After a few months of posting blog entries, I’m still building a base following of interested readers. I’ve been pleased with how Twitter provides a broadcast medium for notifications of new posts.  My worry though, is that I tend to only have time to write these posts in the evening or late night and if I send a tweet to announce it it may never be seen. I think my target audience is fellow business people. Is this group more likely to check their Twitter feed at night, or during the work day?

I call this the Twitter Time Shift because compared to something like RSS which is sticky, tweets seem to have a brief shelf life, especially if the follower has a large list who she follows. There’s a phenomenon here that needs to be fleshed out more.

I suppose I’m looking for feedback.

If you were interested in reading my posts, would you be more likely to see my tweet in the morning or evening?

Is there any stigma to a repeat tweet spread over time? Does it become spam when content is duplicated? What are the time boundaries on this?

I’ll tweet this now, and again in the morning and see what happens. I’m interested to hear comments on the above questions as well as a general review of the content I’ve produced to date.



I was present at today’s NCTC event in Roanoke – Coffee with Senator Mark Warner. The first order of business was to announce the nominees for the upcoming TechNite banquet next month. I regret that I will not be able to attend this year’s event. Congratulations and good luck to the nominees.

The second order of business was an brief Q&A session with Senator Warner. He gave a brief recap of his first 90 days at the Capitol. It was clear he is humbled by the change of scenery between being top of the heap in Richmond and “Junior Senator No. 91 with a basement office” in Washington. Even so, he seems to be glad to be serving on crucial committees such as Commerce and Banking.

He asked all questions to have a theme: “How can he help the greater SW Va Technology and Business community?” I felt his answers were tempered with reality. For a question regarding the credit freeze on seemingly creditworthy, established business, his answer wasn’t “Don’t worry, everything will get better because of TARP”, it was more along the lines of “The banks need to rebuild their balance sheets with the TARP funds. It’s not all going to waste just because it’s not directly being lent out. Give them some time to show the market that they are managing themselves better and can inspire confidence.” This is what I want to see from our politicians: reasoned, pragmatic hope.

Another question that arose was centered around the effectiveness of a particular grant selection process. The Senator’s response was that he couldn’t be concerned about one particular entity’s concern about fairness, but if collaboratively as a group, the community represented by the NCTC could make a case that there was a systematic disadvantage in any bid process, he would track it down. Again, this is what I like to see from a politician. I don’t want promises that seem like our representation is trying to please everyone. I want realism and an appreciation of the common good. It’s also clear that the Senator understands the scale of the Roanoke Region relative to the rest of the country. There was an interesting juxtaposition at one point with comparing Pulaski County to Roanoke/Montgomery Counties followed by a comparison of the RNR to Fairfax/NoVA. It was a somewhat sobering reminder to remind us of our pecking order, but the Senator’s enthusiam towards the region should reassure us that we do have a voice on a national stage.

Jim Schweitzer and Senator Warner at an NCTC Event in Roanoke, VA

Jim Schweitzer and Senator Warner at an NCTC Event in Roanoke, VA - April 15, 2009

The event ended with s brief opportunity for handshakes and one-on-one questions. I used my opportunity to express my approval to him.
I’m proud to be associated with the NCTC today. I enjoyed the event, but more importantly, I feel like we have a voice where it matters. I feel the mutual respect that the members have for each other and the intrigue that outsiders have for the sophistication of technology development in this region. Having an advocate on Capitol Hill who appreciates this as well can only mean good things for our future. Senator Warner’s background in technology business, gubernatorial experience in Virginia, and thoughtfulness and realism make him a great advocate for the NCTC and RNR region.

Twitter, while certainly developing an identity of its own, is usually lumped in with other social media such as MySpace and Facebook. Twitter is an entirely other animal, however. True social media derives its value from the real-life relationships between the users. Twitter, on the other hand gives value to the users because of the desired social connections that become public. There is no notion of a “friend” on Twitter, just followers. This is an objective term that is appropriate in this circumstance. The term “friend” should be reserved for relationships that truly exist outside of the internet. LinkedIn does a great job of enforcing this and reinforcing the concept.

Twitter, in my opinion, would be better described as a “Personality Web“. There are three pillars of equal standing that define an individual (or other entity) on Twitter: Tweets, Followers, and Follows.

The first point, tweets, seems obvious. You are what you say. This is how most people try to leave their mark, and impart their style. There are other aspects of the tweet that define public perception as well. This could be frequency of tweets, frequency of @ replies, re-tweets, content of posted links, etc. There’s no right answer on what the correct ratios or content should be. Twitterers should just be aware that in addition to what you say, your overall patterns of tweets serve to define you.

The second point, followers, is also fairly obvious. I would venture to say that most users of Twitter are putting themselves out in the open in the hope that the rest of the Twitterverse will find them interesting in some way and add them to their follow list. I am impressed by those with leagues of followers who are not the everyday name celebrities of the real world. I would conclude that these people have found the sweet spot on point number one.

The third point is probably the most overlooked. Who you choose to follow defines your personality as much as what you say. The meaning of this is clearer with a small number of followers. If you see the list of celebrities and companies a person follows, then you get a good sense of their interests. In a way, Twitter might be seen as a Create Your Own Reality Show device. The ratio and volume of types of followers has an effect as well. My opinion, but a real example of this effect, is that my impression of those who follow an extremely large number of users (I don’t know what the critical mass is) is that they can’t possible be that interested in any particular set of users. Sure, there are tools that one can use to filter the tweet streams, but it seems like the point has been missed.

A fourth pillar, which maybe isn’t as meaningful but still has an effect, is the Twitter username itself. I think the creators of Twitter understand this because twitter is one of the few applications I’ve seen where the user can change their own username. It seems the norm is trending towards Twitterers using some form of their own name instead of the historically popular “handle” approach. In my case, I noticed a big uptick in my own presence on Twitter once I changed my username from yankeehoo to JimSchweitzer. This again reinforces the notion that Twitter is about personality first an foremost.