I guess this is Malcolm Gladwell day. My post this morning was on his 120 Rule. Now this one references the key point in his book, “The Outliers.”
For those of you who haven’t read “Outliers,” which is probably not many of you, a central premise of the book was that to be an expert at something you had to put 10,000 hours into something. He cited Bill Gates, Michael Jordan and others.
But how does that equate to social media and specifically Twitter. As we all know, Twitter is just a bunch of text messages, 140 characters at most, organized and available to who wishes to expose themselves to that litany of literary overwhelm.
Aside from the character restriction, Twitter is pretty much an open content platform. You can say whatever you want. That could be announcing a blog post, announcing your breakfast of choice, retweeting one of your follower’s breakfast of choice … and so on. Some people even use it as a “not so private” communication vehicle.
I’ve followed, unfollowed and re-followed various tweeters over the past few months. I feel pretty good about what’s coming my way right now. Maybe there’s some stuff I can live without, and some stuff I like to know about, but haven’t been exposed to yet. That”ll come.
Tweeting is a skill … an art. It’s one thing to write down what you want to say in 500 words and get your point across. It’s something completely else to do it in 140 character bursts interrupted by any one of your several hundred followers at the time when you’re just making your point. And no I’m not this person. I don’t have several hundred followers. Even the new math of the ’80s won’t stretch my sixty-five that much.
This brings us to Malcolm and Ben. Ben is my daughter, Alex’s roommate and my friend. He’s a video game aficionado, and in fact works for a gaming company and is currently developing his own game.
Ben tweets probably twenty times a day. Normally, there’s no way I’d follow somebody that tweet prolific. But Ben is different. He has a Twitter Tribe of 300 to 400 followers. Many, if not most, follow everything thing he says, whether it’s gaming or his fragmented and enlightening discourse on current events.
For the most part, his tweets are a sequential interactive dialogue on various topics. This dialogue may continue on for an entire day or even more; for example, the Mosque on the 911 site (or two blocks down to be exact) is still going on days into it. His commentary is witty and thought-provoking. Seldom does he retweet, and when he does, often it reinforces his point on the original topic. Ben has refined his Twitter technique through practice and lots of it.
Now, I’m going to add an amendment to the Gladwell “10,000 hour constitution.” I’ll call it the Twitter Amendment. If one tweets 10,000 times … they are an expert!
Ben, congratulations on your 10,000th tweet. You are an expert!
P.S. Ben is @MarcianTobay on Twitter.
I can be reached on Twitter at @clayforsberg