After recently reading the book; "Short Cuts, a guide to oaths, ring tones, famous last words, & other forms of minimalist communication" (by Alexander Humez, Nicholas Humez & Rob Flynn), I find it fitting to talk about how social networking has truncated speech and formality. If brevity is wit then we should be entering the "most smartest" era ever. LOL. But seriously, chances are that in locating this article you did not type an entire URL (the Uniform Resource Locator for the global address of documents on the world wide web).
Our society sets forth visual cues used for signage and way-finding, conversational texting, and other abbreviated shapes and icons. This need has grown out of our have-it-now instant gratification society and continues to shape itself from the existing era of industrialization set forth from WWII.
Each day more icons are added to our visual vernacular. Rarely do you go to the "women's or men's restroom" anymore; rather it's an image of a stick figure girl wearing a dress or pair of pants, respectively. We know to stop when we see the color red (if you are colorblind you know the position of a light or shape of a sign). We also understand technical analogies such as the use of trashcan or recycle bin icon that will lead to the deletion of unwanted computer files.
Working within creative or technological based industries has forced people/users to acclimate themselves to foreshortened acronyms, visual cues and tiny URL links.
Places like "Tiny URL" provide truncated links to allow for the use of a maximum allowable set of characters within chats, tweets and blog conversations.
This is important when you have something to say in Twitter, for example, which only allows for a maximum length of 140 characters.
More than 60 percent of Twitter users in the US fail to return the following month so the retention rate is dropping. Is this because we can't keep up with sandwiching our posts between our ever-increasing 50-hour workweeks (good thing computers came along to make our work life more "efficient", right)?
If you seek using Twitter for a more career-oriented use, here are some thoughts to help you get more bang out of the tweets you do have time to post:
1. Behance yourself
Learning to cross-reference is an important thing in social networking. It saves time and gets you more exposure. Facebook, for example, retains users the added ability to send short status messages providing monologues that can turn into longer conversation treads with fellow friends. It also has the added benefit of allowing for shared pictures and added tags on images. You can befriend social organizations and connect with people that you might not usually "hang out" with in life. Companies are hopping on the bandwagon to get both Facebook and Twitter more involved in increasing these sorts of networking options. If you are an artist you can add yourself to sites such as "Behance". This site allows you to connect with other users in related creative areas that you outline and allows you to link to a gallery of your work. Keep in mind that if a picture is worth 1,000 words then there are a lot of vital tweets in just a single portfolio image link.
2. Follow the like-minded
You can track your popularity with places like "We Follow", a site where you can add your top five tags of how you would like to be "labeled". This adds to your tweet-able exposure allowing for more related social networking connections. Your labels cross-reference you to other fields of related interest, which in theory will lead you to more followers.
So who has the top followers? "We Follow" shows the number #1 followed person in the world to be Lady Gaga (ladygaga) with 7,101,716 followers, upstaging Britney Spears (britneyspears) with 6,277,271 followers and Ashton Kutcher (aplusk) with 6,051,205 followers. President Obama is ranked #4 with a lowly 5,905,271 followers.
3. Choose your words wisely
I myself have a Twitter account but use it only to post design and social networking articles. While others may talk about their previous evening's drunken escapades or amazing toilet manor, I choose to stay more focused on my professionalism. That said, the tone of voice when you send a quick update cannot always be seen. Choose your words carefully and make them count. Beware of posting touts about bad days at work or employee encounters, it seems like common sense but some people get caught up in the moment.
4. Choose your friends wisely
If you are looking to follow a friend with like-minded interests, check out some of their previous posts prior to joining up with them. Coinciding with #3, the friends who link to your tweets and share their unruly short stories are a reflection of yourself. Whether or not you hang out with the people you befriend, you are joining an online organization that isn't afraid to share what is sometimes inappropriately on a users mind.
5. Don't overdo it
All forms of social networking lead to great ways to connect with perspective friends and employers. It's a way to share yourself and your passions but don't let it get in the way of living life. Prepare yourself for the moments when twitter is over capacity or for when hackers take over (like what happened with a temporary out-age in 2009 for Twitter). We have become a society which texts more than talks. The value of voice, tone, and the interactions that happen in face-to-face conversation are a vital part of our growth as a society. Don't dependent on the interconnectedness of social networking to do all the talking.