Video Of The Week: You Are What You Tweet

Ricky Van Veen says what you share defines who you are. So I am sharing this talk with all of you.


Comments (Archived):

  1. leigh

    I think it’s closer to “you are who you want to be perceived to be” 🙂 Happy Easter …

    1. William Mougayar

      True as some people try “hard” to be perceived as somebody or something they’re not. But when it’s genuine, then it is who the person really is.

    2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      So do you want to be seen as tentatively skeptical – or a Bunny lover 🙂

      1. leigh


    3. awaldstein

      It’s exactly that.The idea that people post or tweet without intent is like saying that people talk and communicate without interest in how they are heard or what is remembered.Intent is everything and there isn’t a smidgin of insincerity in the idea of painting a picture of who you want to be perceived as. The market/audience will decide if they believe you.

  2. Richard

    The first lesson we all learn is to share our toys, it involved sacrifice not for the benefit of the giver but for the receiver. The second lesson we learn is that “sharing” brings synergies for the giver and the receiver. These are the best of times for sharing.

    1. William Mougayar

      Yes, and that’s how Facebook positioned the share in its early days, i.e. they understood the psychology of the share, which is primarily driven by the fact that people care about sharing, i.e. by sharing something, you are helping someone else.

      1. Richard

        That and entertainment which is certainly one of the highest priorities of modern culture.

      2. awaldstein

        You think the origins of the share on Facebook are altruistic at their behavioral core?

        1. William Mougayar

          Yes, about the origins. I saw a Facebook presentation about that. Now, how they end-up exploiting those shares is another story. But they do understand the psychology of sharing. That’s the whole premise Facebook is built upon. It is their atomic unit of production.

          1. awaldstein

            I agree–The behavior of sharing is the only thing Facebook understands. And that is a world changing behavioral capture. No mean feat.They’ve done a very poor job exploiting it actually in my opinion.But I balk at the idea that sharing is altruistic at its core. Especially sharing that is non informational, non financial as it is on Facebook for the most part.Sharing is behavioral language done most effectively with images on the platform. This is not a selfless act. Very little is. And it doesn’t demean it to acknowledge it.

          2. kidmercury

            siding with arnold in this beef, no doubt about it. when i think of the motivation for sharing, my first thought is narcissism. social standing/hierarchy, is my 2nd thought. this is not demeaning in the least: often society rewards us for engaging in positive behavior. if we do noble things and are rewarded when we share what we’ve done, we may be inclined to do more noble things…..multiply by a few billion and you have a more noble world.

  3. William Mougayar

    I like that part “Content is the bumper sticker” in a share.Yes, you can tell pretty much who the person is based on the last dozen tweets, but I’m still puzzled that it’s still so difficult to parse out the Twitter stream you follow. We have to rely on external tools and email services on top of Twitter to get our attention to grab what is under our own eyes, but we can’t see it because the stream is still too geeky.If Twitter is focusing so much on being a media magnet, then I want my Twitter home page to look like a magazine, not like a bunch of streams. I can be on FlipBoard, Zite and Prismatic and not be worried about missing too much from my Twitter stream which I visit less often now.

  4. Trish Fontanilla

    I like how he pointed out how it used to be experience then documentation… now it’s documentation then experience. The latter has gotten me to go to a lot of events over the past couple years. haha But it’s just another lesson for companies… if you don’t have some draw as to why someone would want to associate you with their personal brand, because everyone has a curated personal brand thanks to social, you’ll get lost.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      There is also a psychology factor in that “we are what we think + we are what we remember” so by documenting (creating), and then sharing, we are then able to remind yourself, and the friends you want to foster relations with. Your Facebook cover photo, your Twitter cover photo, your profile pictures, the blogs and other sites you visit – they all reflect how you want to see yourself. Of course then this draws and attract people who want to be associated and reflected in such.You’re exactly right though, reasons to be associated with a brand is very important, most important — and as was said in the video, social good / causes are what people most like to share / associate with, and porn – not so much (for most people anyway).

