My Twitter Presence

Three Chris Brogans Managing one’s Twitter presence can be tricky. At over 146,000 followers at the time of this writing, I’ve got to do things to manage at scale. I wanted to share with you my thinking, as I’m asked quite often, “How can you follow over 100,000 people?” This post should help you understand the ins and outs of my Twitter Presence.

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My Twitter Presence

First – My Accounts

I now have 3 official accounts for me:
@chrisbrogan
@cbreplies
@broganmedia

@chrisbrogan – is my main account. It’s my home base.
@cbreplies – is how I’ll reply to people from now on (most times).
@broganmedia – is a data feed of things I’ve shared plus my blog’s RSS feed.

Every other account that mentions my name in part or in whole is not mine, not run by me, not endorsed by me.

The Tools

People always ask about the tools I use for Twitter. Here’s the list.

Seesmic Desktop – for my desktop.
Seesmic Mobile – for my phone.
SocialToo – for auto followbacks (NOT auto DMs), and spam mgmt.
Twitter Search – for search strings.
Listorious – for finding good Twitter lists.
oneforty – for all things Twitter (hi, Laura!).

My Twitter Goals

I have more than one goal in mind when using Twitter. In fact, I have several. They may be different than your goals. Your goals are also okay. (Oh, and you’re doing it wrong.)

  • I use Twitter to get the pulse of people in the larger online world.
  • I use Twitter to communicate in two directions.
  • I use Twitter to promote important causes, as well as business opportunities.
  • I use Twitter to promote other people’s stuff 12 times as much I as do mine (12:1 rule).
  • I use Twitter to stay updated on people’s shared news.
  • I use Twitter as a quick pulse-taking service.
  • I use Twitter to find business (via search).
  • I use Twitter to stream links to my stuff and to others’ stuff.
  • I use Twitter to connect with humans.

Again, there are lots of ways to use it. Your way is just wonderful. My way is just mine.

My Twitter Methods

  • If you’re not using a multi-view client (like Seesmic, or HootSuite, or Tweetdeck), you’re not going to see it all.
  • I use search more than any other feature and follow many search strings.
  • I scan my @replies and a search on “brogan” to make sure I don’t miss replying to you.
  • I have a column open to scan for Trust Agents. I said we would.
  • I use lists to make sure I see as many people as I can. I turn these on and off.
  • I probably didn’t see your tweet. At over 100,000 people, the Twitter API can’t even send me them all. Software/pipe issue.
  • I follow back so that you can DM me. (I unfollow you if you spam me.)
  • I follow anyone who follows me (with some exceptions). I unfollow bad/annoying people as I find them.
  • I try to reply as often as I can. If I miss your @ message, I’m so sorry.
  • Sometimes, I use Twitter to get answers. If you ever want to see what people said back to me, just click this.
  • Twitter is not a way to reach me in a hurry. If you need me immediately, you probably already have my cell number.
  • Twitter isn’t a great place to ask me serial questions. If you have many questions to be answered, feel free to contact me.
  • Twitter is a great place for serendipity. Try that for yourself.

How do YOU use Twitter?

This was my methodology and mindset behind Twitter. Yours is no doubt different. It’d be fun to see your post on “My Twitter Presence.” Feel free to drop links to such posts in the comments section (note that I manually approve all html links, so bear with me). What say you?

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  • http://www.lifenotion.com Derek Jensen

    Chris,

    I use twitter so much differently now than I used to. I used to be what I look as now as an annoying person that spams your twitter feed with links to your very own site.

    Now, I’ve realized the true greatness of twitter. And that is being able to hold conversations with many people in a short amount of time. And through this I’m able to connect, network, and just have a casual talk. I call my following my friends and treat them as friends by holding conversations with them or just shooting the breeze.

    One twitter client that I’ve loved using to handle all these conversations is Tweetie for Mac and then once in awhile Ill get ambitious and open Hootsuite.

    Lastly, I use twitter as that famous black book and an online journal.

    Best,
    Derek (@byderekj)

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ The JackB

    My own Twitter use is evolving and I suspect that it will do so for some time to come. I make a lot of use of lists and Hootsuite so that I can break it up into groups. For several months now I have been trying to actively engage with all of the people I am following or whom follow me.

