus giving me a chance to see what everyone has been doing instead of browsing through pages of the Twitter website). It also reminds me of direct messages much faster than Twhirl does.

I love Summize aka Search.Twitter. You can search for your own @ replies and make sure that you haven’t missed tweets. But I’ve tried it already a few times and it still DOES miss some tweets.


Right now (while in Mexico) I open Twhirl, and browse the website for the last few pages of tweets. I know, a bit of a waste of time, but I feel a tad uncomfortable downloading the TwitterFox extension on my Mom’s FireFox. But last night I discovered she does NOT use FireFox so I might end up downloading the extension anyways.

Anyhow, since this post is mostly for Emme, Laura, Jonathon Narvey (who just recently joined Twitter) and those Twitter newbies (or those who use the web more often), those of you who are Twitter and Twitter-client pros feel free to chime in and explain why you prefer one client over another. And STOP praising Twinkle and Twitterriffic! I *can’t* use them because I’m PC-based! 🙂 (ok, fine… you can talk about them, since I seem to be the only Vancouver blogger in addition to Dr. Beth Snow who uses PC – shame on us – that’s why you need to give us MacBook Pros!)

Being a workaholic AND a blogaholic… June 8, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, personal life, random thoughts, Twitter.
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Hello, my name is Raul and I am both a workaholic AND a blogaholic. I don’t think I had admitted that I was a workaholic until fairly recently. I am trying to update my academic CV and I can’t even remember how many talks I have given in the past couple of years. I am trying to not miss anything, and list everything that should be listed under each heading (journal articles, books, book chapters, etc.)

Furthermore, I have done what my friend HZ says – I have delved deeply into the blogging world and now have become addicted to blogging. Jonathan has written the 50 signs that you blog too much. The sad thing is that breakfast for me is scrambled eggs, toast, coffee and Google Reader 🙂

I am also worried that I have an inherited gene for workaholism. My Mom and I were talking on Skype tonight at 11pm (1:00 am Mexico time). My brother and I are talking on MSN as I write this blog post (1:00am Mexico time). This is insane. I was even planning to stay up (I think I’ll have to. I have a revise-and-resubmit that NEEDS to be published in 2008 so I *better* stay up).

Not in the best mood this weekend despite having had a great time with my friends. I think I’m basically frustrated with my own being not very productive. By the way, Vancouver local bloggers Ianiv and Arieanna are THE blogaholics (note their site) 😉 I don’t think I know anyone who blogs on more blogs than Arieanna!

Self-deprecating post about Twitter and me June 7, 2008

Posted by Raul in personal life, random thoughts, Twitter.
Tags: , , ,

How fun would I be if I weren’t able to poke fun at myself? Yeah, i would be VERY boring. Since the image I am going to link to is probably copyrighted, I won’t lift it off of the site. Instead, I will kindly ask you that you go and read the card and then come back. Done? Cool 🙂

Mostly, I take Twitter as a conversation tool with my fellow blogging friends. But I frequently joke on Twitter that I am “Twitter spam” and that this may be the reason why some people ‘unfollow’ me (actually I’m pretty certain that’s not the reason, but it’s always fun to say it). The someecards are always fun, sarcastic and give me a chance to say things I would like to say but sometimes don’t know how to say.

Those Twitter interactions May 14, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, random thoughts, Twitter.
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I could fill this post solely with links to other Vancouver bloggers who have discussed the idea of Twitter over the past few weeks (including but not limited to John Biehler, Rebecca Bollwitt, Lisa Bettany, Darren Barefoot, Michael Kwan to name but a few). I won’t do it right here as I need some shut-eye (aka sleep – this post was created last night at 2 am and queued for publication) and I will create another post with lots of link love in a couple of days. However, this is just another semi-explored thought because there is one thing that I’ve noticed on Twitter. Our followers are undervalued. Let me explain.

I joke that I am Twitter-spam, and I know for a fact some people have unfollowed me for that very reason. To my surprise, an equally large number of new followers have started to follow what I’m up to, which is extremely flattering and very nice because, even if I don’t follow them reciprocally, I DO interact with them. Which is the point of my post.

I haven’t created any specific rules of how I Tweet (and whether or not I use the verb Tweet or Twitter – I use them interchangeably). However, I have some semi-formal rules that have somehow managed to follow the positive hints offered by Remarkablogger’s Eight Mistakes Bloggers Make While Using Twitter.

There are some people who follow me whom I don’t follow reciprocally. That’s not because I don’t think they don’t add value. Much to the contrary, I do find their thoughts very valuable. However (and particularly at this point in my life when I am under so much pressure) right now I have a very limited capacity to process how many people I can follow and give them proper attention. Sorry, I am just a human being.

However, I *do* make a point to have conversations with my followers, and sometimes with people who neither follow me nor do I follow, simply because I think they have great perspectives. Sometimes, I’ve had a follower send me an “@” response that simply is outstanding. What can I say? All I want to say is that, if you (like me) are having problems following too many people, then by all means, try to interact with your followers nevertheless. That’s what I try to do, and I’ve had some very pleasant chats with my followers. I’m just saying…

And if you’re interested in following me you can find me at @hummingbird604 on Twitter.

