So what the hell is Twitter anyway? | MackCollier.com - Social Media Training and Consulting

So how do you explain what Twitter is to someone that’s never used it before?  It’s not easy, is it?  When I try to explain what Twitter is to friends and others, I try to talk about different ways that you can use the site.  Here’s some examples:

Twitter as a networking tool.

One of the things that first attracted me to Twitter was that I suddenly had access to such a wide array of influencers, authors, CEOs and celebrities that I otherwise had little chance of talking to.  But with Twitter, all you have to do is jump on the site and you can message them directly.  Now there’s no guarantee the people you try to connect with will answer you, but some will, and who knows, a few may actually….gasp….FOLLOW you!

Also, if you attend offlink networking events or meetups, you can easily collect the Twitter names of the people you connect with, and stay in touch on Twitter.  For me, the ability to use Twitter as a networking platform is the biggest benefit I get from using the site.

Twitter as a news feed.

As Twitter has grown in popularity over the past couple of years, mainstream media sources have flocked to the site.  Almost every major news source on the planet has a Twitter account.  This means that every one of your favorite blogs and news sites (and the ones of all your friends) likely all have Twitter account where they are posting links to their newest posts and articles.  You can follow your favorite sources, and then have all of your favorite news delivered right to you via Twitter!  And Twitter has become a fabulous source for breaking news, usually information is exchanged among Twitter’s users around breaking news events before it is reported by mainstream media.  So if you want to stay informed and abreast of all the latest news, there’s no better way to do this than via Twitter.

Twitter as your personal search engine.

This is an advantage you’ll begin to notice after you have begun to build a network on Twitter.  For example, let’s say you are taking a date to see the new action flick that’s debuting tonite in theaters.  But when you arrive at the theater, you discover that it’s sold out!  So now you have to pick from among 3 other movies that you know nothing about.  So ask Twitter!  You can tweet out a recommendation to your Twitter followers and (based on the size and responsiveness of your network) get several answers in a few minutes, if not a few seconds!

For example, a couple of years ago I was arriving in Texas to speak at an event.  All I knew about my hotel was that it was at ‘the Sheraton downtown’.  Now I thought there was only one Sheraton downtown, so when I got on the shuttle, the driver announced that there were TWO Sheratons downtown!  Uh-oh!  So I quickly tweeted out my Twitter followers that were attending the same event asking them which Sheraton the event was being held at.  Within a minute I had several people tweet me which Sheraton it was.  Awesome!  But then someone DMed me the name and address of the Sheraton PLUS their phone number!  If I had tried to use my phone to get on Google and find this exact same information, there’s no way I could have done it as quickly.

Twitter as a crowd-sourcing platform.

Twitter is a great way to get several answers to a question or opinions on a topic.  In fact, a great use of Twitter as a crowd-sourcing platform is to ask your network what you should write about on your blog.  Or if you know what you want to write about, use your network to give you ideas and help you flesh out the post.  From a company standpoint, it’s a wonderful way to get feedback as well.

Twitter as a chat room.

When you think about it, Twitter really is very similar to a chat room.  It’s just that the functionality is a bit different, not everyone can see what everyone else is saying, but everyone that’s following you can see your tweets.  So add in a few more controls and you have functionality that’s similar to a chat room.  And as such, that means you can use Twitter as a conversation platform, very similar to the way you use chat rooms!

 So there’s some ideas on ways to incorporate the different ways you can use Twitter, to explain to others exactly what the site is.  How do you explain what Twitter is to others?

world-shaker:

Social media explained.
How Not to Market on Twitter | Smedio | The New Media and Social Web Guide for Business and Marketers

There’s no denying that Twitter is the most powerful yet free modern-age marketing tool. Unfortunate as it is, many online marketers tend to overdo things and cross their limits when the marketing medium itself is free. However, on Twitter, such mistakes are bound to backfire big time and can cause serious damage to your business’ reputation. It is strictly advisable to know “how you should market” on Twitter. Equally important but an often overlooked aspect of Twitter marketing is “how not to market”. I’ve always believed that marketing is both an art as well as a science – you need to be creative as well as logical to launch a successful marketing campaign and Twitter is no exception to that rule. So, how not to market on Twitter? As a start, follow these simple yet effective guidelines.

