Saturday, May 23, 2020

Twitter | Lefsetz Letter

It’s time for you to get on.

Oh, I know, you’ve heard it’s too complicated, that it doesn’t really matter, you don’t need another social media network.

But forget about all that.

Twitter is the heartbeat of America. Actually, it’s the heartbeat of the world. And you do want to know what is going on, believe me.

Maybe you signed up long ago, during the initial wave, 2010-11. So you’ve still got an account, you can reactivate it, assuming you remember your user name and password. Or you could sign up for a brand new one, it’s easy, like taking candy, from a baby!

Yes, one, two, THREE, just like Len Barry said!

Start with your smartphone. If you don’t have one…well, scroll down further.

You know how to download an app, hell, you’ve got scores of unused ones on your device!

Don’t let that deter you. Download Twitter and put it on the very first screen. That’s right, you don’t want to have to scroll for it. Then you won’t check it, and then you’ll be left out.

So, download the Twitter app. Of course there are other apps that will allow you to use the service, actually, I prefer Echofon Pro on my phone (which you have to pay for!) and I still use Echofon on the desktop, but now it’s buggy.

Well, since I mentioned the desktop… If you’ve got no smartphone, or if you want to be able to check in on your computer too, download the app there. If you’ve got a Mac, just click on the App Store, you know, that blue icon with the “A” in your dock. Or, you can always Google, you can do this too on Windows.

So, you’ve got your app(s). Make that account. Use a recognizable name. You don’t have to, but you’ll want to, in case you ever want to tweet, which you may never even do…unless you’re a hater and want to be anonymous, but if you are you’ve probably already got a Twitter account.

So you’ve downloaded the app(s), registered and entered your info, now what?

Don’t be daunted.

You need people to follow. Just about everybody with a profile has a Twitter account. Just Google to get their handle. It’s as simple as Googling (first name) (last name) Twitter. Or something like that, the handle will come right up. Click on this link in Google, and the person’s Twitter page will come right up, just hit FOLLOW and you’re all set.

Of course you can search for people in the Twitter app, but I do not want to make this complicated.

So, now back in the Twitter app…

Click on the house icon. That’s all you need to know.

A caveat, which I hate to add. Trying to make Twitter more usable, the company has made it less so. What I mean is when you click on your house icon, you’ll see curated tweets. Only from those you follow.

You can click for more tweets at the top of the screen, but that will just be more recent tweets from those you follow.

To get your tweets in running order, from everybody you’re following, click on the star icon in the upper right hand corner of the app and choose “See latest Tweets instead.”

Now I’ve scared you off. Please, DON’T GO!
Worst case scenario, you’ll see a curated thread. That’s not bad.
If you want to avoid this entire issue on the desktop, download Tweetdeck, it’s free, and very good:

And, not to confuse you, but you can download the standard Echofon app, which is free, on your iPhone or Android device and avoid the problem with the Twitter app recents issue.

So, let’s recap.

You can use the Twitter apps. They’re good, but unless you click on the star in the upper right hand corner, you’re not going to see the absolute latest tweets, and you want to, Twitter is all about keeping up to date. The company is employing this curation to make the app easier to use, but you don’t want to use it that way, it’s for dummies.

Oh, hope I haven’t insulted you.

So, now you’ve got your Twitter-reading app on your smartphone. Hell, download both if you’d like. But, to make it easy, I say to go with Echofon:

And maybe you’ve downloaded Twitter and/or Tweetdeck for your computer, cool.

All of the above is much less complicated than I make it, but I want to be thorough, I don’t want you to hit any brick walls and give up in frustration.

So, now that you’re following people…

You’re gonna use Twitter when you’re killing time. Yup, that’s right, that’s when you’re going to check the app. Come on, how often do you do this with your smartphone? Which is why your Twitter app has to sit on the first screen.

And this is all you’re going to do, check your feed. All the other features of Twitter…IGNORE!

There’s news and trends and search and lists…FORGET THEM! If you become hooked and you want to fiddle, be my guest, invade these other spaces. BUT NOT AT FIRST!

