Does Twitter Build Relationships that Draw us Closer?

Does Twitter Build Relationships that Draw us Closer?

– by Timothy Caron

In a recent article from the New York Times there is a lot of talk about the latest digital fad — “ambient awareness.” Being aware of hundreds or even thousands of other people’s lives, while still not knowing any of them.

So what is Ambient Awareness?

Kevin Thomspon (who has had a great deal of online teaching experience) states,

ambient awareness is ‘social presence,’ the connections with and awareness of connections within a group. This awareness creates a feeling of intimacy and community.

If we dig a little deeper into this type of awareness we find that Twitter is not just a community, but as Harold Rheingold puts it,

it’s an ecology in which communities can emerge. That’s where the tweets comes in: idle talk about news, weather, and sports is a kind of social glue that can adhere the networks of trust and norms of reciprocity from which community and social capital can grow.

Connecting on Twitter

Connecting on Twitter

We recently did a search for the term “Ambient Awareness” on Wikipedia and did not find anything for the exact phrase but did find something rather interesting in regards to “Ambient Intelligence” (which refers to electronic environments) when you read a little further in the definition we find that the electronic environments are not that far from a human environment, at least in regards to Twitter.

Here are some parallels to try and help you understand what I’m trying to get at.

Say for example you have a computer chip and that chip consists of many connections to different parts of your computer. This is called “networked integration.”

Twitter works in very much the same way, if we connect with our followers we in essence are building connections. And this is what Twitter should be used for.

The content that we put on twitter allows others to form an opinion about us, which makes it more personal, which then in turn allows us the opportunity to learn how to adapt or become more aware of the nature and demeanor of each person we come in contact with.

This starts the process of building relationships. When that relationship has been built, then we are better able to help or provide the information our followers are looking for.

So in answer to the question, Does Twitter Build Relationships that Draw us Closer?

If it didn’t draw us closer you would not be reading this post right now. Case in point.

But think of this…
As you communicate your thoughts and ideas to your followers, think about how they perceive you and start tailoring your tweets that would engage your followers to respond to you. Without that response, there is no connection.

Think about this,
What would happen if you never spoke to the girl or boy next door, your teacher, your parents or even your doctor, would they ever get to know you or even build a relationship with you.

What’s your take?
I’d love to hear your comments.

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4 Responses to “Does Twitter Build Relationships that Draw us Closer?”

  • Well it is an interesting question and I am sure for many it does.

    I have 4 twitter accounts one with 28000+ followers @rictownsend and a couple of about 2000 followers (one for my main site and one on resume writing and job search tips) and then a small one with about 45 followers on Twitter tips.

    I think the point is also how many actual readers you have, for example I do get involved in DM’s with the large account and often people go to my career success blog and website from Twitter. I also, on the main account, get RT’s if people like what I have said, or they like a third party article or video on management or leadership or whatever. If we are communicating I guess we have built at least a rudiment relationship.

    I think if you want to build strong relationships as your primary goal on Twitter you should follow no more than about 100 people, always respond to their messages in person and RT the stuff they write that you like.

    I am also a member of other social sites and on some a few people write/email and Skype each other. Relationships are built around common interests and trust and in the virtual world in particular it takes time to especially the build trust factor.

    I found you through my small @EagleTweeter Twitter feed, now I am accepting getting emails from you and writing on your blog… do we have a relationship… well lets see over time?


  • ps One more thing, you need to check what you write at least twice so you avoid the typos and grammar errors as in my comment above… :-( Someone get me a proofreader :-)


  • avatar Julie Coburn says:

    Thanks guys! Interesting concept.

    I recently saw a tweet from Deepak Chopra that really stood out to me, and I think fits in well with your article: @Deepak_Chopra: A new global mind is emerging & it’s neural & heart networks R being laid dn in cyberspace(Akashic Field) Thx 2 twttr :)

    We are definitely in the process of building a global community. It’s an exciting process to be a part of!

    – Julie

  • avatar Mark Welkie says:

    Of course, twitter doesn’t build relationships any more than does the planet Earth. I prefer, rather, the concept of twitter being as Harold Rheingold put it: “an ecology in which communities can emerge”. (Did I go over 140 characters?) : D

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