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A Post About Whatever the Heck I Want!

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

View of Point Loma

View of Point Loma from the San Diego Bay channel

Yes! Right now I’m writing a nice post about whatever the heck I want! I don’t care if it does well.  I don’t care if it ranks well on the search engines.  I just want to write for the sake of writing.

It’s Sunday.  The very day before Memorial Day.  I participated in a regatta yesterday from San Diego all the way up to Oceanside.  With all the years of experience I have in the ocean and on boats, I got seasick nonetheless.  I got cold, tired and miserable.  I felt sleepy.  The dang race took like 6 hours and that’s not counting the time it took to get to the starting line and the time it took to run the starting sequence.  Needless to say, I spent 9.5 hours on the boat.  Sick for 5-6 of them!  Depressing.  But hey, we all have our bad days.  I’ve spent thousands of hours aboard all kinds of floating objects, both fast and slow.  So, I guess I shouldn’t be complaining too much about this one.  I love sailing and I’ll be back!

Well, I’m busy working on a few sites.  A particular one is driving me nuts right now as I can’t quite get it the way it needs to be yet.  But it’ll get there.  On the other hand, I’m quite happy that I’m home.  I’m nice and warm, wearing some PJ’s and a hoodie jacket.  I’m listening to Led Zeppelin and the occasional Eminem rap.  I’m not cold or seasick.  Just drowning in work, that’s all.  :)  But honestly, I couldn’t be enjoying my day more.  I think I’ll have another cup of espresso!

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New Twitter Followers – Reasons Why it’s Harder to Get Them Now. Part 2

by Jane Michelle| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Twitter Yellow Intense Watching Eyes

Tweet! Tweet! I'm watching you too!

Photo by: Johan J. Ingles

(This post is part 2 of the article, New Twitter Followers – Reasons Why it’s Harder to Get Them Now. Part 1 Here. It’s based on an exchange of emails between the author of this reply, Jane and myself.  It offers quite a bit of insight on the situation on Twitter and the difficulty of acquiring legitimate new followers these days.  I suggest you read the first part of the article as well in order to get a complete idea.)  -Danny (Editor)

Hi Danny,

Thanks for the email and blog post about Twitter follows. A lot of what you’re saying makes sense. I haven’t thought enough about Twitter implementing restrictions nor its effects but I do see a difference in Twitter all around from 3 years ago. It has a ton more users, businesses, too many “bots”, and just a different flow of communication with so much more noise. But I think Twitter still works. If users genuinely want content, or want to see what you’re up, to they are going to follow. It might just take more time. I may be restating you but I’ll share a little of my experience with Twitter and follows.

1. Saturation: Twitter is saturated with new users who don’t really understand it and with a ton of new business accounts. This changes the experience of Twitter, how it functions and our access to content. It’s interesting that what seemed like this underground niche (blogging and Twitter) has turned into something everyone does. This can be a great contribution to connections and content, but it has its annoying downside. In my adult community I’ve seen a lot of cyber pressure to have specific worldviews or political views and a lot of stuff that probably isn’t thought through before it’s published. I don’t enjoy that aspect of saturation in social media when it starts to affect individuality because it feels homogenizing. But these users probably follow and inform themselves inside of a small community so it won’t affect follows directly. But it has affected the number of users and noise to sift through.

Twitter is way more saturated with businesses and spam bots than when we started. I have many friends trying to promote their companies and it’s really hard to differentiate the clothing lines they create and advertise from their personal content. To resolve this I’ve suggested they create separate Twitter and Facebook accounts for business, or to simply restrain from spamming with ads. This way I can be in the know on what’s happening in peoples’ lives but don’t have to get 30 real-estate listings in my feed when I’m not in the market. Otherwise, they just need to be a little more thoughtful about it. You are awesome with this! [Thank you! -Ed] Twitter could be reaching that arc in its growth where if it doesn’t retain a little structure then not only will the content suffer but the company itself could. This may be why they are restricting 3rd party applications and adding promoted tweets- ways of control and monetization for an expanding business.

