How Tweet It Is

twitter_birdTwitter can do more than toss around celebrity gossip or idle chat between teens. A growing number of stone-industry vendors and fabricators are warming to the short-form text messaging ... and Stone Business offers a way to track them without getting pulled into the Twitterverse.

In 2010, social media on the Internet – especially the Twitter message service – became the buzz. And, this year, came the inevitable thumbs-down on social-media use, especially by business.

em hed shot 2 120Emerson SchwartzkopfSo, do you stop what you’re doing? Do you pat yourself on the back for never starting? Or do you forge ahead, because the naysayers are saying nay because it’s now fashionable to buck a trend?

Don’t look at me to give you a totally unbiased answer. I’m on the ‘Net with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and here at our Stone Business Online website daily. I think that social interaction online works ... and if you don’t, maybe you ought to visit the community built by the Stone Fabricators Alliance.

Let’s be fair, though. Many of you avoid the thought of using Twitter, mainly because it’ll tie up your mobile phone with thousands of messages. And it can, if you decide to use your cell for Twitter access; fortunately, you can shut that part of Twitter down (as I have) so it’s something you see only on your desktop or laptop computer.

200_Paris_Hilton_1Click image to enlargeA large number of you out there also believe – and it’s not without some cause – that Twitter is only a way to waste the day in 140-character increments as users babble on about nothing. The problem, though, is that most of you experience Twitter by hearing or seeing controversial or inane messages (or, yes, Tweets) plunked into some snarky commentary (as seen on web blogs) or equally inane reporting (as usually seen on CNN daytime broadcasts).

What if there was a way to see what’s on Twitter without being on Twitter? And what if you cut out the teenage OMG! argot and 3,000 comments on the future of Charlie Sheen – and read Twitter messages by and for the stone community?

For the past few months, we’ve been participating (along with thousands of other users) in a large online experiment of Small Rivers, hatched by some programmers in Lausanne, Switzerland. The result is a daily collection of Twitter messages about an assigned topic; the mini-messages are assembled into a Web-based newspaper. And, if a Tweet links to a video, there’s a picture on the page with the link.