5 Descriptions of What Makes a Great Tweet on Twitter

What Makes a Great Tweet

This Actually is My 20,000th Tweet

This post is actually going to mark my 20,000th tweet on Twitter since I joined back on November 1st, 2007. Over that period of 5 years I have tweeted approximately 10 times a day, from 3 different countries, on 3 different continents, posted approximately 1,000 original images, and 1,000 original blog posts, while following around 1,000 unique very specific individuals. In honor of this pointless historical marker I have published my next list, 50 Reasons Why I Still Love Twitter, and give you 5 examples of what makes up my favorite tweets below. By the way, the Twitter favorites (star) is the greatest ever feature of twitter, and you can even create your own rss feed for your favorites list.

Twitter as an Essential Tool

Twitter has become an essential tool of our culture, and that’s where Twitter gets it’s power, it’s a tool, and a useful one. My very first post about Twitter on my blog back in 2008 asked just that question, Is Twitter Really a Useful Tool for Your Business? While that post is now far outdated, at the time, I really didn’t know the answer to that question. Back then people would tell me I don’t want to know what you are having for lunch, but now Twitter can facilitate changes to governments like we saw in Egypt and elsewhere, it’s gone beyond expectations. Many still choose to ignore it’s significance, but the power of Twitter has an almost undeniable usefulness the world has never seen.

What Makes a Great Tweet

So what makes a great tweet? Harvard Business Review did this study on just that very subject, and provided their results in this superb graphic shown above on what makes a great tweet and what makes the worst tweet. Overall, their conclusions seem to be spot on, but it can also be summed up in saying the overall best tweet is one that leads to something else. It provides some useful piece of information, or some unique insight such as this post I came across yesterday, What Would Peter Tweet?, and then leads the reader to take some action. So here are five descriptions that makes an overall great tweet.

  1. One that calls you to an action of some kind
    This can be anything from going to buy a pair of shoes from Toms because they do good things to doing the mundane
  2. A tweet that sends you to something bigger than the tweet itself
    Many times this can be as simple as providing a link to a book that the majority of your readers may not be familiar with, often this is a link to a news article or a blog post that will send the reader off to another site other than twitter
  3. A message that gives the reader some unique insight into your own personal life
    Too many tweets are party line tweets, whatever that party line is for you. It could be theology, it could be politics, or just pick something, but this is meaningless without being able to get to know the writer. All business and no play makes for a boring repetitive tweets.
  4. One that asks a question of the reader
    It doesn’t have to be a hard question, it just needs to invoke a response from the reader. This can be totally overdone, but this creates interaction, and that creates community, and Twitter is a community of followers and followees.
  5. One that shares a general piece of knowledge or information
    This is the biggie for me. There is so much noise on the internet and in the world today. Provide me with some useful knowledge about my faith, about the world we live in, about how other people live, about different unfamiliar communities. Twitter’s greatest power comes from its free flow sharing of information and knowledge, and this is the great advantage to society as a whole.

The worst tweets, totally not worth reading, are those that are complaining about something else or someone else. I personally can’t stand reading tweets from my followers who only say what’s wrong with this person or that (even if that actually is the case), and I will often quickly unfollow that user. Give us some insight into your life, in a positive way, and send us on our way better than when we came.

Some Recent Examples of Great Tweets

Those are just a few examples of great tweets from my most recent favorites list, and there you have it. My 20,000th tweet 740 words instead of 140 characters. Coincidentally, much of what makes a great tweet also makes a great blog post as well, but that’s for another day.

Update on Photo Project 365 From June 2012 :: P365.me

Project 365 June 2012 Update

Project 365 [Day 199] Waiting for the Rain in the Parking Lot

It’s the first part of July and I finally got around to updating my June Project 365 Photos (read about my Project 365 here). I am up to day 215, as of June 30th, which makes me 58.74% of the way through this project. Sometimes it feels like I’m taking the same photo every day, but I keep trying to find a unique image each day, and so far I have 215 unique images over my my Flickr gallery. My favorite shot (that was not published previously on my site) for the month of June is above, probably because it is a little more abstract. This huge storm came up while I was sitting in the Publix parking lot waiting for Deb to come out, and this shot was the result.

