Bob & Lorie Gray
Bobsongs Creative Media

Social Media…

National Politics, On A Global Stage… On My Blackberry…

In the past few days, we have seen a variety of events, playing out for our supposed enjoyment, or betterment.

The Paralympics wound to a close, and, as sad as we are to see the athletes go… all parties have to end, and so best it goes off when everyone is excited, energized and enthusiastic !

I was not able to attend any Paralympic Sporting Events, but through Twitter, I was apprised of successes and losses, and felt I was “part of the action.”

The Prime Minister of Canada, to much fanfare and hoo haw, made a big commotion about bringing his message to the people, and embracing social media… which proves that the wonks in the Conservative Party have NO idea how YouTube works.  They laid out an “unscripted” 40 plus  minute video.  With NO regard to the average length or attention span of the public… they laid out a long… dragged out… bilingual snoozefest.  It was, for all intents and purposes, a regular question and answer session, just released on Video… but waaaay too lengthy to go viral.

It was on YouTube, but QUITE difficult to find, by comparison to the Prime Minister’s foray into Pop Singer Territory, when he sang a Beatles song with YoYo Ma !

The American Government, amid much hue and cry, hand-wringing and name-calling, passed a Health Care Reform, which will (reportedly) extend Medical Coverage to help more people.

There were banners saying it was Communism… Socialism… Barbaric… Overbearing…

I find it ironic, that the country that leads the free world, fears putting into place a program that, at its root, tries to help people.

After the vote, President Obama spoke, and said, in part…  “We did not fear our Future, we shaped it.”Barack Obama - Yes we can -

Throughout the day, there was a discussion on Twitter, using the #HCR(Health Care Reform) hash tag.  Some were for, some against… but using the power of Social Media, I was again able, amidst other chores, tasks and programs, to keep up with the debate, and had tears running down my face, when I read the Tweet heralding their success…

I have a few American friends.  Some like this plan, and some fear it.

I believe time will show it to be a good thing… especially my friends who have serious debilitating diseases.

But if it isn’t ?  I bet I’ll hear about it on Twitter, first !



Following and Unfollowing on Twitter…

I love Twitter…. andI love my Tweeps.

What I don’t love, are the Elementary School Yard games that some Twitter users play.

I do not automatically followback.

If I have no interest in your message or your “product,” I will not “sign up” and follow you, regardless of how many times you follow and unfollow me.

If you don’t fill in your Bio information, I’m unlikely to followback, but I’ve already written about that.

Some of my friends have between 15 and 50 followers, and they ask how can you “keep up” with 1200+ Tweeps ?

I find lists really helpful for that, and TweetDeck (my Twitter application of choice) accommodates different lists in columns.  It also allows you to show multiple accounts in the same screen. 

So, for instance, I have a column for YVR (Vancouver) TweepsVancouver Island TweepsFraser Valley Tweeps.  I have a column for Musicians and Music Industry folks.  I have a column for the Hockey Fans, and the Scotch Lovers.  Each of the columns is (usually) a separate set of conversations, which makes the process easier.

Recently, I wondered why my following number was starting to far exceed my follower number.

My guess is that some folks were probably turned off by the large volume of #Canucks and #TeamCanada chatter, and quietly unfollowed me. (Which I hope to have solved by starting a Hockey Account:  @BobSongs_Hockey)

And this is where I would love to hear some feedback…

If I follow someone, and they follow me back… I feel like I’ve entered into a relationship. And I am committed to that relationship, until one of two things happens:

1) You offend me.  If you start spouting homophobic, blatantly rude, hateful or insensitive tweets ?  Done… Blocked.

2) You turn out to be a spammer, with looping spam links in your Tweets.

Other than these reasons… I have never unfollowed anyone who was following me.

Do you feel the same way about “unfollowing” someone ?

I’ve had a number of people suggest Friend or Follow was a Twitter Application, to assess the Follower/Following/Mutual numbers… but I found some of the information displayed was out of date and sometimes didn’t seem to load properly.


