Who I am and how I use Twitter
Last fall, my entire Twitter feed was taken up with tweets about Canadian Politics, under the #canpoli hashtag, because we had a Federal Election in Canada on October 19, 2015. It was really only 24 hours of solid #canpoli tweets, with an occasional one here and there the weeks’ prior. It seemed to get some Twitter followers of mine upset that I was apparently all about Canadian politics (during that brief time), and not about coffee and espresso. Thing is, that’s only a short snapshot of what I do on Twitter.
I decided it might be a good idea to tell you who I am, what I’m interested in, and what I use Twitter for. It’s up to you if you decide to follow me (and put up with me) or not on that social media platform.
- First, who am I? Well, my name’s Mark, and for fifteen years now, I’ve run a popular coffee community online called CoffeeGeek.com. During my journey with that website, I’ve gone from being a consumer enthusiast for coffee, to an educator and critic of specialty coffee and I’ve taken the courses and training to back it up. But I’m also a professional photographer, a writer, and a person who’s passionate about animals, ethical causes, social activism, charitable causes, and civic duties. I’m also a big CFL football fan (not NFL), and a soccer fan (MLS, UEFA, FIFA, etc). Definitely not a NHL or MLB fan, since I don’t support millionaires who put minimum wage people out of work when they go on strike. On a lighter note, I have a serious obsession with creative cooking and cocktail culture.
- Things I never do on Twitter: What I tweet is never “for sale”, meaning I don’t post tweets endorsing or promoting a company because they’ve paid me, influenced me to do so, or because they advertise on CoffeeGeek. If you see me endorsing anything coffee related, it’s because I believe it is something worth endorsing. There are no backroom deals with our site’s advertisers (probably a main reason why we don’t have a wall of advertisers like some other sites do lol!). I never “buy” followers either and I actively manage my follower list when I have time — I often block obvious SEO / Spam accounts that follow my Twitter accounts. I want my twitter feed to be interactions with real people.
- What do I post on Twitter? Things I’m passionate about. Coffee (and espresso) are at the top of the list, and easily account for 50% or more of what I tweet, including replies. The other stuff? All that you see above in #1 — tweets about football games, tweets about a charity’s special event. Tweets about voting and civic duty, tweets about social issues I’m not happy with, tweets about photography, tweets about interesting recipes and cocktails. And of course, the occasional photo tweet of my dog!
- I make no apologies for mixing up my Twitter posting style (though in the past I did). I’m a human being, and I have varied interests, and my Twitter feed reflects that. Some just want 100%, wall to wall coffee with no controversy. Some want me to be less aggressive on issues outside of coffee and espresso. Some love the coffee talk, hate the political talk. That’s not my style. My Twitter account reflects who I am, where I live, and what my interests are. It’s not for everyone.
- I post to Twitter frequently; probably about 60% are replies, and 40% are fresh content. I am also known for having little “Twitter Rants” where I’ll post a 3, 4, 8, 12 part tweet stream (usually numbered) about something coffee or espresso related (I rarely do multi-tweet posts about things other than coffee). I reply a lot too — I try to reply or interact with most of the comments directed my way, the good, the bad, the questions, the statements, the information shared. For me, Twitter is a communication, 2 way platform, and I try to give the courtesy of a response to anyone who takes a moment to tweet something my way. However, if you’re a lunatic, don’t expect a reply; expect a block.
- I don’t follow a lot of people on Twitter, for a few reasons. First, I primarily use Twitter through the web page interface (and notifications on my Macbook Air) and I like to read — catch up if you will — what the people I follow have to say most days. If I followed over 1,000+ people, I’d only get a few minutes’ worth of snapshot; by keeping it around 200, I can get a half days’ caught up in minutes. I do however use lists, and have many, many Twitter accounts on organized lists, that I read when at the cafe or quiet places. It’s not a snob thing, though I can see how it’s perceived that way — it’s just how I want to use Twitter. I regularly manage my following list, adding new people, removing those who don’t post much.
- Please don’t ask me to retweet anything promotional or controversial. If it’s coffee related, sociable or news worthy, it will often retweet. I never retweet anything designed to make you money, gain you followers, or gain you visitors to your blog or website. Also please don’t ask me to to follow you. I follow people that I find interesting and diverse, and people I want to read about every single day (see #6 above). Asking for a token followback will likely get you blocked. Speaking of which:
- I do block and mute people a lot on Twitter. I’ve been doing this more the past year than I have my previous 5+ years on Twitter. I do it mainly for my own sanity. I’ll never block anyone who just disagrees with what I say or argues against points I make on Twitter. I will instantly block someone who devolves into personal attacks, or appears to be trolling in their tweets. If you name call me (or anyone I know), you will be blocked. Plain as day.
- I am a photographer, which means a good portion of my tweets are photo related. Good news for coffee lovers: the majority of the photos are coffee and espresso centric! But I also delve a lot into photography equipment, technique, and issues.
- On politics. I consider myself a social libertarian. That’d make me a socialist in the US, but I’m right of centre (only slightly) in Canada. I believe in self management & self responsibility, but also believe in the social safety net. I think governments need to manage our taxes better, and play less games with our money and how they take it. I think gun obsession is kinda insane (unless you’re a genuine hunter for sustenance) especially if you also think of yourself as a “christian”; and to be honest, I think for many it’s a way to compensate for other shortcomings in their lives. I believe people should be allowed to practice their religion and religious beliefs with complete freedom, but the moment it harms someone else, it should be stopped. I also believe those who enjoy government provided services should pay a portion of those services directly (looking at you, cyclists).
- On spelling and grammar. I am Canadian, and I write in Canadian English, which is almost identical to UK English, and somewhat different (but still extremely similar to) US English. That means I type “flavour”, not “flavor”. “Neighbourhood”, not “neighborhood”. “Criticise”, not “criticize”. Please stop correcting my (correct) use of English, I beg you :D. Also, I strive to make most of my tweets complete sentences with proper grammar, though there are times where, for the 140 character limit, I’ll change “your” to “ur” and “before” to “b4”. And I use metric, a lot.
Well there you go — what I do with Twitter. If you find my tweets to be annoying or antagonistic towards you, please unfollow me. I won’t mind. I don’t want to ruin your day. But if you want someone who’s not just a parrot, not just a one issue person, want a human who tweets their thoughts, ideas, feelings on a variety of subjects, even ones you may not agree with, and want someone who welcomes respectful calm discourse, I’m your person. Especially if you like coffee. Or espresso. Or photography. Or cocktails. Or Vancouver. Or Canada. Or dogs. Or cooking. Or gardening. Heh, you get the picture.