    I suspect that I am hitting about 20% consistently. But I have found it to be highly rewarding and I am getting far more out of it than I was before that. If you use Twitter as a two communication vehicle it will give you far more than you can imagine.

  • http://www.mikeslife.org Mike CJ

    I wrote on this subject some time ago. Broadly, I’m in line with what you do, perhaps a little less business and a little more social. Here’s my post: http://www.mikeslife.org/content/how-i-use-twitter

  • http://twitter.com/donpower Don Power

    Chris, you commented recently on another blog (can’t remember which one off hand) that even if you spend just 6 MINUTES a day following and interacting with a core set of just 100 of your followers/followees – that would be 10 hours a day just spent Tweeting!

    Multiply one’s follower/followee count by a factor of a thousand and one can easily see that the utility of a platform like Twitter clearly breaks down past a certain scale.

    I get the feeling that Twitter is near the Tipping Point – where those with the most influence will begin to migrate to another platform (whatever that may be) – much like Darren Rowse unfriending everyone on his Facebook account so that he could reconnect with family and friends as he originally intended…

    I am actually in the process of slowly unfollowing folks who I’ve never interacted with on Twitter so that I can interact with a smaller core of people more often and more meaningfully.

    Perhaps we should have a new social media platform called ’150′ – where that is the maximum number of followers/followees you can have (as per the magic number of human social interaction mentioned, among other places in Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Tipping Point’). Think about it – 150 people is much more than the average person would connect with offline and yet it is manageable enough online so that real interaction can be sustained and nurtured – not ‘scaled up’ and automated…

    - Don Power

  • http://www.sueannereed.com Sue Anne Reed

    For the longest time, I’ve been obsessed with reading everything that the people I follow said. And, then within the past couple of weeks I’ve realized (finally) that its insanity. I’ve subtly shifted my focus into more conversation. I was pretty conversational in the past, so I do think it’s more subtle.

    I also think there is a value to doing some things on Twitter in a asynchronous fashion and others in real-time. (Someone else mentioned that months ago, and I’m finally buying into it.) I’m going to keep my “must reads” list under 20 and that, along with my DMs and @replies are going to continue to be real-time and other things are going to be more asynchronous.

    I’ve been a huge fan of search columns on desktop apps for a long time, and I recommend them frequently to anyone who is interested in connecting with a group of like-minded people.

    @Sue_Anne

  • http://www.esimplestudios.com Gabriele Maidecchi

    I personally think Twitter take a long time to get acquainted to, it’s easy to use but very hard to master.
    I am slowly changing my “passive” Twitter behavior (and by passive I also mean just blindly retweeting cool stuff you find around, who never did that heh) shaping it into a more active, meaningful one.
    The main question arises when a company like mine has several sub-projects or business units and you have to decide wether to open a different account for each of them or just keep one.
    Initially I thought keeping separate accounts (and perhaps using an awesome service like CoTweet, which I recommend) was the way to go, but in the end it all comes to how your business truly is structured.
    Does your business truly benefits from splitting your online presence in 2, 3 or more Twitter accounts? Does it make sense?
    For now I went with the “one account” option, I guess you’ve got to reach a critical mass to justify the use of more than one.

  • http://www.wpbeginner.com Syed Balkhi

    I don’t follow just about everyone who follows me. My following to follower ratio is quite low because I only follow people that I like, and people who like my tweets follow me. I think this idea of reciprocal following is almost like the old days of Myspace Whore Trains…. You friend someone for the sake of friend count not for the value they contribute to your daily life. Tweeters that I follow have some how entertained me, helped me, added stuff to my knowledge, and/or are just real close friends of mine.

    I contemplated following 100k users to get 100k followers, but I’d rather cherish the interaction that I have with my 7k followers while following 200 some people that I can truly follow. While I understand you can use twitter clients to filter everyone out except for a few group, but if you wanted to do that in the first place, then why follow so many?

    Glad to see you moved to Genesis :)

  • http://twitter.com/DaveBenjamin David Benjamin

    Well, I took your lead and wrote my own blog – My Twitter Presence. Thanks for the inspiration.

    http://davidebenjamin.com/my-twitter-presence

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting on using the @cbreplies. Why so? Just easier to track as it’s own feed for a point of look back reference?