      1. Trish Fontanilla

        It’s funny that you bring the psych into it… I do think there’s this coolness factor… oh if I tweet I’m here, this is the persona it gives off. But for me, at a moment in time where I felt a bit lost in life, Twitter helped me figure out what I was passionate about because I was forced to ask myself, what do I want to be known for?

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Ya, it definitely can prompt you to connect with the present and potentially be / feel grateful for what you’re currently doing / experiencing.

  5. Wells Baum

    “You are who your last dozen tweets say you are.”Your content is a bumper sticker.I tend to tweet about the following: Arsenal & US Soccer, creativity, art, inspirational quotes, new music, new technology, social media, with the occasional joke. That’s why Google Reader is such an indispensable tool: it helps me find the nuggets of information I’m interested in which I then broadcast to the world.I typically mix aspirational tweets with my own original content: blog posts and Flickr/Instagram photos, and more recently, Vine videos.Twitter is a reflection of your interests and what you think about all day. It’s the identity you want to project to the world.Sharing hugely impacts behavior. One of the main reasons I walk to and from work is so I can capture interesting content to add to this blog. It’s a way of saying, “Look where I am right now,” as Ricky Van Veen so eloquently puts it in the video below.Social media is our public microphone. Which means you also have to take complete responsibility for what you share and say. It’s fun, and a bit risky.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      People are social by nature, and so we want to engage. Most of our physical lives aren’t structured anymore to really be as social as we need – and so we try to use technology to fill this gap – and hopefully find those real-life relationships we want to foster.

      1. Wells Baum

        Loss of being social in real life increases social activity in digital life. For the active user, this may feel intertwined. Always on, always social.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Indeed. It may be a bit deceptive, and perhaps social real life activities can be higher due to being more connected and ability for spur of the moment plans being more possible.

  6. Clay Hebert

    I’ve always said, you can learn more about a person from their last 200 tweets than from any resume they could possibly assemble. Can we kill the resume yet?

    1. fredwilson

      we have mostly done thatthough linkedin is relevanti like to look at their linkedin, their tweets, and any other social media presence they have

      1. Richard

        Look to Disqus 🙂

        1. fredwilson

          a disqus profile is great if a person has one

          1. William Mougayar

            A Disqus comment history on a person is so revealing and so current in its revelations.

          2. JimHirshfield

            Ah! The Discusumé. Who’s up for hacking that together?

          3. William Mougayar

            Why not Disqus doing this. It would be a valuable thing, not to be out-hacked and half-ass done. You guys need a revamp of the Disqus user view Dashboard badly.

          4. JimHirshfield

            Yeah, we’re on that. Stay tuned.

          5. William Mougayar

            Good to know. Thx

      2. Clay Hebert

        Yup. The front page of Google (for your name) is the new resume.That, combined with smarter hiring practices (like how USV had analyst applicants submit short video responses to two questions via TakeTheInterview) will eventually kill the Word / PDF resume. It will take years, but smart companies like USV will benefit from the improved process in the mean time.Now if only we could do the same with the traditional job description. Just like a resume is a terrible representation of the depth of anyone, a job description is an equally deficient representation of what it will be like to spend 6 months (or 6 years) at a given job. Both single-page, bulleted formats are outdated and insufficient.

        1. awaldstein

          I want to agree… but I can’t.I do agree that resumes are very limited, though useful.I do get suspicious when I can’t find an online presence for people of any depth.I will never hire anyone in communications who doesn’t have a rich persona online.But–the very best, the most brilliant SEO scientists, developers, sales reps that i currently work with are very light online. And this is generally true.Most people are, outside of Facebook, even within it. The percent of creators, commenters, consistent writers, contributors…is tiny.It can be just as incorrect as it is to go from the general to a specific as it is to extrapolate on the unique (but wonderful) and think that it’s representative of the mass marketplace.I love the aspirational as life’s inspiration. It always falls short when extrapolated into a norm though.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            Fully agree. I think part of this is people who are already established or who aren’t in an industry where marketing is important or strongly valued is why certain demographics don’t have much online presence.