2. The “follow-for-follow” issue: Like you, there are people I’ve done this with. Some of them I don’t particularly seek out their content but most I enjoy seeing in my timeline. And then there are the people I follow whose tweets I read every few days. I agree with you, “If you’re following everyone then you’re following no one.” I think this exchange can work when used with discernment. If Twitter is involved in payment for followers I think they are only doing themselves a disservice by, like you said, diluting content.

3. Keyword search: You mentioned keyword use to search through Twitter and having to really thin through the bulk to find contacts of interest. I don’t know if everyone does this because it does take time. I still like this method on Twitter’s platform because it works and I believe it will push us to be more creative. There are so many different reasons why people use Twitter and we are all looking for content we feel is relevant as individual users. By looking through trends and hash tags, then following or retweeting, this all seems to aggregate. Often the best content/tweets find their way up.

4. How could I forget #FF. Follow Friday was something I paid attention to 3 years ago. But, when someone lists 500 followers in my feed it’s clear they aren’t giving a shout out to a friend or a contact that inspired them. After I was included in several tweets and felt all special, I checked the page and saw the account Follow Friday’d their entire follower list. So again, I think it works if it’s used with thoughtfulness.

5. Being female: I won’t disagree on that except for, I don’t have a preference over female vs. male Twitter users. There are so many other issues women would probably rather have an edge on. [Refers to the edge that girls can have over guys in collecting new followers.  Read part 1 for more on this. -Ed]

On the whole, I think the best ways to maintain the followers we want are by taking the time to actively seek contacts and content, retweeting what we really like, tweeting well (there are many blog posts on that issue), and giving a shout out to friends without spamming the timeline.

I continue to try to present substantive, fun information and be a part of the online conversation (I’ll try harder haha). I’m incredibly grateful for the friendships and connections I’ve made through Twitter. Part of what makes you unique and interesting, Danny, is that you genuinely have a lot of talent and passion and a fascinating variety of interests in life. [Again, many thanks - Ed]. So I guess this is where I feel like those accounts that don’t have authenticity will fall away. I trust people will find ways of getting to the good stuff they are looking for and we can rely on who we follow to show us new and interesting information. I don’t think numbers really matter much by themselves. Who wants 5000 followers bots anyway? The quality of information and connections we make are so much better. I think if the integrity of the user is there then the right people will follow.

Best to you!
Jane

Jane Michelle Subscribe Contributor Pic

About the author:  Jane Michelle studied philosophy and religion, then found her way to acting, film & new media.  She seeks to balance the creative with the analytical.  Click here to follow Jane on Twitter.

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New Twitter Followers – Reasons Why it’s Harder to Get Them Now. Part 1

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Twitter Eagle Eyes

Tweet, Tweet! I'm watching you!

Photo by: Johan J. Ingles

Recently, I had a discussion with a friend about what seems to be a loss in momentum of acquiring legitimate new followers on Twitter.  The email also brought up the current issue of the saturation of Facebook pages.  I felt the information was too interesting to keep to ourselves so I decided to publish it.  Read on…

Hi Jane,

I was scratching my head yesterday thinking about what seems to be a slow down of new followers on Twitter.  While I’m still a bit puzzled I have a few theories as to why.  At first I thought it had something to do with the hordes of people joining.  It seems they would be taking up all the new potential follows.  However, you would also think those new people are new potential followers as well.  So figure that.  Anyway, my thought is that’s it’s due to a combination of things.  Don’t quote me on any of these as they are just speculations:

1. Twitter’s tighter control over 3rd party software. 3rd party following/unfollowing software used to be more free to do whatever people wanted. It’s not that open anymore.  Twitter has imposed a number of rules as to what this software can and cannot do.  While searching for followers by keywords can provide some nice contacts, it’s all bulk, so in the end you have to thin out the crowd and separate the weeds from the good stuff. Seems like many people are starting to realize that.  However, this 3rd party following software issue I think is the least of the causes of the loss in momentum.

