Sunday, September 13, 2009

Welcome to the Twitterhood | | The Journal News by Julie Moran


Lower Hudson Valley neighborhoods are turning into Twitter-hoods as thousands of area residents join the increasingly popular social networking site.

There are more than 47,000 Twitterers in New York state, according to Twellow, a directory of Twitter users.

Local hot spots include Yonkers (with 433 Twitterers listed on Twellow), White Plains (186) and New Rochelle (95). The numbers rise by the day.

In Rockland County, Nyack is number one with 71 Twitterers. In Putnam, Carmel's 29 Twitterers put the town on top.

Bedford resident Martha Stewart's 1.3 million followers make her far and away the most popular in the area and tops in Katonah, which is the home she claims in her Twitter profile.

Other top Twitterers include computer experts, marketing gurus, stay-at-home moms, mountain climbers and nonprofits, along with businesses big (PepsiCo in Purchase) and small (Lulu Cake Boutique in Scarsdale).

Keith Driscoll, a 36-year-old independent technology consultant who started playing with computers at age 11, is the number one Twitterer in Yonkers.

He regales his 17,698 followers with news about technology, marketing and Twitter itself in 140-character blasts called "tweets."

Driscoll's recent tweets include tips for protecting your e-mail from spam and comparisons of Google and Bing.

At 4,216 tweets and counting, he is one of the most active Twitterers locally, something Driscoll says is a must in his line of work.

"It's the future of business," he said. "People are after information and news. Even while I'm sitting and working on building a Web site, I'm always connected."

Jay Muse, the owner of Lulu, tweets specials as well as eye-popping photos of birthday and wedding cakes.

"It's marketing. It's customer relations, and it's fun," he said. "If we are doing a wedding cake and a bride can see it the morning it goes out, it's exhilarating. It's a nice amenity that costs us nothing."

Muse estimates that about half of Lulu's 1,475 followers live locally, because he meets them when he does one of his quirky "whisper tweets."

"Come in and whisper ‘Elvis' for a free slice of peanut butter pie - while they last!" was a recent tweet.

"We just thought it would be a code where we could make people feel special and in the know," Muse said. "Our customers who Twitter feel so special because they are on the inside club."

Twitter, while getting a huge amount of attention in the news lately, is still a niche.

Three-quarters of U.S. adults who are online have heard of Twitter but have never used it, according to Forrester Research.

Facebook, with 87.7 million unique visitors in July, far outstrips Twitter's 20 million, according to comScore.

While Facebook is all about connecting with old chums and distant kin, Twitter is about discovering strangers whose interests and affinities match your own. founder Michelle Leder said Twitter connects her directly with the people who rely on her research into company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Leder, a freelance business journalist who regularly breaks news on corporate doings, is the top Twitterer in Peekskill, with more than 1,600 followers.

"Twitter has enabled me to meet new people with similar and complementary interests to me," Leder said. "Reading SEC filings all day might be an esoteric task, but you realize other people are interested in that online. Whatever your esoteric hobby is, whether it's collecting stamps or kite-boating, you'll find a community for that."

Artist Phyllis Tarlow, whose followers include other artists, art marketers and people interested in social media, tweets about what it's like to paint outside at parks along the Hudson River and shares photos of her oil landscapes.

  The top Twitterer in Hartsdale, with 136 followers, Tarlow said it can be time-consuming to keep up with Twitter, but worth it.

"As an artist who works in isolation most of the time, it's nice to send a notice out there," she said. "It's actually very enjoyable and quite fun to share some of what I'm thinking, especially if it's around my work."

Sarah Milstein, co-author of O'Reilly Media's "The Twitter Book," said people new to Twitter should start by following people who are interesting to them, then mimic their approach.

Writing humorous or thoughtful tweets, with links to sites on the Web, is the way to win followers and become a top Twitterer, she said.

"Twitter is a medium where other people choose to get your message. If you're not interesting or funny or valuable, nobody is going to follow you," Milstein said.

Nyack resident Leslie Reyher, a 54-year-old former floral designer who now works in medical billing, was surprised to learn she is the most popular Twitterer in Nyack, given her quiet lifestyle and the low-key subject matter of her tweets.

"I just pretty much go to work, come home, hang out with a friend once in a while. I didn't think I'd get many followers," said Reyher, who has more than 1,200 followers.

Reyher's more than 1,700 tweets include inspirational quotes and messages of encouragement.

"I've been told I'm very kind and loving and very supportive," she said. "I'm a very optimistic and positive person, so my tweets reflect that."

Stacy Geisinger of Bedford, on the other hand, was certain her Twitter ranks would swell quickly once she joined, since she's known in her circles as a "go-to" guru on the best restaurants, how to find a plumber and where to get your nails done.

Twittering as "StacyKnows," Geisinger is tops in her town, with more than 2,800 followers who read her tweets on everything from finding U.S. Open tickets to vacationing in the Hamptons.

She also uses Twitter as a news and information source, following more than 3,000 people.

Beth Feldman of New Rochelle, a writer and public relations consultant who Twitters using her RoleMommy brand, said the best way to become indispensable to people on Twitter is to offer information of wide interest.

The most popular Twitterer in New Rochelle, with more than 2,400 followers, Feldman tweets about parenting and her life as a mom.

"It can't be all you all the time, or you'll never be successful. Twitter is not for narcissists," she said.

Rick Wolff, the top Twitterer in Putnam Valley, said, "The big ‘aha' moment for Twitter for me was learning that if I'm being helpful, there is a tacit permission to chime in whenever I want, even to perfect strangers."



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

love seeing you mentioned in another medium! always cutting edge, stace! did you know the journal news author has my maiden name?? xoxo