Twitter Karma Screen capture

Twitter Karma Screen capture

I went searching again on the weekend, and found Twitter Karma.  It is Brilliant !!!

Very easy to use, very easy to understand, and seemed to me, to be able to accurately discern between active and inactive Tweeps.

The one “issue” was that it says right at the opening screen, that it will not work correctly in an Internet Explorer browser… but it seemed to load and work fine in Google Chrome.

I wish I had taken a screen cap of the initial findings… (hindsight)  …and a day later, I have unfollowed MOST of those not following me back… (Media, serious Bloggers and Celebrities excepted) and updated my lists to reflect the Tweeps I had missed.

Currently, of  1430 total users, I follow 212, 1004 are mutual friends, and 214 only follow me.

I can select any one of those criteria, or list all.  I can also sort them by last update, alphabetically or by follower count.

For each user, I can click and open their Twitter Profile. 

It is, in my estimation, the best tool for managing and understanding your Tweeps.

How do you manage your followers ?

What, if anything, makes you “unfollow” someone ?

You can comment here, or Tweet me @BobSongs

Thanks, I look forward to your feedback !

Anti-Social Media…

I love Twitter.

I believe it allows us to connect, and “meet” with people, and form relationships and sometimes even virtual friendships.

It allows us to support one of our community, when they are fragile… whether they are reeling from another sleepless night… a sick child who is inconsolable… or trying to get through the treatments to battle a life-threatening illness.

In that same way, each of us has Twitter families, that include our real families, but also extends to people outside our lives.

I can chat with Sergei in Romania, to find out if his leg is better…  find out what he thinks about my latest song… or I can send a Hi Howdy to my Sister up in Prince George, to find out how she is.  It is a real time connection with people from… anywhere !

During a Canucks Game, the Twitter stream is filled with “Go #Canucks Go… RT if you’re with me” !!!

During the recent Canada /US World Junior Hockey Tournament Final Game… those of us watching the Game, grew silent, as Canada fell two goals behind… then jubilant as the Game was tied, with mere moments to go… and commisserating with one another, as Canada lost in overtime. 

Twitter can make experiences richer, by making the experience a shared on.

Often, I see tweets… “Has anyone had to...” and sometimes someone can help them, or make a suggestion. 

Often you will see a follow up tweet… “Never mind” …because the act of having to put their question into 140 characters, has clarified the issue, and they have effected their own solution.

As you may have guessed, I am a fan of Twitter, and will often refer someone who is new to Twitter, to the Mashable website, for the Twitter 101 article.  I also try to suggest that folks who are songwriters, fill in their Bio information so that other Songwriters, may (regionally) be able to get together and support one another, like @BCSongwriters tries to do here in the Lower Mainland.

I believe that Twitter is an effective and beneficial tool for connecting with friendly people, or with people holding similar interests.

I love Twitter.

MY Twitter, is currently comprised of 711 folks I follow, and 854 that follow me.  I don’t have a lot of time for Tweeps who just push.  I’m not a big fan of Tweeps who send thousands of quotes, but don’t interact.  I like to believe I have a discerning eye for Tweeps who are going to become spammers, or just want a large following to brag to their friends.

In my Twitter, there is ALWAYS room for discussion and disagreement.  The form thrives in the forum, and the debate.

Late at night, the dark side of Twitter sometimes emerges, with the tweets becoming a deeper blue, from the daytime Turquoise.  Not my thing… but that is the joy of MY Twitter.  I am not obliged or compelled to participate in a conversation that doesn’t “speak” to me.

However, rudeness and ill will have no place on MY Twitter, and will not be tolerated.  It is called Social Media, and to my mind, the Number One Rule of Society is, and always will be, “Treat Others As You Would Like To Be Treated

I have, apart from Spammers, never blocked anyone, until a few days ago.

The individual in question insulted me, before engaging me in debate… and repeatedly ridiculed my points without providing any counterpoints.  In the end, I realized he was wasting my time, so I sent a brief “We shall agree to disagree” tweet, and blocked him.