Avoid blatant sales pitches

Marketing professionals have a habit of getting down to business as soon as they meet a client. While the approach works wonderfully well in person, it is a perfect recipe for disaster on Twitter. Blatant sales pitches are bound to get you lots of criticism and not many followers. In fact, they are liable to encourage your current followers to unfollow you. The best way to market on Twitter is using an informational tone. Don’t be aggressive – it doesn’t work.

Tweet in right proportions

As simple as it may seem, tweeting for businesses is a tricky business. You tweet too little – your followers lose interest in your products, you tweet too much – your followers think you are spamming them. Therefore, it is absolutely critical that you monitor the quantity as well as quality of your tweets.

Don’t criticize competitors

I’ve never been a proponent of negative marketing tactics. Be it Twitter or conventional marketing, I strongly believe that a business is better off showcasing its strengths rather than exploiting its competitor’s weaknesses. While I’ve come across several businesses which poke fun and ridicule competitors through their tweets, I consider it ‘Below the belt’ marketing and strongly unethical.

Don’t over rely on RSS Feeds

As much as I admire RSS, I find it discomforting that many businesses rely entirely on their RSS feeds for tweets. It’s not a good practice to just tweet out of an RSS feed. Your followers expect originality of some sort.

Don’t over do the re-tweets

While retweeting is a healthy practice, overdoing it isn’t useful. In fact, it’s far from useful and is liable to label you as a “tweet forwarder”. Retweets are a form of viral communication and it’s best advisable to use them within reasonable limits. Further, if you constantly retweet messages from one particular user, there’s a good chance that your followers might unfollow you and directly follow that user.

Avoid Monologue

Twitter is all about establishing dialogs and interaction. Monologues are not as effective as meaningful dialogs in Tweeterverse so make it a point to interacting more often with your customers. Listen to what customers have to say and act on it.

If you’ve any guidelines or suggestions on what marketing tactics should be strictly avoided on Twitter, please share your opinion by leaving a comment below this post.

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What Not To Post On Twitter: 11 Things Your Tweeps Don't Need To Know

Think before you tweet.

Twitter is a powerful communication tool used by the likes of protestersjournalistsastronauts and public officials. But tweeters should take caution: the microblogging service is also frequented by employers,insurance companieslaw enforcement agents, even criminals. And as search engines like Google and Bingtake steps to further integrate Twitter updates into query results, it’s more important than ever to watch what you tweet.

Given the platform’s simplicity and 140-character limit, it can be tempting to dash off Twitter updates without pausing to consider the impact they can have. Experts agree that users should take a moment before tweeting. Especially if your tweets are public, that moment of reconsideration could save you your job, your personal safety or your reputation.

Browse our slideshow of what not to post on Twitter (below), then view our slideshows of Twitter posts that got people fired and arrested. Do you have a suggestion for our list of Twitter no-no’s? Email us at technology@huffingtonpost.com, or upload your own slide via the uploader tool.

For more on social networking safety, check out our slideshow of what not to post on Facebook.


TheRecord - Bridging the digital divide

WATERLOO REGION — If non-profit organizations don’t create effective web strategies, Dan Christian believes they’ll be left behind.

Christian, founder of London-based digital consultant firm Dano Digital, realized these groups don’t understand the language of services like Twitter and Google Analytics which he says are now integral to digital business.

Google Analytics is a service that tells a company how well their website is doing, something all businesses need to know to shape their strategies, he said.

Christian says an ineffective web strategy means an organization is lost among the jumble of the internet, reducing possible volunteer recruitment and potential donations.

But big businesses spend millions of dollars to create web strategies, so how can smaller non-profits hope to compete?

Christian says it doesn’t take a huge budget, or even a redesigned website.

“You need someone inside your organization who has passion, can create a blog, update your Twitter feed, connect with people on Facebook, and make sure that your organization is relevant — that it has a pulse,” he said.

“(Non-profits) have that, but they just need to realize they can use it to their advantage.”

After connecting with Steve Currie of the Communitech Hub, Christian organized a meeting of developers, designers and marketers from the southern Ontario tech industry.

Dubbed Strategy Saturday, the full-day session, which included Dano Digital co-founder Huan Tran and nine other tech specialists donating their time, was held at the Communitech Hub in Kitchener.

