Sunday, January 27, 2008

Gone Fishin' (in the Twitter Stream)

I remember fishing with my Grandfather. City boys we, our idea of fishing was standing on the pier with a Popeil's Pocket Fisherman, using store bought frozen shrimp as bait. We had more than our share of stories about "the one that got away"... but we also had many successful hauls of the hook. The pier was always there, and anytime we wanted we could grab the rod, toss a line in and see what we might be able to reel in.


So what does "goin' fishin'" have to do with Twitter? Because, dropping by the Twitter stream is a lot like tossing a baited line in the water, never quite sure what, if anything, you may catch.

Everyone has their favorite analogy for the Twitter experience. In a previous blog post I have said "Twitter is like the chocolate conveyor belt in I LOVE LUCY. Lots of great treats flying pluck the ones that look sweet!"

Laura "Pistachio" Fitton calls Twitter "her village."

Now I am going to add the fishing analogy:

As my own Village in Twitter has grown, I find that my visits to my Twitter stream are very much like little digital fishing trips. When I stop by Twitter, at any given moment there are lots of interesting fish swimming by. I set my bait (in 140 characters or less) and drop a line in (in the form of a Tweet!) Sometimes the fish bite right away, and I feel the line get taut with a quick series of "@sass" replies. Sometimes I catch a big one and my tweet sets off a veritable meme. But many times the bait sinks without making a ripple, and try as I might, the conversation passes me by, and I spend my time in the Twitter stream reading and writing tweets, seemingly without a nibble.

When fishing, often you reel in the line and find your bait is gone, yet you didn't even feel a tug. Of course, that means there is a happy fish somewhere that just got fed. Twitter is the same. When you post a Tweet, just because you don't get a response it doesn't mean someone hasn't read and consumed your contribution. Just because you don't get a response it doesn't mean someone hasn't read or even been influenced by your words. Every tweet feeds the Twitter ecosystem. Don't judge the experience by how many fish you catch. Just relax, and enjoy the fishing!

As in fishing, there is a lot of luck, timing and serendipity in your Twitter experience.

If you are on Twitter, please follow me at and lets try to hook each other with interesting, pithy tweets.

If you are not on Twitter, this post must seem like a mess of confusing mixed metaphors. Sign up for Twitter, and hopefully in time you will understand.

In either case, enjoy this old Pocket Fisherman commercial I found!

New Pocket Fisherman

Posted Aug 08, 2006

Ronco's Pocket Fisherman is easily the best fishing invention of the century.


Anonymous said...

As a former fishergrl - I loved this post.I think I first found you in the Twitterstream responding to someone else's post. I've enjoyed following you since.

Take care!

Unknown said...

I am glad to have reeled you in! Thanks for the comment (and for not thinking my post was fishy!)

Anonymous said...

- fishing puns aside - I liked this analogy of what Twitter is - and I don't even Fish!

Unknown said...

Andrew, glad I "hooked you" with the fishing analogy! (sorry, I couldn't resist...)

Anonymous said...

I recently described it as the effect of eavesdropping on conversations as you pass tables.