One of the easiest ways to foster personal accountability is to make others aware of your intentions. Tell a group of cyclist peers that you're going on a two hour ride today, and I'll bet you do it. You may even invite a few just to make sure it happens. If you're a developer, and you've told the client they'll have "feature X" today, you'd better make it happen.
It seems we all have huge and ever growing to-do lists. We add things left and right, from paying the mortgage to picking up pickles at the grocery store. We get bogged down in the minutiae, often missing the most important thing on the list because something else always takes precedence. Sound familiar?
For many, getting started is the most challenging aspect. Check email, do the Facebook and Twitter. Check out Google Reader (yeah, maybe that last one is just me). But then it comes time for work. You know, work, the things that provide the income necessary to keep doing whatever it is we do. They're all to-dos, yes, but something will always be the most important.
The same holds true for our personal lives. If you exercise, then making sure you get the right amount of time in for the day may be the most important thing you're going to do.
The most important thing is going to vary widely per person, and per day, but the gist is there. There are always important things that we really need to do. It's that one, single most important thing - be it work or play - that when checked provides a sense of accomplishment.
Imagine if, of all of the things you'll do today, you always did the single most important thing on the list. Maybe a challenge - a public challenge would make it more fun. One really important thing per day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It doesn't sound like much, but it could add up!
Here's the proposal. At the beginning of every day (yes, seven days a week) we tweet the single most important to-do on the list for the day. A meeting, an action item, a ride, picking your child up from school, whatever - just tweet it. Add the hash tag #1onmylist - which of course means "number one on my list." Then, once completed, follow up with a tweet that simply says "Got #1done!"
For example: " I'll get billing done today. It's way over due. #1onmylist "
Then follow up with " Got #1done! Billing sent. "
I encourage you to abstract the details: "Have to get the proposal for Whole Foods done by 3PM" becomes "Have to get a proposal done by 3PM." Likewise, "Manipedi with David and Brad at TechStars" might just be "Manipedi." :)
What do you think? Want to see where it goes? What's number one on your list today? Tweet it!
Remember 2005? In 2005, Panasonic introduced the TH-65PX500. It was the world's first 65" 1080p Plasma (the press for the display actually defined the HDMI acronym). It was a cool $9k. In 2005 I was using a Nokia N-Gage as my phone - it didn't have a camera, but it did allow me to install "apps." Yes, I had a web browser on my phone back then, too. Twitter wouldn't be born for another year, and you still had to be a college student to join Facebook. The iPhone wasn't really even a rumor, and Apple was still 100% PowerPC (ok that, that last one was geeky).
The other day I posted a pic to Twitter. This was a snapshot pic of my son, sitting in front of our 65" plasma screen (no, it wasn't even close to $9k) playing a computer game. My son will never know that playing computer games on that screen just isn't "normal." We don't watch traditional "TV," instead everything we watch is delivered through the internet, on DVD/Blu-ray, or on our AppleTV. Back to the picture... close to 1,000 people were able to see the pic, a pic I took with my phone - instantly. Remember having to download images to your computer before using them? Or, if you're old enough, dropping off film rolls to be developed? Yikes.
There are things in our lives, things we use every day that just a few short years ago didn't exist. We didn't perceive a need for them, or they just simply weren't possible. These are the same things that many people relentlessly complain about of course - forgetting how amazing the technology really is. Here's a quick example: "the iPad doesn't have a camera, or USB ports." Really?
As you move though your day, give each piece of technology in your lives a few seconds of respect. No, technology isn't perfect, and no it's not always obvious. But the stuff we have today is amazing, and it's just going to get better.
What do you see that is just amazing?
This post is about how I use Twitter, and what to expect from my Twitter stream. I believe it is important to be open with social media - to be clear about your intentions. My twitter stream has been a mix of personal and commercial posts (my blog, companies, etc.) since the beginning. That will not change, but I just wanted to bring focus to a few things.
Advertising: I have never, and nor do I plan to as of this post, put ads in my Twitter stream. To me, inline (and certainly out of context) advertising has no place on Twitter by its users until there's an effective way to block it. It could be as simple as an understood #adv tag that can be easily filtered, though that's a topic for another post.
Affiliate links: I will occasionally post links to products I own and recommend. If I post a link to a product, it's because I've used it, own it, have watched it, listened to it, recommend it, or it's simply a great value. These links are likely to be affiliate links - you can trust me to do the right thing here, or not. It's up to you. I promise never to turn my stream in to a scrolling pitch.
Sharing: I run two software companies, host a few podcasts ( see msitarzewski.com for more on where to find me ), dabble in life technology consulting, listen to about 50 podcasts, and stay on top of about a thousand RSS titles a day (I read a relatively small percentage of those). There are many, many things that I'd like to share with you, and I think Twitter is the perfect place for it. I've been reluctant to share as much as I'd like, but that will change. Based on feedback, sharing is one of the reasons many of you follow me, so I hope you enjoy it.
Family: Occasionally I'll post about my wife ( @torreybelle ), my son !zion, or our family doings. While these may not be relevant to you, these types of tweets are relevant to a many that follow me.
Profanity: Twitter is a wonderful place to express yourself. Many people believe, as do I, that the Twitter "you" and the real "you" should be one in the same. In other words, don't filter your content, just be yourself. If you know me in person, and I'm comfortable with our relationship, I will use profanity in your presence. If people I don't know are focused on me (presentations, meetups, etc.), I don't use profanity at all. To me, this is where Twitter fits. If I use profanity, it'll most likely be in the form of a retweet (left in for context) or I will replace letters (sh*t). Never say never, but as a rule, I don't curse in my feed.
Cross-posting and third party apps: I have connected my Twitter account to my Facebook account. I did that because many of you are friends on Facebook, but don't use Twitter. If I hadn't made that connection, my Facebook status would never get updated. I will never have a third party service automatically tweet on my behalf unless I can control the frequency and content. For example, I can specify with Brightkite that I only want status updates and photos to go to Twitter, not every check in. Please, for the love of all things sacred, turn off your Foursquare and Gowalla updates. I really don't care. Oh yeah, this is about my use of Twitter, not yours. :)
Following: I believe that in order to achieve an honest relationship with the people I follow on Twitter, I have to be able to read every tweet they post. This has advantages in that it keeps the list of people I follow to about 250. Nothing personal is meant if I don't return your follow, or if I unfollow you. It's simply that I can't keep up with everything.
Unfollowing: There are no certain rules here, but here some reasons I might unfollow someone: spam, rants, game invitations, game stats, auto DMs welcoming my follow, idle account (45 days), irrelevant advertising, and excessive auto posts from third party apps.
Blocking: Obvious spam accounts will be blocked and reported as such.
Replying and DMs: Every @reply and direct message will be answered. This is the heart of Twitter, and I respect it greatly.
Emoticons: I'm old school and think that many of today's online confrontations could be avoided if emotion and intent were easily discernible. That is why I use :) :( and friends :-D :-P
What do you think? Was this helpful? Did you learn anything about me?