"We need these tools to help each other." — Biz Stone / Eric Millette for USA WEEKEND
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. If you're feeling a little overwhelmed by all digital ways of staying in touch, you're not alone.
Biz Stone has been there, too. And he invented Twitter (alongside Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams).
Stone, 37, is always on his iPhone using LinkedIn and Facebook, in addition to his mega-popular microblogging site. Even he concedes the constant contact has become a little much.
"I went through a couple of weeks ago and removed a whole bunch of people" from his Facebook account, he says. "Now I just have friends and family." (For the record, he follows 513 people on Twitter and has 1.7 million followers.)
Stone estimates he spends half of every day using social media in some way — and has been since his first blogging community in 1999. For him, it's no passing fad.
"People are social animals," Stone says, quoting his pal Reed Hoffmann of LinkedIn. "We need these tools [to] help each other become smarter and do bigger and better things. I don't think it's going away anytime soon."
Especially not with 5 billion active mobile phones, social media's main conduit, on the planet. Twitter, like Facebook, has become the international mode of instant communication, from getting shopping tips to spreading revolution. Predicts Stone: "Imagine what we might be able to do together because we'll be in sync."
Biz Stone's Twitter must-follows
- Shaquille O’Neal. And it’s not just because Stone is a big Boston Celtics fan. “Shaq is hilarious,” the Massachusetts native says. “If you follow him, you’ll see him do some interesting things. He’ll sign a pair of size-16 sneakers, hang them on a fence somewhere off a highway in Boston, take a Twitpic and then say, ‘Hey. Route 9 in Westborough. My shoes hanging on a fence. They’re yours if you go get them.’ ”
Ann Curry. The Today show anchor is “inspiring and informative,” according to Stone.
Conan O’Brien. He’ll tweet once a day, but they’re “very fun tweets so you’re guaranteed a laugh.”
Sockington the Cat. “There’s a guy who tweets as a cat, and it’s really funny. Anyone who has a cat is like, ‘Oh my God, this is perfect.’ ”
Evan Williams. Of course, Stone has to keep track of his Twitter co-founder. “I can’t unfollow him,” Stone says, laughing. “He’d be like, ‘What’s the deal? Don’t you love me anymore?!’ ”