I still have mixed feelings about this project. It’s a pain in the neck, it takes time, it’s every single day with no break, and it’s a unbelievably accurate look at your life one photo at a time. Just like all photography, when I look at each individual image, I can remember great details about each day, just because I took one single photo. The mind is an amazing thing, and images create a very strong reminder in the brain, causing us to remember details we would otherwise have long forgotten. I know there is some psychological reasoning behind this, but once that image is taken, it takes certain details and moves them from our short-term RAM memory and places them in the long-term storage. That’s what I love about photography.

Just 151 more days and photos to take, and I can’t wait for November 29th when I can say it is finished. You can see a few previous blog posts on Project 365 here. To see the full gallery over on Flickr just go to http://P365.me.

Update on Photo Project 365 From May 2012 :: P365.me

Project 365 for May 2012

May is over and June is here. Hard to believe. I’m still working on my Project 365 for 2012, and so far, I haven’t missed a single day since November 29th (the day I started because that’s when my year starts). I am constantly amazed by this project. I have wanted to complete it for 15+ years, and I know why I haven’t up to this point, it still remains far more difficult than I had ever anticipated when I started last November. Something I have found quite interesting is my iPhone is the overwhelming king of this project. I have used it for about 75% of the shots instead of my Nikon, which I hadn’t really expected when I started.

In the same way journaling provides an excellent look back at what was accomplished, or just what happened on a particular date, this project is giving me a snap shot of my day, week, month, and year. Sometimes I have very little to take a picture of, sometimes I don’t remember until I’ve been ready for bed, then it’s a test of creativity to take a photo in the dark, of something interesting. Anyway, it has been a great project so far, and above you will see the snapshot for May 2012. My favorite for the month are below. To see the full gallery over on Flickr just go to http://P365.me.

Sacrifices that Allow Us Freedom, Family, and Eternal Life

Fillmer Memorial Day Dinner

Today is of course Memorial Day and I guess I’m adding to the glutton of Memorial Day blog posts that celebrate the day, but it’s a day worth celebrating. My family celebrated with a meal, pictured in this post along with the photos of my dad and Uncle about the time they were commissioned, and my grandfather who also served in the Army.

Today, our culture seems to have this tendency to sweep death and sacrifice away to the point where we don’t even understand anymore how difficult it was to obtain the freedom we have, and at what price many people paid to give us that freedom. My family has a long list of those who served in the military, going all the way back to the Civil War (with the South). Both my dad and my Uncle (604th Air Force Band), and both my grandfather’s were in the Army, one flew bombers in WWII, and the other (Don Fillmer) was in the European Theater. According to Don Fillmer’s Discharge Papers from the Army in 1944 he was in the 101st Airways Communications Squadron, and was given the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal upon his discharge in 1944.

While I was not in the military, I recognize their sacrifice, and others, who served those of us who now enjoying the freedom and prosperity they fought to give us. I can’t help but think about the ultimate sacrifice made for us by Christ, who willingly put himself in harm’s way, so that we may be able to enjoy an eternal life with God. There is no greater “Memorial Day” celebration than to have been given life through someone else’s death. Our military did that for us for the past 200 years, and Christ did that for us for the past 2,000 years.

We should recognize both for what they are, not hesitating to honor a person, or people, who have given their life, so that we may live. Pictured below from left to right top down is the Fillmer family (Larry, Dale, Deborah, and myself), Deborah, then Allen Fillmer, Donald Fillmer (my granddad), Larry Fillmer, and Les Fillmer (my uncle).

Is True Christianity Represented on CNN, Discovery, and History Channel?

CNN Belief Blog

Can we really know the true meaning of Christianity today? The answer of course, is an emphatic yes, of course we can, but the answer always seems to change depending on who you ask. Our culture is filled with blogs and news articles like the CNN “Belief Blog” and the Washington Post “On Faith” section, which constantly adjust the meaning of Christianity to suit their own needs, mostly to be politically correct. Make no mistake, these are secular institutions, writing for a single collective purpose and goal in mind, to make a monetary profit. These are businesses, and in business to make money (nothing wrong with that).

