What your tweets say about you (or: How to explain Twitter to your grandma)

What do my 3,545 Twitter status updates, photo uploads, location check-ins, article shares, and retweets reveal about who I am?

Last night, I tried to explain Twitter to my 91-year-old grandma. Why? Well, she asked how I won our all-expenses-paid dinner for two at The Clift Hotel — a Social Media Week random act of kindness from Nokia Connect. My grandma is tech-savvy enough to use a computer to play Bejeweled, but she’s abandoned her email account. And she’s heard of Facebook and LinkedIn because their IPOs generate so many headlines, but she wasn’t quite sure what they were or what “social media” was.

So I ditched industry jargon and dreamt up analogies, two useful techniques that I had employed as a technology reporter writing for a wide array of non-techie readers across the United States. I also showed her the conversation of tweets that resulted in the five-course, wine-paired meal that she called “a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

But to truly help her understand my brand personality, presence, and interaction on Twitter, it would have been helpful to show her this data visualization:

I learned about this quick and simple online tool that generates a caricature of you based on your Twitter data at tonight’s Social Media Week session titled “Digital Storytelling: Influence and Successful Brand Engagement.” Visual.ly’s Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Tal Siach showed this tool and other fabulous examples of data visualizations, which his startup said succeed as storytelling tools when journalism melds with design and analysis. I absolutely agree.

And I’m a big believer in the power of providing context for whatever you’re talking about, whether it’s a data point or an anecdote. So in this case, sure, it’s kind of interesting that I’ve shared 3,545 snippets of my life with friends, industry colleagues, and random strangers … but is that typical for Twitter users? That data point would tell a deeper story — especially to my grandma — when compared to the 7,693 tweets from my brother, a creative director who says he “utilizes social media prowess to launch new movements for social innovation.”

I can’t wait to show my grandma this Twitter-data infographic of the Wong siblings:

Do you know of other infographic generators that would be fun to experiment with? Please leave your recommendations in the comments section so we can check them out!

About Nicole C. Wong

Life explorer. Multimedia storyteller. Experience architect. Everything enthusiast. Omnivore epicure. Lindy-hop lover. Living by grace through faith.
This entry was posted in Nicole C. Wong, Storytelling and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What your tweets say about you (or: How to explain Twitter to your grandma)

  1. Flip the way you eat says:

    Thanks for sharing. Excited to give this a shot.


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