Saturday, July 30th, 2011
Who knows what kind of social networking tools will be popular by the time my infant son is old enough to use them. I can only imagine the challenges I will face in communicating with him as technology continues to develop and he becomes a teenager. As for now, my biggest concern regarding myself staying relevant in the world of communication is the inescapable entity known as Twitter; as it relates to the readers of The Dadabase.
Up until recently, I didn’t take Twitter very seriously. But back in May when my personal blog, Dad from Day One, was picked up by Parents.com and transformed into what we now know as The Dadabase, I quickly learned just how relevant Twitter had instantly become (and/or needed to become) to my life.
I saw how quickly a seemingly average blog post of mine could get some immediate, widespread exposure because a handful of readers out there decided it was worth sharing on Twitter. As of this week The Dadabase has begun consistently averaging over a thousand views a day. That’s not to say, “Dang, ya’ll! Look at how awesome I am…”.
Instead, it’s quite the contrary: It only makes me incredibly aware of how huge a role my readers play in growing The Dadabase, as well as, my personal mission to positively re-brand fatherhood. My ability to grow a following is pretty similar to the way Inspector Gadget would catch the bad guys: He faithfully and passionately did his job, but it was his niece Penny and her canine friend Brain who actually made things happen. I am simply the Inspector Gadget of the parenting blog world.
This morning I caught up with my friend Joe Hendricks at a Starbucks here in Nashville. He is a professional photographer whose work has been featured in many posts here on The Dadabase and I highly respect his business advice. Naturally, he started asking me about how I am utilizing Twitter, as a writer. Well, the truth is I wasn’t.
Within a few minutes I realized I didn’t even know what the word “hashtag” meant. I guess I assumed it had something to do with a person labeling their Ziploc baggy of marijuana… turns out I was wrong. Even worse, I had no idea that Twitter has an “@Mentions” tab so that I can see where my Twitter followers have shared and responded to my Dadabase posts. It was thanks to the “@Mentions” tab that I was able to see that my most popular posts became that way because they were my most re-Tweeted posts.
So I spent about an hour today going back to reply and thank all the people who helped spread my writings further in the blogosphere. I never realized there were that many people I didn’t even know who were sharing The Dadabase with other people I didn’t even know. But I am extremely and sincerely grateful. That is so awesome of you who have been doing that. So, thank you!
Another thing I did was change my Twitter profile picture to feature my son, instead of the bizarre red panda that had remained since 2009.
It is so important to me that I respond to every single one of the comments I receive here on my blog; even when a reader openly disagrees with my perspective. I see now that replying to comments here on this site and on Facebook are only part of it. Now that I have been better educated on how to use Twitter, I promise to be more involved with my Twitter followers.
You see, I am only so tech savvy. I’m not yet cool enough for an iPhone or an iPad or a new laptop (though I desperately need one because the MacBook I use was already outdated when I bought it new in 2006). But now I am being forced to be cool enough to use Twitter. So pardon my progress as I figure this thing out.
I am always excited to hear from other parents out there who are going through the same stages of parenthood as I am. Additionally, I feel honored to be part of this global network where I can start a random conversation here on Parents.com, which is then promoted through Twitter, and then the rest of the world can choose to chime in if they find it engaging enough. And now as of today, if you reply via Twitter, you will officially hear back from me, nickshellwrites.
Go, go, gadget blog!