Interview with Tee Morris of All a Twitter

Earlier this week, Tee Morris, of Imagine That Studios and author of All a Twitter, tweeted that he would be available for interviews and random silly questions concerning Twitter and any other topics of interest. Well, to be truthful, I’ve been meaning to hit Tee up with random silly questions, so I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. However, when I began writing the questions down, I was surprised to discover the questions I really wanted answered (in regards to Twitter) weren’t really that silly. I hope some of you had similar questions. If not, and you still have some of your own, feel free to post them as comments here, or ask Tee directly at @ITStudios on Twitter.

1. All A Twitter was released roughly 10 months ago. Many new Twitter clients have been released since then. What are the ones we should be aware of and what platforms are they being made for?

Many of the new Twitter clients I have seen since the release of All a Twitter have been more web-based as opposed to AIR-based. Their interfaces have been less about the aesthetics and more about performance and stability. While I admire that, they tend to be no more than an extension of the sparse Twitter homepage only with the ability to harvest new tweets automatically.

However…

Only a few weeks ago I have been clocking in time with Hootsuite (http://www.hootsuite.com) and I have been VERY impressed with its capabilities. You can use it in Real Time or pre-schedule tweets in case you need to tend to other deadlines and priorities. Hootsuite is also available for the iPhone and other portable devices, so keep a sharp eye on this application. If you are managing multiple accounts, have tweets already composed, and are using Twitter more as a conversation starter or newswire, I recommend that you look into Hootsuite.

2. You’ve mentioned that you were proud of some of the more oblique cultural references you were able to keep in AAT. What, if any, were cut? Alternatively, what reference would you have loved to have found a use for?

I think this is one (of many) reasons why I love All a Twitter more than my other Twitter title, Sams Teach Yourself Twitter in 10 Minutes. I found that Que allowed me to be “me” in All a Twitter so I was able to get in a lot of pop culture references. They gave me so much freedom, in fact, that all of my geeky references made it through, one in particular being a Young Frankenstein quote.

If I could have made any other references, I think I would have said in response to the variety of phishing scams that infect people’s DM streams “They’re in the FRAKKIN’ SHIP!” (Col. Tigh from BSG) or if I was writing a section on my latest discovery (Hootsuite) I could have said “When you’re a spy, the opposition needs to think you’re somewhere you’re not. This is why Hootsuite is an essential tool as you can load it up with tweets and schedule them to go live. As the opposition think you’re at the computer, you are – in fact – somewhere else.” (Michael Westin from Burn Notice).

That last one would have been WIN. (Ed. Yes, yes it would have been.)

3. Since AAT was released, Twitter has continued to grow and evolve. What are your favorite areas of growth, and areas that you wish weren’t being explored?

I’m watching educators use Twitter more and more, and I feel that Twitter – and Social Media, on a whole – is the underused tool that should be utilized. There is so much that can be done with these various outlets – Twitter, FB, podcasting, etc.. I think educators need to explore the possibilities. Resource exchanges. Quick communication. Reference checks. If you are into education, you can reach an audience wide and diverse with Twitter.

As for where and how Twitter is evolving, I find that the Social Media Experts (a/k/a Evangelists, Mavens, Enthusiasts, Oracles, etc. a/k/a Social Media Douchebags a/k/a SMDs) are becoming less and less tolerated. Some of these self-proclaimed Twitter Messiahs are preaching their gospel to a flock in the hundreds of thousands, but tend to follow back less than a thousand or even less than a hundred.

What’s up with that?

I’m just going to call it like I see it: Everybody wants to be Chris Brogan (@ChrisBrogan)(respectful [ding]) but so few are achieving the balance between pro and personal. Chris isn’t perfect, but he is maintaining the genuine while managing the massive numbers. (One of many reasons I got that trust agent to write the AAT Foreword.) There are others like Jeff Sass (@sass) and CC Chapman (@cc_chapman) who are putting forward that effort to stay honest on Twitter. Between 2008-2009 there were SMDs left and right who nurtured the numbers and then stopped participating in their feeds. Oh sure, they would preach how they used Twitter to “connect” but look at their feeds and it would be RTs, quotes, and questions that linked back to their own site.

The tolerance for the Social Media Snake Oil Salesmen is dropping, I see. That is a beautiful thing.

4. If you could point Twitter development in a certain direction, what would it be?

I think Twitter needs to start taking _themselves_ more seriously.

For example, did you know there is an account you can follow that will keep you in the know of Twitter scams, viruses, and other hazards? It’s @safety. I had NO IDEA this account existed until Twitter “got hacked” back in February only to find it a false alarm (http://www.idguardian.com/phishing-attack-twitter/). @safety was one of the best kept and least publicized accounts in Twitter’s arsenal, and I’d like to know why? Sadly, @safety is managed by Del Harvey (@delbius) where she…retweets @safety. So who should you follow? One? Both? Beats me.