The volunteer group carefully chose the Yellowbird Foundation, a small organization dedicated to improving education in the Caribbean, from a list of candidates and spent the day building a custom web strategy.

Christian said Yellowbird, like many small non-profits, had no web strategy and no contacts in the tech industry.

“Definitely budget was a big issue for them. But the main thing was they just had no comprehension of the digital space, and that includes social media,” he said.

“There are a lot of no-cost solutions out there, but they’re just not aware of them.”

Among 10 actionable goals the team created for Yellowbird was a social media strategy, using Facebook and Twitter that the group can act on immediately for free.

The results from the session were turned into a “digital road map” that was presented to 60 non-profits late last month at the Communitech Hub, including Lutherwood, KidsLINK, the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region, and the KW Art Gallery.

KidsLINK, which offers mental health services for children in St. Agatha, has already incorporated some of the road map suggestions by adding social media icons to its new website, which allows faster information sharing.

“People have to change their mindsets, because we’re used to releasing information at prepackaged times, so this is going to be more of a free-flowing, two-way conversation,” said KidsLINK’s Nico Giorgio.

Michael Hostetler, KidsLINK’s director of marketing and communication, said they are planning to broaden their mandate beyond the region using a new web strategy.

“We’re going to take the expertise and insight we’ve gained over the years (in the child mental health field) and make that accessible on a much broader basis.”

Strategy Saturday is expected to become an annual event at the Communitech Hub, and Christian hopes it motivates tech industry professionals to donate their specialized services to the non-profit sector.

Look for more information at www.strategysaturday.com

mtait@therecord.com

Albert Qian: The Social Media Dude: Consider Your Target Market

albertqian:

Kissmetrics has some really good data out regarding social media usage. Among the observations seen:

1) Facebook and Twitter have relatively equal numbers of users, but MySpace has the biggest gap: 64% female, 36% male.

2) 56% of Facebook users earn between $25,000 and $75,000 a year….

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SM Unplugged: Dave Olson @ Hootsuite - on secure.prezi.com1 note
Social networks nurture giving


By: Carey O’neil 
(Contact)

Social media may be making better citizens, according to a new national survey by the Pew Research Center.

About 82 percent of people who use social media such as Facebook participate in groups such as nonprofits or religious organizations, compared to just 56 percent of non-Internet users, the monthlong survey of 2,303 adults shows.

And those oversharing friends who Tweet about their favorite toothpaste? Eighty-five percent of them are sharing their time, as well.

Kent Callison is senior strategist for Williams Web. About a quarter of the Chattanooga Web design company’s clients are nonprofits, and Callison said the survey results make a lot of sense.

"People who are frequent users of the Internet — whether it’s for research or social networking, what have you — they’re more engaged people anyway," he said. "They want to feel connected, not just connected to organizations but connected to other people."

Kelley Nave, the woman responsible for United Way of Greater Chattanooga’s online presence, said the agency recruits volunteers using one of Callison’s websites, a monthly e-newsletter, Facebook and Twitter.

"I’m on it all day long," she said as she worked with Twitter client HootSuite to schedule the release of messages to United Way followers. "When it comes to the Internet, we’re trying to promote volunteers in a variety of ways."

So far, Nave said, the nonprofit charity coalition’s online campaign has been successful. The website attracted 4,696 unique viewers in 2010 — a significant number of whom likely were among that year’s 7,316 volunteers, she said.

And those volunteers make a huge contribution. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, a government agency that supports volunteer efforts, the average volunteer in the Chattanooga metropolitan statistical area gives 44.6 hours of work a year. That means that in 2010, Chattanoogans spent a total of more than 37 years working for charities through United Way alone.

Laurel Sapp was one of those volunteers. Sapp needed to find volunteer work for a group of teenagers, so she jumped online and quickly found United Way.

"I just Googled ‘Volunteer work for teenagers’ on the date I was looking for and it popped up," she said. "With more technology, more and more people are finding stuff."

Since then, the Internet has been key to Sapp’s further involvement.

"If there’s something that comes up, they put me on the alert list," she said. "If it’s something I can help with, I get involved."

Facebook Page redesign: 10 things admins should do RIGHT NOW.: The Social Path

By David Griner on Feb. 10, 2011

Facebook upgrade 

Facebook announced a massive overhaul of its Pages for business today, and here’s the most surprising part: It’s awesome.

