Demetrio Maguigad Tells Me to Twitter at Main Street 2.0

mmc09_longbanner_small.jpgOkeh, Demetrio said he was going to Google “Main Street 2.0” and see who was blogging about it. However, these techie types always seem to find time to search for their name too and I’m betting Demetrio may find a double draw on this post.

Demetrio gave a presentation on using social media and on-line communication to promote your main street, or downtown district, at the Main Street 2.0 Conference. He works at Community Media Workshop, also found at ““. I guess if I were to try to summarize their mission, it would be to help the voiceless find their voices through new media. (continued)

Early in his presentation he argued that communities are based on meaningful relationships. He quoted Rollo May as viewing community building as reaching understanding and mutual valuing. (It was not that different from Governor Quinn’s later remarks that to build community your should follow the saying “Early to bed, early to rise, work really hard, and organize”.) His efforts are to achieve shared meaning within communities through technology.

And Griff and Tracy, that’s where he got to the Twittering. He outlined the evolution of on-line communication from e-mail, through Facebook and blogging, to Twittering.

So, if I want to keep evolving, I better stop throwing bones at monoliths and start Twittering instead.


  1. Tracy Davis said:

    Ross, I’m so glad you’re beginning to see the light. Too bad you had to go all the way to Chicago to get it.

    March 2, 2009
  2. Jerry Bilek said:

    I still don’t understand the value of twitter. could someone explain it?

    March 3, 2009
  3. Tracy Davis said:

    Jerry, that’s actually a HUGE question. Twitter is simply an application (or a technology) for communication. How it’s being used varies widely. I started using in in earnest for business just two weeks ago, but I’ve put a lot of time and thought into the sort of connections I want to make and what results I’m looking for. I’ve already seen some results, so I’m encouraged to keep going.

    Here’s an article about Twitter tips for bloggers that you might find helpful.

    For a broader overview and some history, here’s a great 8-minute video presentation by Twitter founder Evan Williams.

    Hope this helps!

    March 3, 2009
  4. I know what Twitter is, Tracy, but how is it different than facebook status updates which all your friends can follow, or even blog feeds which, again, all your friends can follow?

    Is it just the lack of all the other data to download – the surrounding website / facebook page?

    It’s ironic that you have to be so economical with your words in Twitter, because, such current technology, we end up communicating like old telegraph messages (only in chatroom syntax).

    I would probably just use Twitter to write really, really, really short plays.

    March 3, 2009
  5. Tracy Davis said:

    Twitter started sort of like FB status updates, but those can be appallingly boring and TW has evolved into a lot more than that. People are finding really creative ways to use it, as the Evan Williams talk (link above) shows.

    I’m positively intrigued with the idea of 140-character plays. AWESOME idea and would be practically guaranteed to get you a cult following on Twitter, AND drive traffic to your blog. I seriously think you should consider it. It’s like a geeky 21st-century digital form of haiku. Contact me offline and I’ll infect you with my enthusiasm.

    Okay, it’s time to put the Kool-Aid down.

    I actually went to this page to post a couple of updates to Ross’s original post.

    First, here’s the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s blog post about the first day of the conference. They also posted a little background here.

    There’s also a Twitter “hashtag” (sort of like a category) for people attending the conference or following it online. You can view all the tweets using this hashtag and even get it as an RSS feed if you’re so inclined. The “tweets” (Twitter posts) will probably look cryptic, but they make sense to those who are using them.

    Enough for now. I’m looking forward to Ross’s complete review of the conference, its theme, and what he thinks can/should/will apply to Northfield and the NDDC.

    March 3, 2009
  6. David Henson said:

    Tracy, tell Brendon to do something else, that was fun

    March 4, 2009
  7. David H.,

    Which was fun – my tiny plays or Tracy telling me to do something and me eagerly complying? I’m unclear. I generally do whatever Tracy tells me, except change my hideous Gravatar image… (winking smiley face, winking smiley face)

    March 4, 2009
  8. David Henson said:

    Both. Maybe you can do 140 words about Tracy’s power over you.