Twitter is still running itself like a “Wow-Ain’t-This-Keen” business and they need to get on the ball, straighten up, and fly right. Otherwise they will never be taken as the communication revolution TIME Magazine called them in June 2009.

5. How do you see Google’s Wave and Buzz products as competitors to Twitter?

I see Wave, Buzz, and Facebook as trying to be more like Twitter but they tend to twist your arm to make you volunteer information, including information you really don’t want to volunteer. What makes Twitter  the choice for me in Social Media communication and networking tools is that Twitter surrenders control to you. Nowhere are you asked to fill in information and reveal said information without consent. You’re in control. There are third-party add-on’s that are built on that sharing principal but unless you say clearly “No, don’t share that…” these applications share, share, share.

Twitter is about user control and what you want to share. That’s why I like it. in the end, I have the final word.

6. When asked why Tweet, what would you respond?

Actually, I ask people that question: Why are you on Twitter? If they say “To sell stuff” or “To make money” I find a majority of those people have short lifespans on the perch. To get into Twitter you need to either have a desire to communicate across a vast network, or you have a need to circulate resources and contacts ala LinkedIn. Twitter is about connection and participation. If you don’t want to do either, people will tune you out.

7. Bird House Rules is a fantastic companion for AAT. I’m unaware of any other non-fiction book with a podcast tie-in to keep it pertinent. Are you aware of any other?

Yes, it was me and “Podcasting for Dummies: The Companion Podcast” for Podcasting for Dummies from Wiley Publishing.  ;^)  We went for two seasons, but time and resources didn’t keep up with us. Still, it was a fantastic run. I’m hoping one of my partners in Season Two, Chuck Tomasi (@ctomasi)(courtesy [ding]), decides to do a companion podcast for his own Sams Teach Yourself WordPress in 10 Minutes (with Kreg Steppe, @steppek(courtesy [ding])). I’ll lean on him about that.

7b. Was it a hard sell with your publisher?

Not at all. Que has loved the idea and thinks the podcast and companion blog is yet another avenue for promoting both titles. Listenership has been steadily climbing and I’m hoping it will continue to do so. The challenge of keeping the podcast under ten minutes has been just that – a challenge – but BHR has really become a labor of love for me. My favorite episode so far has been the oh-so-hard-to-produce “TweetDeck Update” episode, complete with video companion. Good fun!

8. How hard was it let your editor have the last word in AAT (or did you)?

The editorial staff, from the Technical (@PhilippaJane)(courtesy [ding]) to the line editors, were all professionals. They kept me honest and they kept me on my toes. It is one reason I am crossing my fingers that somewhere down the road, I’m asked to do a second edition (or another book) for Que. I really, really enjoyed working with them, and it has been a positive experience since AAT’s release last summer.

9. What can we expect from Tee Morris in the remainder of 2010?

You can expect more episodes of Bird House Rules, hopefully with a few interviews of my own from Twitter users. I’m also trying to get a video series with Que started, but with the start of the year being as it was (and you can read teemorris.com [ding] for more on that), it’s hard to say when I will be ready. BHR has gotten me to turn my attention back to podcasting, something I genuinely missed, and I look forward to blogging and podcasting from birdhouserules.com [ding]. Finally, there is Twitter itself. Currently I am managing both my @TeeMonster [ding]and @ITStudios[ding] accounts, along with @IDGuardian[ding] (my day job)[ding] and @createsouth[ding] (a volunteer gig in support of a fantastic one-day creative think tank happening every April in Myrtle Beach, SC). You have many ways of keeping up with me and what I do with Twitter, both from a corporate, non-profit, and simply personal point-of-view.

2010 offers many possibilities for me, and I hope you follow me on Twitter to keep up with them.

There ends the interview. I would like to thank Tee again for making himself available and putting in some serious thought on answering those questions. The [ding]’s were added by the editor (me), and if you’re unaware of the reference, find a audio interview of Tee’s. It will then all make sense.

Comment Pages

There are 3 Comments to "Interview with Tee Morris of All a Twitter"

  • Whoa,VERY good interview! Kudos to both Tee & Odin1Eye.
    My vote: more interviews with Odin1Eye & more goodness from Tee in 2010 🙂

    • odin1eye says:

      Thank you sir! I appreciate your unflagging support of this blog. I would love to do some more interviews and believe it or not had talked about it with a couple of podcasters BEFORE the new year began. This year just got off to such a wild start that I was unable to put it into practice. If this experiment proves positive, you might see more here indeed. Again, thank you.

  • […] reviews, commentary and rants on Social Media and the world it impacts, and (now) interviews. Odin1eye and I talk about about how Twitter has changed, where it is headed, and what went into the writing of All a Twitter. […] ed. Yes.. THAT is right! VFV has now been mentioned on the BHR website! A good day indeed!

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