These news blogs ask good theological questions like Are Mormons Christians?, because they are hot-button topics, but they often give politically correct answers, ones rarely correct to true Christianity. The Mormon question is a great example, where the press wants to find some way for Christianity to accept Mormons as Christians. If they knew the differences between Christianity and what the Mormon’s say they believe, they would understand why this is just never going to happen (see a good article A Comparison Between Christian Doctrine and Mormon Doctrine). To a learned Christian, Mormons will never be considered “Christians,” even if the Mormon’s say they are, and that is just one small hot topic today of thousands.

I love the Discovery Channel series “Who is Jesus,” and the History Channel’s The Shroud of Turin, but taking serious Christian spiritual or doctrinal advise from these places would be like determining the true meaning of Christianity via the Discovery Channel and History Channel. Sadly, I’m guessing this is where many people in our culture today decide what true Christianity is and isn’t.

The truth of Christianity of course is only found from Scripture, period. If that’s so can a true biblical view also be presented to our culture by means of a secular for-profit company? I think Charles Schultz was one of the first to try and answer that question in our current day when he had Linus read from the book of Luke. After reading another blog post this morning asking “Can we really know the true meaning of Christianity today?”, it made me think… how quickly could you/we/me answer the question? Would the answer come from our deep seeded bias’ we all carry, or would it be a Biblical answer?

There are almost countless ways to answer that question in truth, but here are two quick ways to explain the true and real meaning of Christianity. It’s simple… we make it complex.

  • John 13:35 Jesus says :: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (something also expanded on by Paul in Romans 12:9-21)
  • Romans 10:9-10 Paul says: That is the outpouring of our decision for Christ… “because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved”

Those are just two quick ways to answer that question, there are many more.

Happy Thanksgiving 2011 from the Farm

Happy Thanksgiving 2011 from down over here on the farm. I love the fall in the south, it is a beautiful 70*F sunny day outside (although it is supposed to be something like 24*F in a few days), and Thanksgiving pretty much always kicks off Iron Bowl weekend. If you are perhaps one of the few unfamiliar with the Iron Bowl, check out the film by ESPN called Roll Tide War Eagle. Can’t begin to list how many things I am thankful for at this point, but for one, we have Deborah at home and feeling relatively well, that trumps most other things on my list right now.

I am extremely thankful for my family, and being able to eat dinner over at my parents house today will be awesome. I took the photo of my mom and dad above this morning, but the normal traditional work is the first shot. Every year on Thanksgiving week we (generally that means my dad) mow the entire pasture for the winter.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and War Eagle!

The Valley of Vision :: Poem

I took this photo above from a painting that one of the kids in Uganda painted at Bethany Village Orphanage, and it just reminded me of this poem written by the Puritans around the time of World War I (1918). I found this poem from a collection of files I put together several years ago. I just love how the poem, the painting, and it’s painter go together so well.

The Valley of Vision

Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,
You have brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see you in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold your glory.

Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter your stars shine;

Let me find your light in my darkness,
your life in my death,
your joy in my sorrow,
your grace in my sin,
your riches in my poverty,
your glory in my valley.

Amen

2011 Auburn Football Starts My 40th Season :: 5 Photo Outtakes

Well I know we all know down here in the south that the 2011 football season is only a few days away, but after seeing so much posted on the internet about Auburn’s upcoming season I had to go back and look at the last 5 years or so and revisit what I shot through all those games. Every football season is so completely different from the year before, and last year for Auburn was the dream season for those of us who have followed Auburn football for 40 years (like me).

