My Photo

About Beth Kanter

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Beth's Blog: Channels, Screencasts, and Videos

Awards, Nominations, and Board Memberships

May 2010

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          


Site Tracking

  • This is my Google PageRankā„¢ - SmE Rank free service Powered by Scriptme

« Should Nonprofit Organization's Be on Hi5? | Main | Qik Interview with Micah Sifry at NDN Event in Washington, DC »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jim Thompson

By the way, Beth, I *did* Google the number. I just happened to see your question at the right time to get an answer back to you quickly.

Stephen Downes

This (asking the question on Twitter) is one of those things that works really well once, but rapidly becomes useless if attempted 100 times.

Beth Kanter

I asked Stephen to explain and he said that if we did sort of thing too many times - ask for simple information, followers would suffer from question fatique. I asked what if I was crowdsourcing knowledge - asking for information, summarizing it, and sharing it back. He said it would still annoy people if done too much.

So, how do you have a conversation with out asking a question?

Nick Booth

If you get the answer from twitter you'll probably still check it through search. Twitter can help with information, but in my mind its more for opinion and conversation...

Thomas Taylor

I've been feeling a bit grumpy of late about questions on Twitter. I answer when I either have or can easily find knowledge that answers the questions, but have been totally striking out of late with my own questions.

Here are a few I've asked lately and have gotten 0 responses to:

Anyone: What's the real-life propagation time for a DNS A record with a TTL of 1 hr? Not for every corner of the 'net, but for, say, 85%+.

Is there a community for sharing best practices/experiences for SugarCRM in a nonprofit environment? (and will it solve my pledges prob?)

Dear lazy web - what's your fav free/os music player for Win? Hate WMP and iTunes. No iPod - I just copy music to SD for my Palm.

Anybody have a good alternative to

The SugarCRM is more esoteric than the others - I struck out on listserves and a very targeted blog comment as well (got responses but not the sought-after info). I was really surprised to strike out on the music player question.

So: what are best practices for asking questions on twitter and getting good (or in my case, any) answers? I feel like I'm generally a reasonably good Twitter citizen: answering questions, tweeting (mostly) things that are either of interest to some portion of my followers or which flesh out some portion of my work or personality, maintain a good noise ratio. But my recent experience, coupled with general insecurity, makes me paranoid that all of my followers secretly hate me but are, for some reason, too lazy to just unfollow me. ;-)

Beth Kanter


Don't project others people's opinions of you! It's probably more a matter of information overload. Don't personalize it.

I was on Twitter in October 2006 before the @ was added. When it was added, it took awhile before someone would answer my questions. Then, it has been hit or miss. so, don't take it personally. Keep in mind that everyone doesn't read their entire stream and answer every question. Also, perhaps questions that aren't easy to ask in 140 characters need a pointer to a place (like a blog comment) where someone can type more fully.

Beth Kanter


Also see Tara Hunt's guide

Virginia Yonkers

I'm not familiar with twitter. Can you target who gets your question or is it "just out there"? If you can't target it, it's like going to a football game and asking over the intercom a question about DNA. There might be a doctor or scientist in the stadium who can answer the question, but they may be chatting with their friends, so they miss the question. In addition, because of the context of the game, it may seem unimportant or inappropriate. Others might hear, but have no idea what you are talking about. It is much better to first identify the doctors and scientists, then ask the question when you have their attention (i.e. a forum, e-mail, listserv, Ning group).

Beth Kanter


When you post your message, it goes to all your friends. You can also send a message to everyone but name one friend. You can also direct message. I have a big network and if I took the time to identify doctors and scientists - it would have taken me a lot longer to post. The answers I got were not from scientists but someone who knew the answer maybe someone who did better in high school chemistry?

The comments to this entry are closed.