Consider Twitter to be your read-only news source.

Oh, that’s another thing, never ever tweet! All that hogwash about Twitter being a social media network of interaction, forget about it. You can tweet, but unless you’re somewhat famous, almost none of your tweets will be read by anybody.

Which brings us to followers. What are the chances your followers will read your tweets? In order to do this they have to make a conscious effort, and chances are your info is not that important to them. So, only a subset of your followers will read what you have to say.

AND IT’S NOT ABOUT FOLLOWERS!! Don’t worry about gaining followers whatsoever, you’re a lurker! And be proud of it! No need to get into any petty wars, and no one cares about your little life anyway.

This is not Facebook, which is about oldsters sharing their lives.

This is not Instagram, which is a place where you brag.

This is not Snapchat, which no one over the age of twenty five can even figure out, never mind be on.

This is about NEWS!

And there’s news in every vertical that appeals to you. And it only needs to appeal to you, you’re not burdened with threads of others that don’t interest you. It’s all you, all the time.

So, first you’re interested in hard news, what’s going on in D.C., the coronavirus. This is where you want to start.

And then there’s the stuff you’re interested in. Like with me, it’s skiing. So I follow ski related tweeters, like @liftblog (all about ski lifts) and @RickysRidge (Rob Katz, head of Vail Resorts) and even Mikaela Shiffrin (@mikaelashiffrin). And I follow even more, I want to know what lifts are running or closed at Vail and…so much more.

But ignore all that. You don’t care about skiing. But you do care about something.

Don’t overwhelm yourself. At first, sign up to follow five people. Once you get comfortable, you can add more.

Now a good place to find people to follow is by looking at what is retweeted by those you do follow. I could walk you through this, but it’s pretty obvious.

So, what you’re doing is curating your own news feed. And believe me, you’ll get hooked. Because you want to know what is going on.

Forget celebrities, other than maybe comedians. You are not looking for canned info, which is what most celebrities purvey on Twitter, if they’re even doing the tweeting themselves. Their feeds are worthless. If you want celebrity info, go to Instagram, it’s all migrated there.

But that’s all hype, pretty much all the time.

But, once again, Twitter is about information.

All that hogwash in the news about Twitter not being representative of America…IGNORE IT! It’s inside the beltway talk from professional writers and pundits who are pissed that they don’t control the dialogue. Meanwhile, they’re all on the service anyway, posting and reading. Yes, it happens first on Twitter.

Do they sometimes get it wrong on Twitter? Of course. But a lot of tweets you read will link to well-known news sources, like the “New York Times” or “Washington Post”…and you can follow them too!

You are now going to the source. And separating the wheat from the chaff. Twitter is where it all happens and it happens there first, and you do care.

I’m gonna give you some people to follow. These are seen as left wing people, but I think right wing info, tends to be spread on specific websites, like Fox and the Daily Caller. And as far as disinformation, swaying people’s opinions…that is done on Facebook, where Zuckerberg controls the algorithm as to what is seen and they charge you to be seen a lot.

Sure, there are ads on Twitter…but you get to see all the tweets of those you follow.

So, if you’re a left winger, follow:






Now Michael Rapino and Irving Azoff tweet occasionally, and if you’d like to follow them:



And you can always follow me, @lefsetz, but just so you know, I don’t tweet much, it’s easier for me to reach people via e-mail, like this.

All the likes, the retweets…IGNORE ALL THAT!

At least until you feel comfortable and want to do more. But you never have to do more, ever! I never like, I don’t get that whole paradigm. But I do occasionally retweet.

And, once again, you are not building a monument to yourself, don’t worry about gaining followers whatsoever.

Is the Twitter learning curve steep?


But you do have to jump a few hurdles, all of which I’ve outlined above.

Which is why the younger generation tends to own participatory media online, they can figure it out whilst oldsters cannot. However, a lot of oldsters have figured out Twitter.

I’ve got no problem with you wanting to stay in touch with your buddies via another social media platform, but that’s not what Twitter is about. Twitter is about feeding your head, giving you information, making you think.

And you need to be on!


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