2. Not new anymore. Remember when Facebook first launched “pages” – I opened http://facebook.com/sixstringsensei and http://facebook.com/rightisbackside around that time.  Not only was I able to get about 200+  ”likes” (at the time “fans”) on one page, and 150+ on the other within a week, but they also allowed me to set a custom URL for each of them.  Nowadays, with everybody and their mother having “pages” you’re lucky if you can get 100 likes unless you’re famous or are pumping money into them.  I created a page for the bike accessory company I do work for and another for the their high-end bike line.  After months they only have between 20-60 likes. This is a company that is  fairly known.  Anyway, I went on a tangent there.  Point is, people are not gobbling up new followers on Twitter as they were in the beginning just like Facebook pages are not producing as many “likes” as when they first started.  Now, there are the new guys who follow just for the sake of follow backs and then you have the veterans like us who are a little more cautious as to who you follow.  Which leads me to…

If you are following everyone, you are following no one.

3. Follower saturation. This has to do with following people just the sake of follow backs.  This is very similar to what was happening with Myspace when the idea first started.  People were following anybody and everybody just to get more “friends.”  This has been happening on Twitter the whole time I’ve been there.  I’m as guilty as the next guy when it comes to following certain people only because they follow me back.  While, I do read their tweets sometimes, I keep a private list (my little black book if you may) of people who I really care about  and check their tweets on a daily basis.  When you are following so many people at once it’s almost impossible to keep up with everyone.  In cases like that Twitter loses a lot of it’s effectiveness and the quality of your followers also decreases.  I mean, how good is a follower if he or she doesn’t read your tweets?  Right?  I think people are starting to realize this and are slowing down the pace at which they click the follow button.  You could say Twitter is maturing.  I guess it can be summarized like this: “If you are following everyone, you are following no one.”

4. Paying for followers. Another thing I noticed is that many new Twitter users are showing up with a ridiculous number of followers when all they have is a few tweets.  I haven’t looked too much into this, but I guess they are paying to get those followers.  While it’s fine that Twitter make some money, the down side is that it dilutes good content.  It also frustrates the people that actually post good content since there are others posting junk that can simply pay their way in.

As a guy, I had to employ the follow to get follow backs deal at first in order to grow.  However, I kept that under control and didn’t overdo it.  As a girl with talent, you have that edge when it comes to gathering followers that don’t mind if you don’t follow them back.  It is what is is.  Pros and cons of being either male or female.  But, I don’t regret the time spent on Twitter.  I have met amazing people and have made genuine friends.  I have been able acquire more knowledge in all my varied interests and have also been able to help others.

Cheers,
Danny

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Consider this a Warning!

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Ford Mustang V6 Premium 2011Consider this a warning.  Well, more like a call for your attention; an alert.  Today is Thursday.  Also the first week of May 2011. What’s so important about that?  Last month was my 10th wedding anniversary.  I managed to pull something off that most people cannot.  And I’m happy to say that thanks to that, my wife is driving around in a brand new white Mustang.  How about that?  But, that’s not why I’m writing this post.  This site has been up since 2002; since late 2009 in it’s current form.  Today marks the day where I’m going to aim at scheduling my blog posts.  What does that mean?  It means that from now on and until further notice, I will be posting a new article on my blog every Thursday.  This alert is my excuse for a blog post this week.  However, next week expect the first in a sequence of posts all on the same great day of the week that marks the close proximity of the weekend.  Stay tuned and subscribe. Yes, right now.  Subscribe.  Find the little link on this page that says subscribe, click it and join me.  You’ll make me happy and I will be eternally grateful.  Because writing for others is better than writing for yourself.  Until next week… -DC

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Merry Christmas 2009

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Cruz Christmas Tree 2009Yet another year has blown by! Faster than we can even understand.  It seems like only a few months ago we were buying Christmas gifts for what is now last year’s holidays! Here I am at almost 10PM on Christmas night writing my second post on what is going to be the new incarnation of dannycruz.com.

At the moment of this writing, the website is as white and plain as snow itself.  But it won’t be like that for long.  So if you are reading this post at a much later date, or simply want to reminisce on how the site looked at it’s early stage, I’m attaching a photo.  This photo represents the site at the moment of this writing.

Website Early Stage

I’m keeping this short… I hope you all had a great holiday.  I hope your Christmas made you feel like a kid again.  I certainly saw myself as a kid all over again when I took my son to the beach today to try out his new skimboard.  First steps in surfing on a beautiful day in SoCal.

Merry Christmas and good night! -Danny

Skimboarding Lesson Christmas Day

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