    “Twitter: To Follow or Not to Follow, That is the Question” http://bit.ly/twitterpostdanield – That’s my post on the topic. I was more so talking about the in’s and out’s of following, time management and using tools to maximize but also share how I use it myself.

    “Twitter is a like a party. We can either stand around in a circle and just talk to those we know or step out of the circle and meet new people.” I like it for the meeting new people part. :)

  • http://www.sharelomer.com SharelOmer

    Hi Chris,

    Managing and growing a blog social community (twitter, facebook, blog comments) is time consuming and error-prone (miss engagements from VIP ppl), and when a blog start to scale up he can’t manage his community relationships…this inspired us to build such a service to help bloggers like you to touch more people, spread your word, and be more productive and more profitable using our commun.it service to manage your community relationships across the social channels, leveraging social media best practices in a unified contextual service.

    I will love to share more info about what we build if you are interested :)

    Thanks,
    Sharel

  • http://www.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    Loved your post. I wrote a similar one a few days back describing how I use Twitter: http://www.skepticgeek.com/microblogging/how-i-live-and-breathe-twitter/

  • http://twitter.com/HockeyDino Hockeydino

    I’ve yet to really figure out how I want to use Twitter. Right now I push all my blog and Facebook page posts. On the reading end, I have signed up for various twitter-etc stuff and it gets to a point where it is just too much.

    Most people I know who even have a twitter account, don’t even use it. Twitter may have many members, but how many are actually using it? Probably not as much as they make it seem.

    I just pick from a scrolling list of updates. That’s enough to not get too involved without effecting my time.

  • http://www.synapticlight.com/ SynapticLight

    Hey Chris,

    Like you I have had one account for a while and recently set up a second one.
    My motivation originally was to connect and engage, but I have found myself in two minds with the way I communicate – so I spilt myself up.

    My original account(phillipgibb) becomes my home base. My intent here will stay casual and completely relational.

    And my new account(synapticlight) is tightly bound to my blog and keeping in the sphere of filmmaking.This will be focused, intentional and with the clear purpose to make connections, talk about and share filmmaking stuff. True – for a while synapticlight will feed off the success of my homebase, but at some stage, I am sure, that it will not have to.

    I have to say, that with the ‘Social Media Tools’ out there (I use hootsuite) – that it is much easier to manage multiple accounts together with other accounts; e.g. facebook, pages and profile.

    Phill

  • http://linkedin.com/in/joesorge Joe Sorge

    I’m very curious to see how the cbreplies account works out for you. I’m currently trying something similar with a brand and personal account and don’t follow everyone back. Still I worry about hurting someone’s feelings when I don’t follow them back after they’ve found my personal account. Have the same dilemma with FB actually. Funny how hard it can be to separate business, business leads, business interests and all things personal. Then again, that very same difficulty may very well be what endears so many people to you or your brand in the first place. However, the challenge when an account reaches 140K followers is one that I can imagine is so impossible to track that you end up further away from those you don’t want to be. Aaaaaand I’ve written in a circle…#twitterishard :)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      It is funny, eh? Totally nuts. You’re the poster child for the experiment, though, Joe, on several levels.

  • http://twitter.com/DickieArmour Dickie Armour

    Chris,
    Thank you so much for sharing this. This is awesome info on how someone how understands social media uses Twitter. I know this will be of huge value to most people.
    I love your reference to “Serendipity”! It’s my word of 2010. The serendipitous things that happen from using Twitter are just staggering.
    Like me Tweeting you about your new book – you replied within 2 minutes – and then us getting to meet at the Like Minds event in Feb this year! Totally amazing!
    Like me seeing a RT from @bobburg about his new book “Go Givers Sell More” on display at an airport. I saw the tweet, bought Bob’s book and tweeted a photo of it when it arrived. Bob and I are now connected!
    Like @garyvee replying to my email and then sending me an @dickiearmour tweet on Twitter!!
    Unreal.
    On a business level I am in touch with my customers on Tweeter on a daily basis and that has really cemented many relationships. We talk more on Twitter together than we would ever do via any other medium.
    I shall now begin a new blog post on my Twitter mindset and methodology – http://blog.dickiearmour.me.uk
    It will be up soon.Thanks again for sharing this Chris. You ROCK!