    March 4, 2009
  9. Anthony Pierre said:

    i’m with you on the community building, but you lose me with twitter.

    twitter, like I said before is overrated. It is a 1 way medium (I know you can do the @thing, and that is confusing to the average user also)

    If you really want to build community, use a chat room. With mobile devices, people can pop in and say hi and chat about whatever.

    March 4, 2009
  10. David Henson said:

    Brendon, that was excellent I am working a 20 page critique and deconstruction of your Oditter* to Tracy. *You’ll need a name for the form.

    March 4, 2009
  11. Thanks, David, good luck with the deconstructing. It’s a teaser, that tiny play.

    March 4, 2009
  12. Ross Currier said:

    Hey Brendon –

    The Very Short Play Festival has been reduced to 140 characters? Count me in.

    Now I only have to figure out how to put the saga of last year’s Council Meetings in the context of Shakespeare’s kings in 140 characters.

    • Ross
    March 4, 2009
  13. Tracy Davis said:

    Loving the “oditter”…

    March 4, 2009
  14. Griff Wigley said:

    Jerry, what Evan Williams didn’t say in that TED video that Tracy linked to is that Twitter and its competitors are micro-blogging (aka micro-sharing) services.  So when framed that way, it’s easier to see it as a generic tool like a blog, to be use for good, bad, or merely the trivial.

    In large organizations, internal-only micro-blogging has become a knowledge management tool. Instead of asking yourself the usual Twitter question, “What am I doing right now?”, the questions to ask are “What am I working on right now?” and “What work-related problem am I struggling with right now?” etc. Best Buy has a huge micro-blogging project going on right now.

    The techie part of micro-blogging that’s given it a boost is the ability for people to choose get the alerts (Tweets) of those they’re following via mobile devices.  To be able to instantly tap the brains of dozens/hundreds or more of people who’ve chosen to follow you and your ‘thinking’ via micro-blogging can be a very powerful thing. It’s like having all those people standing in a room within earshot of you all the time. You can’t hear them but they can hear you.

    Lastly, the limitations of 140 characters is freeing for people who’ve not taken to blogging in part because they think they have to create lengthy blog posts… and so they don’t do it because they don’t have the time.  (Brendon has shown us the fallacy of that thinking with his Very Short Plays.)

    I use my Twitter account for Northfield-related stuff primarily… and I nearly always send out a Tweet with the URL of my LG blog posts. So if you blog, you should consider micro-blogging.

    Hope that helps.

    March 4, 2009
  15. Jerry Bilek said:

    I still don’t get it. why should I care? maybe that’s why I like single speed bikes. no gears, simplicity. I’ve got email, a website, a blog, a cell phone I rarely turn on. I think I can skip facebook, twitter, linkedin. where is the value to all of this? will it fill a need? sometimes a book, a bike and beer are all that is necessary.

    March 4, 2009
  16. David Ludescher said:

    Amen Jerry.

    March 4, 2009
  17. […] It was just us co-hosts yesterday, primarily doing a post-mortem on Ross’ trip to Chicago for the National Mainstreets Conference with its 2009 technology-related theme, Becoming Main Street 2.0. (And what is Web 2.0? ) See the live-blogging organizers did during the conference. Ross has posted to his NDDC blog about the conference here, here, and here. and here on LG re: Twitter. […]

    March 5, 2009
  18. Griff Wigley said:

    Jerry, consider using Twitter for your business. Imagine if a hundred of your customers were following your bookstore Twitter. Early yesterday, you noticed on the MPR website that God Delusion author Richard Dawkins was on MPR’s MidMorning and appearing at the U of M later in the evening. You sent out a Tweet alerting them about it, and that you had 5 copies of his book in stock.

    Another scenario: that a customer who follows your Twitter account hears about Dawkins and sends YOU a Tweet about it, wondering if you have the book in stock. You then re-Tweet to your followers.