          2. awaldstein

            The power of network and referrals and communities as a source of finding talent is a completely different topic. I’m a true believer in that.

          3. Clay Hebert

            I’m not saying that we’re 100% there today but we’re already seeing the best firms and companies care less about where you went to school and what your GPA was vs. what you’ve made and your online presence.My prediction is that in 5 to 10 years, the resume will be (for most jobs) as outdated as record players. Googling potential candidates is already a requirement of many HR departments (as it should be). I don’t see how the retirement of an outdated 1 or 2-page PDF or Word format is a very radical idea.Maybe in 20 years, resumes will become retro and cool hipsters will evaluate each other to work in the best cafes based on their bespoke “resumes”. 🙂

          4. awaldstein

            Thanks for this reply.I need to clarify.I’m not disagreeing that the resume is a poor lens to a person’s capabilities. For a decade in my companies and jobs it has been a spec sheet at best, features not benefits.And for certain for this same time frame referrals are key.Google though is a function of quantity, popularity and craft. It is built to be manipulated and there is a science to it, with and w/o social loops.Not everyone plays. Not everyone is a publisher. I think that is human nature.So–is the resume a data sheet not a demo, yup. Is search a good representation of some job types. Yup. Behaviorally though it is not everyone and today, not the majority.Trust this is clearer.

          5. Clay Hebert

            Yup. We are violently agreeing. 🙂 Great points.

        2. Drew Meyers

          I hate the resume…such a terrible way to evaluate someone IMO.

        3. Donna Brewington White

          Are you saying that you don’t see a purpose for a job description?A job description is an instrument and the purpose of the instrument should determine its design.

          1. Clay Hebert

            I think a job description is a blunt, outdated instrument to explain what it may be like to work in a certain position at a company. It’s better than nothing, I suppose (like a resume would tell you more about a person than nothing) but it’s 2013 and we can deliver more interactive explanations. Resumes are designed to make processing and filtering people easier. Job descriptions (which look quite similar – text + bullets) are just the other side of that same coin.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            Thanks, Clay. Do you agree with the purposes for a job description, e.g., organizing work, establishing a contract for the work to be performed and objectives accomplished, a standard for measuring job performance, a tool for evaluating the skills and requirements needed for the job and what the job is worth — relative to the market and internally. What would you suggest as a replacement for the job description?

          3. Donna Brewington White

            Hey Clay — our “Disqussion” inspired a blog post on job descriptions… probably the first in a short series… http://hirethoughts.blogspo

      3. Matt A. Myers

        I imagine most people do this. You really need to in order to get a feeling for people + it builds trust through familiarity. I think most people don’t understand this importance — and what people post on Facebook really isn’t a good reflection IMHO of people; It certainly can show one part of them, though there a importance nuances it misses.

    2. Richard

      Tweets seem more about “reporting” your experience than your ideas?

      1. William Mougayar

        I think tweets can be about facts, feelings or experience.

        1. pointsnfigures

          Tweets can be about anything. Sometimes I tweet snarky stuff that is meant to be satire. Sometimes not. Most of the time retweets that are interesting. Nick Epley (Prof at UofChicago) does a class in mindreading. He talks about unless you really know someone it’s extremely difficult to read their online activity and email to truly understand what they mean.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            Exactly. And different in-person relationships I have with people will have a different overall tone and language used – that’s just the relationship that has developed with them; I have an idea of how different people will react to what I say, though if they don’t like how I behave or express myself then they may not be a person I’d want to continue to hold a relationship with.

          2. William Mougayar

            Coincidentally, this article from today says there are 100 things we can tweet about. Get to work y’all 🙂

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        It completely depends upon why the person uses Twitter in the first place. Some people use it as a very personal channel for expression and for communicating with friends. Other people use it as a channel for creating their online persona. Others, strictly for business.If the person uses it for the 2nd or 3rd reasons, you’ll find that they share and express themselves on particular topics.If they use it for the 3rd reason, you’ll find they are particularly sharing and expressing themselves with content that is intended to build their authority in a field.