  • http://twitter.com/cr8tivejen Jen Grant

    Hi Chris – good way to break up the process. Thanks.

    I understand why you auto-follow people back from a personal stream but would you recommend the same practice for global brands (@chrisbrogan is pretty much a brand now as well though.)

    I can see the benefit both ways, but considering brand accounts cannot always be managed by someone as experienced and discerning as yourself, I worry sorting thru and removing spammers and/or competitors might be a more arduous task than following with intent.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      The question is this: why NOT follow back? The only people to kill are spammers and obvious evil entities.

  • http://reallifemadman.wordpress.com Marjorie Clayman

    This post was written about something I struggle with through my Twitter presence – wondering if people doubt my authenticity. Pretty different kind of post than yours, but same ballpark.

    http://reallifemadman.blogspot.com/2010/08/no-i-really-mean-it.html

  • http://www.davidleeking.com davidleeking

    I saw that @cbreplies thing in your flickr feed, and was wondering how you would use it… honestly, I’m not sure how that will work – so good on you for the experiment! So what will that give you that you wouldn’t get by simply replying in your normal feed? You didn’t really touch on that. It might give you a couple more analytics… it won’t really save you time, I don’t think (but I could be wrong there).

    Just curious!

  • http://twitter.com/1to1Discovery Juli Monroe

    Chris, I’ve written several posts on goals and social media, and one I wrote earlier this year used myself as an example. Be honored if you’d approve the link. http://1to1discovery.com/time-time-give-me-more-time-for-social-media/

  • Pingback: Twitter: To Follow or Not to Follow, that is the Question | Daniel Decker

  • Anonymous

    Excellent post. For me, learning strategies to leverage Twitter lists was crucial in making my Twitter experience way more productive and proactive instead of reactive. It lets me zoom in and out to various communities of people that I want to engage with, from city-based to event-based. It also helps me pay attention to people I know i’ll want to engage with later but am not ready at the time.

    I AM curious about your criteria for managing and using @cbreplies… and what happens when replies turn into conversations. Will that then be shifted to @chrisbrogan? I’ve considered something similar but have not in concern of having yet another account to manage… After already having many emails, websites, identities, relationships and various topics of conversation, I’m nervous about adding yet another outlet for more.

    Have you found a relationship management solution yet to have snapshots of conversations and relationships so as to truly maximize the interactions you have yet? This is where I am struggling and am curious if anyone has an answer to this one.

    - @tarynp

  • http://www.tuag.ca Michael Keara

    Thanks for posting this Chris. I hadn’t clued in before that you had other accounts beside @broganmedia.

    I don’t spend a lot of time on Twitter in any fashion – and I know I’m missing some form of opportunity there. But frankly I haven’t worked out a way to balance that increased connectedness with getting my work done – especially given the real time basis of Twitter.

    When Tweetdeck is running my productivity plummets, period. I don’t think that is fair to my clients who I bill by the hour. I’m looking forward to reading more on comments on this post and checking out the related posts that some have shared. I’d like to know how others resolve this.

    @useradvocate (for what it’s worth – I rarely tweet and seldom follow)

    BTW – there is a bug on the DISCUS comment control window. The ‘Subscribe to all comments by email’ option does not work. I tried here several times and debugged it on the DISCUS site. (I hope they read my comments there.)

  • http://carlnatale.com Carl Natale

    Cool strategy. I’m curious how @cbreplies works for you. Doubt I have need for that.

    I try to keep @carlnatale for personal interaction and promoting other people & my writing. I don’t have a 12:1 ratio but trying to help others as much as possible. Wondering if I should split off the promotional tweets into a separate account.

    I set up @carlnatalerss as an aggregator of RSS feeds of my writing. No interaction or following. I think my mom is the only one who follows me. That’s fine.