    Customers would love that kind of service.

    March 5, 2009
  19. David Henson said:

    A:Twinkie, Tweet, twitter B:Thats baby
    talk A:No it tech talk.B:Its baby
    talk A:Tech B:Baby A:Whaa, I want my

    March 5, 2009
  20. Hey, David H.! You trying to steal my tiny dramatic thunder? Actually, I like this. Maybe we could have a Very Tweet Play Festival. A night full of about 100 of these plays? Who’s there? I could run it this summer, maybe, when I have more time.

    March 5, 2009
  21. David H: “emommee”… good one, by the way. Forgot to put that in my previous comment.

    March 5, 2009
  22. Jerry Bilek said:

    why would a hundred customers follow my twitter if only a fraction of that follow my blog? I’ve been blogging for 2.5 years now. still waiting to sell that first book. Is all of this technology a wise use of my resources? serious question there, because I’m not sure.

    I guess I see everything as a sliding block puzzle. if I spend time blogging, twittering, using facebook, that is time not spent adding books to the various websites I use to sell books. selling books this way increased 34% last year, selling books via the blog 0. I’m not opposed to trying twitter or facebook, but they are still unproven methods for retail. So let’s say I twitter the Dawkins talk and you receive my twitter Griff. do you stop by and purchase one of my two copies for $8 or do you buy the kindle version for $9.28?

    Jerry, ape in charge, who is trying to decide if these microwave ovens are a good idea because I have yet to buy one.

    March 5, 2009
  23. Ross Currier said:

    Hey Jerry –

    I “saw the light” of the potential for Twitter in advocacy work. It’ll take another “ah ha” before I can see the leverage for promotion.

    After the show, Tracy told me about the dramatic impact it has had on her business. However, it seems to be having a dramatic input on ONE SEGMENT of her market and recognizing the potential in that segment was the key.

    Griff hustles intellectual property, Tracy, like you, sells physical goods. Maybe swing by her office when you’re visiting your warehouse.

    • Ross
    March 5, 2009
  24. David Henson said:

    Brendon, Sorry about my theft. I think many people with stage fright will truly enjoy acting in these plays!

    March 5, 2009
  25. Thanks, David H.! I’m all about getting people writing and acting and just exploring their artistic sides; so I’ll see if I can put something together. I might make it part of an event I’m thinking about producing this summer… possibly downtown, if the stars align…

    March 5, 2009
  26. Jerry Bilek said:

    will do Ross, right now I need to find my pedal wrench. would twitter help me there? it’s about 10 in. long, has a blue handle and looks like a funny shaped wrench.

    March 5, 2009
  27. David Henson said:

    A:But, I’m the lead
    A:He has more characters
    B:You’re the hero
    A:The hero doesn’t get at least 70 characters?
    B:Look at the big picture

    It’s Brendon’s fault for being encouraging.

    March 5, 2009
  28. Tracy Davis said:

    Jerry, it might be of interest to you to see how CommonGoodBooks is using Twitter:


    March 7, 2009
  29. Jerry Bilek said:

    I tried it. it’s like a foreign language. text message style. I’m being tweeted by two businesses. I logged in today to find a list of tweets. way to much to keep up with. I look at it this way, is this something my customers would value? maybe a few. Am I being remiss in not offering it? doubtful at this point. I watched two videos on the topic. the first by the twitter guy made me realize, he’s a sharp person who failed public speaking. The other was two fellows who also failed public speaking, but seem very important because they have invented a new language only they can understand. it’s just too techie for this non-techie.

    March 7, 2009
  30. Jerry Bilek said:

    crud, it’s like a club I can’t join because I don’t speak the language. how did you get that tweet Tracy?

    March 12, 2009
  31. Tracy Davis said:

    I use geek tools that scan Twitter to find the occurrence of the word “Northfield”. A great percentage refer to the Northfields in IL, VT, MA, NJ… but some are here. That’s how I saw the one about you.

    March 12, 2009

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