    3. andyswan

      This is why I always try to tweet my biggest weakness on a regular basis.

    4. Matt A. Myers

      Well, you’d want to be careful there as it’s still only one form and space for expression. People can hide a lot from the internet, and those other un-posted items could dramatically change how you’d see them. Of course there’s a lot of insight and assumptions you could make in general about certain things people post.

    5. tom

      Have you really always said that? Exactly how long has Twitter been around? No need for your resume, we’ll be in touch if we have any questions.

    6. Drew Meyers

      I believe a person’s reading habits tell more about someone than anything else. Which I why Google Reader knows more about what is important to me than anyone on the planet outside of Amazon (since they have my PAID reading habits). I actually just wrote a post on GeekWire about this very topic –

    7. INQUE

      «2 out of 3 times, I almost always click through to a candidate’s website or twitter account. It’s one of my favorite parts of recruiting. Random aside: I care less about what people say on Twitter and more about who is following you and who you follow. So much insight gained by seeing who values your thoughts.» –

  7. Giuseppe Iannaccone

    I like the Bring Your Own Audience comment, and I also believe that you “reveal yourself” when you share something, even more than you actually want.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Well, this is why people who want to be perceived in a certain way – who are striving for a certain character – will self-censor, and this is the difference between reacting purely on emotion versus reacting on emotion with thought – understanding the consequences of your behaviours / actions (words too, of course being part of behaviour).

  8. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Thinking about motives to post:Giving – This is really informative and might help someone ( )Selfish – I want people to promote, read, care, share ( )Important – This matters and involves people I know (… )Funny – Some people never give up – (… )Other Genuine, Insightful, Eclectic – but somehow it improves me so I owe a contribution however small

  9. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    I would be interested in a straw poll.I often come to avc twice in a day – once to read and comment ‘off the top of my head’ then later to engage and often learn from the comments/ debates and varied perspectives. I guess not many sites have comment seams as rich for subsequent data mining – any ideas ?I’ll come back and check later – will you ? 🙂

    1. William Mougayar

      I return 3-4 times depending on what else is going on, and I check my Disqus dashboard for replies to me. Before, it was engagio.

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        William – have been out of touch and crazy busy – first time I heard of Influitive – so I guess you just evangelized me ! Our whole premiss is about a few key B2B players getting us over the adoption chasm – so I guess i better read up a bit !!!

      2. Matt A. Myers

        Are you not working on Engagio anymore after it was sold? Thought I had read you were joining them.

        1. William Mougayar

          I did, worked on integrating tech & team. Now just left, and plotting the next thing 🙂

          1. Matt A. Myers

            Oh cool. It feels like that all happened relatively quickly. 🙂

    2. kidmercury

      varies greatly dependent upon the post and my time, although usually, i check in whenever i want to stay in work mode but give myself a short break to clear my mind a bit. my work style is such that i like to take frequent, short breaks and i find fredland, and to some extent disqus in general, perfect for that.

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        That describes my behaviour to a t. In fact coffee break + Fred and all’s well with the world

    3. Matt A. Myers

      When I regularly am engaged in commenting on AVC I never read the comments before writing out my initial thoughts. I may then read comments before submitting to see if there’s something I could further add to it, or someone I could reference based on my own initial thoughts.I sometimes check AVC multiple times per day, sometimes perhaps a bit obsessively if I’m bored or trying to temporarily distract myself from work.

  10. howardlindzon

    awesome…thx for finding and sharing.

    1. fredwilson

      @bwats found it and told me about it.

      1. William Mougayar

        @bwats , a Canadian angel. Cool

        1. fredwilson

          he’s not canadian. he’s from orlando florida

          1. William Mougayar

            I got confused with @bwat Bryan Watson, sorry

  11. WA

    Life is subtext driven. Then and now.