Why I’m probably going to cave to Facebook April 30, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, Facebook, social networking, Twitter, Vancouver.


Photo credit: Pshab on Flickr.

I have been having a wonderful discussion with Beth Snow about the “BC colleges becoming universities” story that has been recently in the news. Beth put it in her Facebook updates (using Twitter to update her Status as she tweets). In just one day, I’ve already had more than 58 views today and about 45 yesterday (some can be due to Twitter, and some can be due to her FB page).

But as we were talking over email, there might be benefits to joining Facebook. So it seems, my dear readers, that after all these years of fighting the Zuckerberg empire, I *might* join Facebook. Possibly. Potentially. And maybe the only FB I will create will be my blogger FB (e.g. not my civilian identity, just the bloggerian one). I haven’t caved just yet for all of you who are right now laughing with evil voice “he finally caved, hahahaha”

Reflections on Twitter etiquette April 28, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, Twitter.

I have only been on Twitter for a *very* short period of time, and I’ve already been followed and un-followed, both by simple strangers *and* people I know. Strange world we live in. Anyways, I was going to write a primer on Twitter etiquette, but realized that it would be such a useless waste of my time, I just decided to read, think and reflect on it.

For me, at the beginning, Twitter was a way to broadcast my newest posts. You follow me? Neat! I can reach you instantaneously (but chances are, you already read my blog through your RSS feed, so maybe I’m Twitter-spam to you). Then, numerous people followed me who I consider friends or with whom I want to become friends in real life. Even more neat! I began following them. We can now have Twitter conversations.

Then two weird phenomena happened. First, I got random people who started following me to un-follow me. Since I didn’t know them at all, I didn’t care all that much. Then I got people whom I actually know and like personally (and whose blogs I read) to follow me AND THEN un-follow me. So what am I now, chopped liver? Hehehe. Admittedly, it did sting for all of 24 seconds. But then I realized that they might have had their reasons to un-follow me, and that un-following me didn’t mean that (a) they liked me any less as a person (b) they liked my blog any less or (c) they thought I was Twitter-spam. Maybe they needed to pare-down their tweets, and I wasn’t part of the Twitterers whom they needed/wanted to read. Maybe they needed a break from my tweets. The reasons are countless, and most likely, nothing to do with me.

I have read all sorts of descriptions by other bloggers of the rules they have for following and un-following, for reading blogs and for commenting on blogs. I don’t really want to have any steadfast rules. Quite frankly, I’ve decided that, since my blog is about my random thoughts, my follows and unfollows should be just as random. One thing though – IF I follow you reciprocally, THEN it means that I DO want to have a conversation with you. So that means, if we are reciprocal in our follows, then I do expect to be able to engage with you in a meaningful way. If for some reason the conversation isn’t going the way we both would like to, then we ought to talk about it 😉

If there is no symmetry in our follows, (e.g. if I only follow you), then the conversation on Twitter isn’t all that relevant to me. Maybe we already talk over email, or comment on each other’s blogs. Or maybe we don’t even know each other! For example, there are a very small handful of people whom I follow and they don’t follow me. I haven’t unfollowed them because I think they got stuff I want to hear about. There are like four people who follow me and whom I don’t follow back. I just don’t know them well enough to reciprocate just yet. The rest, happily for me, is reciprocal follows, so all is good in the universe.

So, regardless of whether or not you follow me or I follow you, if I find what you read in your blog interesting, I’ll continue reading. And if you find mine interesting, I hope you will continue reading. That’s the nature of the beast. Adapting one of the best lines in the movie “Gossip”… “people are people, we do what we do… and then we Tweet about it“.

About the Twitter April 14, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, Facebook, friends, random thoughts, social networking, technology, Twitter.

I’ve been on Twitter for a very short period of time (posting Tweets maybe since last week, or so?). While having lunch with Rebecca last week, I mentioned that Twitter gave me just about the right amount of openness and the right amount of privacy. I am not on Facebook (I actually REFUSE to be on Facebook) but I felt Twitter would give me an opportunity to reach a broader audience. It would also allow me to communicate with friends that I have met through the blogosphere and keep up with them on a regular basis.

Those bloggers whom I’ve now met in real life and, particularly those with whom I have hung out enough that I actually consider friends, will know that I actually do care about what they post on their blogs and their tweets. I follow this philosophy with everything. I care more about the person than the job, the blog, the position, etc. I have good friends who are now famous authors, actors, writers and renowned scholars. Yet, I am more interested in how they’re doing (personally) than I am on whether their latest journal article was cited 10,000 times.

At any rate, I was scanning recent blog posts and came across Darren Barefoot’s post on his feelings on Twitter. I left a massive comment on his blog and I still feel sort of guilty about it, so I just figured I’d post something somewhat funny and related to Twitter.

Rebecca alerted me about this episode of CSI on a comment she left on one of my posts. In this episode, the CSI team is reviewing the Twitter account of a dead victim who (apparently, haven’t seen the episode) was in the midst of a love triangle. Video courtesy of YouTube.

I am not sure if there is or not a lot of exciting stuff on my tweets, but I can guarantee that at least, there will be links to my new blog posts.