    Hootsuite is my choice for managing all this. Their Hootlet is the best bookmarklet script for sharing links. Wish there was something similar for iPhone or Android browsers.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Splitting accounts is really dangerous. You note that I won’t sacrifice any potential attention loss by the people who do or don’t follow @cbreplies. Because that account is just for replying back. They’ll stay focused on @chrisbrogan.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Interesting. Thanks for this. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Rarely do my replies turn into conversations (see also: ‘social crash’ post). But I’ll just switch to @cbreplies when I normally would just hit reply.

    I’m not sure what you mean about snapshots. Can you explain that? Batchbook is my CRM and it has social integration, but not sure that makes sense.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    I’ll tell you that just pushing stuff won’t really get you much value. It’s the interaction that really lights things up. Participate in other conversations and you see gold.

  • Anonymous

    Well… When going to a business event, per se, I like to take notes on business cards about snippets of conversations so that I can recall those details at a later date. When I interact with people online, I’m meeting so many new people ALL the time yet have no business card to take notes on. I’m wondering if there is a solution/program that can automatically track relationships for the end user so that at any given point, I can select a user (that *I* designated) and have a log of our interactions (or details I wanted to keep track of)… Almost like a Google Wave of sorts or taking Twitter “favorites” to another level.

    I meet so many interesting people and have conversations that are great with details I’d love to keep track of because they are valuable or interesting but the constant influx of information makes it hard to consider using ACT or other CRM.

    Does that help clarify?

  • http://twitter.com/ed_han ed han

    Chris, excellent discussion of tools for managing Twitter. I’m always learning when I read you, and that means I will absolutely continue to do so!

  • http://www.simoons.com Peter Simoons

    Great strategy indeed Chris! I see a couple of similarities in the way I manage Twitter, with following every person (not necessarily company or vague accounts) back and staying on top of topics through search and lists. However, it has more grown that way where yours seems a well thought out strategy.

    Like Carl I am very interested to learn how the account split will work. I have a couple of accounts but for several purposes and with Hootsuite it is good manageable. But replying from a different account, can’t see the benefit there yet.

  • Saddumal Bhasodia

    Get a life.

  • http://twitter.com/BobPoole Bob Poole

    You say “# I use search more than any other feature and follow many search strings.” Would you share your strategy in who and what you search?

  • http://twitter.com/EricGlazer Eric Glazer

    Chris, great post. I am NOT sure I agree with the splitting of accounts but then again I don’t have 100,000+ followers. I’m curious what impact it will have on people’s desire to respond to you directly. My first reaction was it felt less personal and a bit corporate but I am sure you have thought of that. I understand its you behind the account but perception is reality. Thus I am curious to hear how @cbreplies works for you long term.

    Really enjoyed the quick, simple and high level view of how you are killing it on the medium. A nice reminder on what a powerful tool Twitter has become. Thanks again for another valuable post!

  • http://twitter.com/EricGlazer Eric Glazer

    I second Bob’s question! (great question Bob).

  • http://www.wilsonusman.com/ Wilson Usman

    I like to use twitter because I get to connect with people we normally would never have reach to back in the day, I can’t even believe you respond back to my tweets, its flipping awesome!!

    The other day I had a mini conversation with Keith Ferrazi, it’s cool to know that such busy well know people like you guys can have time to talk back. Thanks

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Well, it depends. For clients, I search for strings that will find them more sales or prospects. For myself, I search sometimes for topics, sometimes for events that I can’t attend, sometimes for cities that I’m visiting so that I’m aware of the pulse of the city, sometimes for popular opinion on topics, sometimes for money opportunities for myself.

    That’s like asking someone, “what do you use Google Search for?”

    It depends what you’re trying to get done.

    @rshotel searches for people who are visiting New York.
    @glynnesoaps might search for people looking for gift basket ideas.
    @ajbombers searches for people visiting Milwaukee.

    see?

  • http://www.benspark.com BenSpark

    Chris,
    Doesn’t it get confusing switching between @Chrisbrogan and @CBreplies? I’d find that really difficult to keep straight and would end up replying on the wrong one. However, I suppose that isn’t really a big problem since they are both you. I was just granted access to a Twitter account for a conference and I have to consciously make myself make the mental switch before I send a tweet from that account just so I am not tweeting from my personal one. And then I also tweet for my podcast too and again the issue of making the conscious decision over and over. I use Tweetdeck and it has been great for me. I guess that I will become more comfortabl with the switching over time.