This season will actually be the start of the 40th year of my involvement in Auburn football as a fan. I don’t even know why that is significant in the scheme of things but it just occurred to me as I started looking through all the years of Auburn football images I have now compiled as a photographer and a fan. I was born the day after the Auburn vs Alabama football game in 1970, the last game of the season. Auburn won that game 33-28 at Legion Field in Birmingham. Apparently the only photographer at the game that day was Tod Papageorge, this was about the only image I could find from 1970 but if I can find one of my family from that game I’ll post it tomorrow for Throwback Thursday. Over the next 15 YEARS Auburn would go on to lose the Iron Bowl 12 times going into the mid-80’s when Bo Jackson would then step on the scene. The one historical event coming in 1972 with the “Punt Bama Punt” game where Auburn won 17-16.

Below are outtakes from the last five years. One shot from each season, starting with Gene Chizik going through Tiger Walk from 2010 down to 2006 when we were on the field for pre-game warmup. These are shots that never made it to my blog or use anywhere else, just a few random shots I found from the last five years. Can’t wait for the start of the 2011 season, it’s always a fun time of year down in the south.

A Graveyard Tells a Unique Story in History :: Photos

Don’t know how your week has been but my week has been so busy that today was the first day I actually had a chance to get these photos posted from my shoot last weekend.

I love doing a photowalk through local graveyards. Here in Alabama (and I guess everywhere) we have these small family graveyards dotted all around the area. Each one tells an incredible story, and the stories often span a historical period of hundreds of years. This may sound strange to some but they are almost always quiet, peaceful places where traffic is light and little has changed over the decades and time just seems to slow down when you walk through.

This graveyard is real close to my house and is typical of the local family graveyards around our area. There are almost as many infants, babies, and youth in this spot as there are adults. Most of the smallest graves are unmarked and very old at this point. The earliest birth year here was late 1600’s so this little tract has been in this one family, sitting just like this, for over 300 years. There are a lot of houses in our area that were built around the Civil War era, and this spot has a tiny little building/house/shack on it. I try to image who would have lived in this little building, which is smaller than the smallest room in my house.

Each one is different, each one tells a different story.

Memorial Day Flag Flying from Auburn Alabama

I am glad we still celebrate Memorial Day in this country.  Somehow it seems that as the political correctness of our culture takes over everything we end up loosing an understanding of what made this country great in the first place.  It sickens me to see stories like the one of the Iraq veteran who displayed the American flag in his apartment window and was told to take it down or face eviction due to the fact that the flag is offensive to some of their residents.

Charlie Price of Wisconsin served 8 years for his country in Iraq and Kosovo to find that he isn’t even allowed to fly the flag he fought for in his own window. The couple is now fighting to amend the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 to include renters, and I hope they are successful.  Sometimes it seems that you are no longer aloud to hold an opinion in this country because it might offend someone.  Who are these idiots who have now decided that we need to be a country of brown plain-jane, average, robots, who all believe in the same thing and can never disagree with anyone else?

There is no greatness in average, no conviction of ideals or principles in living a life of medium gray, and these types always seem to get the headlines. It gets tiring to hear the moaners, whiners, and complainers beat the drums of complacency and strive towards moving the country to be average, but sometimes they seems to be yelling the loudest.  Now, instead of being the innovators and inventors, we are having to rely on Russia and Russian built rockets to take us into space, who would have thought that 20 years ago.

It is still the greatest country in the world, I just wish some of it’s residents would take a history lesson and see that America was not built on being average.  The History Channel just finished an interesting series called America The Story of Us.  Though some of it was a little subjective, it showed the overwhelming story of how much innovation, determination, and sacrifice people made because they believed in themselves and what this country stood for.

My family has had people who fought in the Civil War, WWI, both of my grandfathers served in WWI (see Son of a Son of a Photographer), one flew a B-24 Bomber in WWII in Europe, my dad served in the Air Force, and my cousin decided to go into the Navy after 9-11 and is currently serving in the Navy on a nuclear submarine.  I am thankful for their service to this country.  Because they served, my wife and I are able to enjoy living in this great country.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day.  It has been quite a stormy weekend with some crazy weather but I managed to get outside and take a few photos (and some of the dog of course).  The heat is definitely on its way, the pasture, trees, and everything around has taken on the brilliant green of summer.