Yesterday, using a different user name, I was assailed by the same individual. (Apparently he only has the one picture ?  Brilliant !)

I have heard from a few other Tweeps that they, too, have recently had similar experiences…  some have had someone RT (ReTweeting) tweets, but subverting the contents.

Being that I am civically minded, and tend to express my opinions… these incidents have, just for a moment, given me pause.

Not because I am being attacked and targetted, for expressing my opinions, in a Democratic Country… but because, in the same way that we can rally around Team Canada without being present in Saskatchewan in the rink, Twitter also offers an opportunity for those with ill will to gather, and sometimes apparently, to transgress the border, into MY Twitter.

I guess if it happens again, I will have to look into the Spam and Abuse rules.

In the meantime, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but I love Twitter !!!

Would love to hear your thoughts…

Twitter, Tweets and Twits…

With all due respect to the fine work @Mashable does, on an on-going basis, to keep everyone “on the path” of using Twitter in a socially acceptable manner…  (I would absolutely suggest reading his “Twitter 101” article, for newer Twitter users)

… I would like to offer my own list of “Rules” which I use to guide my Twitter journey.


I realize some of you use Bots to send Tweets, find followers, acknowledge followers, or do other sundry tasks… but I have a 2 part request:

      – If you stopped using Twitter in August… and haven’t Tweeted since late July ?  Maybe turn off the Follow Bot ???

   – Tailor your Bio to reflect the actual, not project the possible.  I’m a big fan of “Fake it until you Make it” but if your User Name or Bio says you are a Twitter Marketing Expert, and the Tweets you’ve posted, still include your “Twitter is stupid… I don’t get it” Tweet… I would say that it marginally diminishes your Brand.


I also have a series of ever lengthening rules, which when I review your Twitter Page, may dictate that I’m not going to Follow you (or Follow you back) if:

  a) You Tweet about getting whiter teeth

  b) You obviously use trending topics and hash tags (other than #Canucks) to get “hits”

  c) You Tweet about how I can make big $$$ on Twitter, like you

  d) You are a Restaurant  3000 miles away from my home

  e) Your User Name has the letters BRITNEY with interspersed punctuation. 

       (If you don’t understand what this rule means, you are either VERY lucky, or don’t review your followers)

  f) You are a New York Rangers fan.  (And yes, I intentionally chose “F” for this rule)

  g) You are following 6000 people, and have 12 followers

  h) You are following 16000 people, and have only posted 3 Tweets

  i) Your whole focus seems to be anger or frustration, over a cascading series of progessive Tweets, on various days.  (The OBVIOUS exception here is if that anger is directed at the New York Rangers… then Welcome Friend !!!)

  j) If you have (for example) Tweeted that you want someone to publish the songs you have written… but have no location, website or ANY information in your Bio that would enable someone else to know if they could or should possibly help you


I’m sure there are more… but this was written in the middle of the night, when sleep was an escape that seemed not to be an option, and I was looking at people who had followed me, who I STILL haven’t followed back… and these folks apparently, just don’t “get it” !!!

The other subject that personally is up for debate, is the Direct Message reply… (as opposed to a General Tweet or an @Message)   Some people have expressed an almost fanatical dislike for the DM reply, to the point where they will unfollow someone who DM’s them.  I don’t mind a DM, if it is a private matter, but get irritated when I get a DM that could easily be public, and sent by @Message.  The reason for me, is that I’m often on Twitter using my Blackberry, and NEVER check my DM’s on mobile.  It is also contrary to the very nature of Social Media, to hold private conversations about subjects that are public. (The Canucks played well last night, I tried a new Scotch, like your Blog, etc)

Whew… I certainly feel better !  (Not that ANY infringers are likely to stumble across my Blog, but…)

If you see any “Rules” I’ve missed, please don’t hesitate to let me know, and I will edit/amend as necessary !

If you are reading this, and not following me, providing you “meet the criteria” posted above, please follow me on Twitter… my user name is BobSongs !

“Thank you for Following me… I look forward to reading your Tweets !!!”

; D