  12. LaMarEstaba

    I’m not very proud of this, but I do sometimes make decisions based on social media. The impact of social media is not enough for major life decisions (“I think I’ll move to New Zealand and get married for the Facebook likes!”), but social media can play a role when someone is on the fence (“Going to the Little 5 Macklemore concert has equal pros and cons, but the Facebook pictures will be good, so I will go.”)I recently flew out to Madison, WI for a job interview and I was really surprised at myself that I hadn’t posted any Facebook check-ins. And then I thought about how absurd it was for me to think that I needed to post my location on Facebook constantly.The video reminded me of a new social media experience I had last week. I went to a short presentation on the role of Japanese bread (pan) in Japanese culture (strangely fascinating and rich presentation) and I took a picture of the presenters and the buddy that I had gone with. Everyone was duly tagged. I had more than a dozen likes from Japanese people whom I had never met and who lived half a world away. It reminded me that we live in a globalized world and also that content creators are very powerful. The person behind the camera gets to make decisions about what other people see. Sharing is our expression of that power; on our Facebook walls and Twitter feeds, we make decisions about what we believe is worth seeing.

  13. JLM

    .In much the same way that “fast food” is not a substitute for good (slow?) food, every aspect of the Internet is not a one for one replacement of something that may take more time and require more introspective (read hard) thought to use and use well.The broader fabric that is provided by researching someone’s social media presence is not a substitute for fine dining nor is it a substitute for conducting a thorough say, hiring, process. It is a broadening of the offering and evidence.One may make faster decisions but one is not necessarily making better decisions.This is an area of evolution in which the evolved product or process is supplementary — take a video resume v a paper resume. Don’t get rid of the concept or process (introduction) of the resume, just make it more effective and more valuable.The video resume, as an example, is the combination of a raw fact based introduction (paper resume) with a first meeting. Use both and thereby save a bit of time — primarily by rejecting those 90% who are not going to work for any reason — and money (no travel).Be cautioned that poseurs and fakirs will simply master the new technology or medium as easily as the same folks embellished their resumes. Liars will continue to lie.JLM.

    1. fredwilson

      “Liars will continue to lie”yes, i have found that to be true myself

  14. davidhclark

    I really enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing. I’ve always thought this concept but love how he phrases it “identity creation.” I’ve always thought about it as self-branding. Everything we share brands ourselves or creates our own identity in a way. It’s in our nature to share what we like. Depending on the person, it may be the sharing the food you’re eating, clothes you just bought from a favorite store, the hotel you’re staying at while on vacation, your favorite media, your favorite drink; the list goes on.It’s a tremendous value add to a business when their customers share their product/service/experience on their social networks. And it’s a cool thing for a customer to add to their “identity creation” by sharing purchases/things they value.

  15. Charlie Crystle

    sharing is sometimes aspirational

  16. Tom Labus

    that’s your controlled public persona not your private life, I certainly hope.

  17. Philip Brown

    Really good talk. I find TED talks so appealing because at < 20 minutes you can just take a punt on anything really random without much investment. I’ve broadened my view on a lot of topics by just spinning the TED wheel.I found the “bring your own audience” fascinating because it struck me that the outsiders that consume and share a lot of content online are really the early adopters of the new media landscape. I know many people who use social media to talk about their lives, but to share content on a niche kind of makes you an outsider.And of course, the weird intense actions of a small segment of people, often has bigger implications for the future of the mass of consumer habits

  18. Kirsten Lambertsen

    This was especially great for me since I’m in that business. Thank you for sharing.This is why I love Pinterest. I think it’s the most revelatory sharing service yet. I go and look at the pinboards of my users, and it tells me volumes about what matters to them and how they want to be perceived.

  19. TanyaMonteiro

    excellent, thank you for sharing that. bet you could “bring your own audience. now back to my identity creation. (won’t stop thinking about this video for a while)