  • http://www.tuag.ca Michael Keara

    Another minor (but for me intriguing) UX observation – I completely reversed my reading of your twitter accounts. Unlike what I said, I was already following @chrisbrogan and didn’t know about @broganmedia.

    For any UX folks reading this – I was going strictly by the image and not by the text. For whatever reason, the @broganmedia image looked more familiar.

  • http://twitter.com/jeffreypjacobs Jeff Jacobs

    Chris- really appreciate the concise rundown of tools. Hadn’t thought of the backup method of searching “myname” as a way to double-check that you haven’t missed something in the stream. Thanks a bunch. Best Regards.

  • http://twitter.com/jeffreypjacobs Jeff Jacobs

    Chris- really appreciate the concise rundown of tools. Hadn’t thought of the backup method of searching “myname” as a way to double-check that you haven’t missed something in the stream. Thanks a bunch. Best Regards.

  • Pingback: Is Twitter Just Noise? — Success Begins Today

  • http://twitter.com/jeffreypjacobs Jeff Jacobs

    oops, sorry for the double reply. Didn’t mean to clutter!

  • http://trafficcoleman.com/ TrafficColeman

    Chris,
    Twitter an I have an good relationship, I use it faithfully only after I do my on site work on my blog before I tackle it. Twitter can help you find and network with good people like Chris, and just like Chris you have many account to separate your life versus business..so if your not on twitter yet, then I hope I just inspire you to give it an try..because one hundred million other people did.

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Thanks for some great tips, Chris. Lately I’ve been thinking that Twitter has just become noise. I am amazed that people like you who have huge Twitter traffic can have a life at all. But, in writing a post about it http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress/2010/08/is-twitter-just-noise/ I found some solace, and realized you have to look PAST the noise to find real value! Your helpful links today will come in real handy!

  • http://www.bizworks360.com Mary Ann Halford

    Chris, I like Tweetdeck and use Listorious as well [a shoutout to @gregory for another amazing Twitter tool!]. I am not as generous as you on following back people. However, your post and comments are persuading me otherwise. I just wanted to know what software or tools do you use for scanning and deleting spammers.

  • http://santelmoloft.com Angela McCallum

    This was helpful. My method tends to be… open TweetDeck. Get overwhelmed. Close TweetDeck. It’s not that bad, but Twitter does overwhelm me. Need to try the search strings thing probably. Anyway, thanks for the details on how you use it.

  • http://twitter.com/frank2oh Frank Gilroy

    Hey Chris. After you warned us you were writing this last night I got inspired to do the same.

    http://tonysmill.com/2010/08/12/a-newfangled-approach-to-twitter-part-i/

    • 8019174005

      Frank..  you need to cal me.  I can still let Stacy know about you and your CL ads…

  • JG Wentworth

    Great Twitter Goals & Methods. I will definitely take into consideration. @jgwentworth

  • Anonymous

    I really like seeing how others use Twitter so thanks for the insight. I am still figuring out how and why I am using Twitter. Sometimes I like to think of it as more a conversation piece as those are the tweets I enjoy reading the post, just seeing what others are up to. Other times I think it’s the most perfect way to share something interesting I’ve found on the web. The one thing I don’t want to do is only tweet when it relates to my business. That’s boring and self-serving. Just have to find a happy medium between it all. Thanks again for the great post.

    • http://twitter.com/sharisax Shari Weiss

      Rebecca, just in case you’re looking for ideas on “What to Tweet,” I listed 10 in a recent blog post What To Tweet To Stand Out from the Masses:http://bit.ly/aihgJH
      Among the ten were the following: 1) Be your own unique self; 4) Search & Reply, and 9-10) Company News & Promotions.
      There’s also another great article on Twitter published by Jay Baer today: “Is Twitter Worth the Trouble?” http://bit.ly/cFN0WX

  • http://twitter.com/ohradiogirl ohradiogirl

    I like this. I may borrow your ‘template’ to assess my use of Twitter (of course credit will be given to you). Thanks much for always sharing your insight.