What's in a Twitter Background

One year, for me, has gone by very fast. It was a year ago that I finally joined Twitter. At the time I couldn't see any real value in it and had to be convinced to join. Once I was in, I went crazy with trying to create a profile, avatar and background that would stand out and tell people that I was someone that they HAD to follow.
That was a year ago and now I have a completely different outlook on Twitter profiles, avatars and backgrounds. Anyone can upload a picture, create a bio and then a snazzy background with all kinds of cool graphics and photos. What has become apparent to me is that it isn't the bio, avatar or background that will compell me to follow you (or for you to follow me). It all comes down to the content of your tweets. Are you an engaging person or do you just drone on without listening or interacting with other people out in Twitterville.
When I look at a person's page, I am more interested in what they are tweeting and who they are engaging with. Some of the more clever bots will interact but they only interact with other bots or random people. It takes some work but it soon becomes apparent who is and isn't a bot.
But I digress. Back to the topic at hand. For me, it is not important what kind of background, profile or avatar is on your page. What is really important to me is your tweets. A great example of this is @Kim. Go ahead and take a look at her page. Interesting isn't it. Did you notice how many people she has following her?
With all of the different software programs and ways to interface with Twitter, people's Twitter pages are only viewed when you are sitting in front of a computer and browsing to their page using a traditional browser. So now when I think back to what I went through to create that perfect bio, avatar and background, I wonder if that time wouldn't have been better spent engaging and meeting new people on Twitter.
Just thinking out loud....
If you have any comments or thoughts, please feel free to leave comments (I promise I won't delete them...really!)

You Can Never Tell.....

Part I
I have to start this posting with a story. This past weekend I was out running errands. While out driving from one place to another, I had a driver in a mini-van start to slowly drift into my lane. I was inching my way to the curb to avoid a collision, thinking that the driver would quickly notice where they were and self-correct back to the center lane. It became very clear to me that this wasn't going to happen so I quickly tapped my horn (twice I seem to recall). This startled the driver who snapped back a hand gesture that wasn't very appropriate or kind. Before I could even react to this, the driver turned left and darted into a parking lot where a kid's football game was about to start. Now I can handle a little hand gesture now and then (well, maybe not) but when the van is full of young children, I begin to wonder what other life lessons these children are learning from someone who they are suppose to look up to for guidance and direction.
Part II
So now I'm thinking about what I see posted on Facebook, Twitter, blogs,YouTube, the list goes on. People tend to say what's on their mind. Sometimes it is positive, and other times it can be cruel and vendictive. You can never be 100% positive that what you read or see is in fact the entire story (or the truth). As I look back at the driver of the mini-van, his reaction to my beeping of the horn was (IMHO) not what I would have expected. The same can be said for tweets, posts or video blogs that I've seen posted (look at all the false reports of famous people dying over the summer). Without knowing the whole story, I can't tell if what I see or read is in fact the entire story. Maybe the driver thought that I was deranged and about to throw down a smash-up derby challenge. Maybe the van was filled with a bunch of wild people who were about to terrorize the park. I will never know the whole truth. What I can say for sure is that any blog, tweet, or post is only one side of the story.
So the lessons learned are:
1) Never over-react to a tweet or blog. In the story of the mini-van driver, my reaction was to mind my own business and keep on driving. As I read tweets, Facebook posts or blogs, I choose to keep my comments positive or silent. Since I don't know both side of the story, I could end up saying something that I will live to regret. As we all know, once it is posted to the digital world, there are no mulligans or returns.
2) Be careful who you choose to look up to and support on the digital roadways. Are they a mini-van drivers on the verge of a nervous breakdowns because the kids wanted to stop at McDonalds before the game or kind and gentle souls who would stop to help the homeless?
I'm not going to dictate to you how to react but at least you know what I will do in Cyberspace.

Stay safe and drive between the white lines.

I could use a little less Spam

Lately, the number of spam accounts on Twitter has reached a point where it is THE place for anyone who wants to sell something to jump on board and make a quick buck. The bad news for those of us regular Twitter users is the number of spam messages that magically appear in our twitter stream is on the rise.
This had led me to a best practice approach to dealing with the spam. You could simply block these users using Twitter or you could Block and Report Spammers using Tweetdeck. This is weapon of choice.
There is nothing worse that getting a tweet from someone that you don't follow and it is an obscure reference to something that you know nothing about. (ok, maybe there are worse things that you could get, but this would be a close second, or third).
I can understand receiving tweets from people that I don't follow when it relates to something that I tweeted about. This is one way of engaging and building relationships. But when the message has nothing to do with life or even something I am interested in, I can only assume that it is a spammer bot in action.
Spammers are employing this technique to make their stream look more lifelike. It is easy to look at someone's Twitter profile and twitter feed to quickly see that they are pure spam. But to look at a feed that has RTs and @ replies make it a little more difficult. Fortunately, I have discovered that there is a trend to these spam accounts. They all use the same tweet messages and are identical. This is a clear sign that I have spammers following me.
My advise at this time is to Block and Report. Don't just ignore them and let them continue to follow you for a day or two. The more people that report these spammers, the faster Twitter will get their accounts shut down. I know what you are saying. They can just start another account up. True, but if you block them enough, they will stop trying to follow you. This practice seems to be working for me.
Oh, and one last thing. If you auto-follow, shame on you!