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Table for two . . . hundred that is.

Written by Gretchen Harnick | Aug 03, 2010.

Twitter as a platform for instant – albeit brief – conversation, was created to directly and immediately connect co-workers, while collaborating on projects. I envision Twitter as a big dinner party. Twitter is the table of technology.  Pull up a chair, because you’re invited.

First, let’s plan our dinner party. The people you decide to invite (family, friends, colleagues) depend on the occasion for the party. Oftentimes, you want to have all the favorite people in your life at one big table. You want to be the genial Italian host, bringing everyone together over a bowl of pasta and bottles of wine. What you choose to serve at the twitter table guides your guest selection, according to their interests. Who to invite? You want a mix of guests, it’s your party after all, and you invite accordingly. Have an interest in fashion? Want to know what your favorite designers, editors and influencers are keen on? Invite them.

You always want great conversation at a dinner party. It is nourishment for the mind and soul, with humor to keep things light and flowing. And if you have a twitter handle, well then it’s your party too. The art of conversation, from the days of the salons, was entertainment. Keeping up with the topics of the day puts you on the top of everyone’s list, well positioned to introduce new topics and keep discussion flowing.

What are the different roles played in a conversation? One initiates, reacts, observes or listens. In French, they say, “Je vous ecoute” meaning, “ I am listening to you”.  This carries the meaning of politeness and respect while offering up the gift of attention. With twitter, je vous ecoute means that you can have 28,000+ people offering their ears to what you have to say (in 140 characters or less).

Seating Chart: organize the voices you wish to hear, and create lists of special interests. Maybe you have a passion for textiles, and want to host a textiles brunch. Create a topic list and visit it when you wish. Maybe you want to keep an eye on this topic, so you keep one textile specialist at the table to keep from losing sight of new developments in this area.

Characters: Sometimes the charlatan sneaks in, under an assumed identity.  You think they are hip and won’t tell off putting jokes, but they get into your private booze collection and keep telling the same stories over and over. Remove them from the table with a swift click, or put them in the corner. There are the posers, who pretend to be someone else.  Toss their place card out the window and make room for those more worthy (Anderson Cooper) or more authentic (will the real P. Diddy please stand up). You can have a celeb in the room if you’d like, but oftentimes they aren’t really saying anything of interest: “I want Taco Bell right now”, or “I’m flying to Ibiza with all my fabulous friends”.  While this might be great information for People magazine subscribers, it will probably not move along your topic of interest.  Not always dismissed, however, this can be background chatter, just like at any dinner party.

With Twitter, you choose who you want to dedicate your attention to, you converse back and forth, you throw ideas out on the table, you make jokes, you comment on what others are saying. You network, you tell your table mates you are looking for a job, you learn from what they are saying, you have instant access to their worlds and what they share, and what they are interested in at this moment in time.

And if you don’t want the pesky neighbors popping by, or the creepy guy looking out his peephole, lock your tweets. It’s the online equivalent of the doorman.

I enjoy conversing with and listening in on conversations with all types of interesting people. If I want to know more, I can dig deeper and see who they invite to their dinner parties, and invite a few of their friends to my table.  So come on over, the kitchen is always open, pull up the extra chair, and if you don’t mind the occasional model or fabulous fashionista, I look forward to dining with you tonight!

My twitter handle is @Parsons560, follow me to Twitterville.

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  1. Excellent post – LOVE the dinner table analogy – it is JUST perfect – brava!

    Aug 03, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

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