Don’t listen to the angry mobs complaining about change. Today’s shift is overwhelmingly positive and creates much-needed options for Page admins.

That said, you’ve got some work to do if you want to make the most if it. We’ve compiled 10 simple steps that will get you started on the right foot:

1. Turn on the new Page format.

Year of MusicYes, it’s opt-in. And permanent. But come on. Live a little. Plus, the rest of this post won’t do you much good if you don’t click that “Upgrade” button on your Page.

Tip: If you admin lots of pages, but only want to upgrade one or two for now, the upgrade system is wonky. After clicking “Upgrade,” scroll through the subsequent list of your pages to find the one you wanted, then click “Upgrade” again. You can also “Upgrade All” if you’re feeling gutsy.

Don’t want to switch? Sorry, Facebook says you’ll be dragged into the new format on March 1.

2. Set your Page’s category and subcategory.

Category 

Here’s the first cause for celebration. It used to be that once you selected a category for your Facebook page, it was locked in for life. Now you can not only set any category, but you can also select a more specific subcategory, which will change what kind of info is included in your Page’s description.

Tip: First thing, click “Edit Page,” then “Basic Inforrmation” to select your category and subcategory. Your page has probably been defaulted to the first subcategory in an alphabetic list, like “Appliances.”

3. Check your e-mail notification settings for fan comments.

Facebook seems to be defaulting all upgraded pages to a setting that e-mails you when a fan comments. If you have multiple pages with multiple admins (I have dozens), this is probably a bad idea.

Thankfully, the setting seems to default to “off” if the Page is large (I’d guess the threshold is around 10,000+ Likes). But be sure to check your settings for all your Pages. To do so, go to “Edit Page,” then “Your Settings.” You’ll see options for E-mail Notifications (uncheck it if you don’t want comment notifications via e-mail), and a link to edit all your e-mail settings.

Tip: Be sure to follow that link, then click to “Change email settings for individual Pages.” Strange that this option is so well hidden, but it’s important.

4. Set your wall preference: Fans too or just you?

Posts By

As you probably know, Facebook Page administrators have long had the option to keep fan comments off the “front page” of the wall. I generally prefer this setting, because it keeps “official” Page updates from getting lost in a fray of spam and typos.

Upgrading your page appears to force it back to the “Everyone” setting for the wall, which means you might want to re-select the option for “Posts by Page Only” in the “Manage Permissions” tab. I should note that Facebook has improved the “Everyone” setting by allowing it to sort popular posts to the top, but I’m still going to wait before handing over control of larger pages to the masses.

5. Want to occasionally post as yourself on Pages you admin?

Well now you can. in “Your Settings” in the “Edit Page” screen, you can select whether to “Always comment and post on your page as (PAGE NAME) even when using Facebook as (YOUR NAME).”

You can then select to log in as the Page itself, letting you jump between being a human with a name or just a brand. This is a nice new feature for small business owners and others who want audiences to know them by name.

6. Set your moderation and profanity blocklists.

Obscenity filter 

This much-needed feature launched just before the new Page format did, so this is as good a time as any to set your preferences. Both settings can be found under “Manage Permissions.”

The obscenity filter is automated, but you can select from three options: None, Medium or Strong. Facebook uses its collection of “reported” words to build these filters.

Moderation blocklists allow you to set specific words you don’t want mentioned on your Page. Maybe a competitor, maybe a scandalous nickname for your product…the list is totally up to you.

7. Check out your Page’s tabs.

They’ve moved! Instead of being up top, they’re suddenly on the left side rail. And chances are, they don’t look good. That’s because Static FBML, the most common tab application, doesn’t have a customizeable icon image. It’s just that weird <-> symbol.

Sorry, I don’t know a fix for that. BUT….

Tip: The switch to left-side navigation means you’re no longer limited to brief titles for your apps. Instead of one or two words, you can now give your Page’s apps pretty thorough titles.

To change your tab titles, click “Edit Page,” then “Apps,” then “Go to App” and you’ll be able to change the name.

8. Select which photos should be featured up top.

Photo gallery 

Just like the User Profile design that debuted recently, the new Page look includes a gallery of your images across the top of the page. Now’s a good time to select the ones that look best by “hiding” the ones that don’t. You can salvage the hidden photos later if you need to.

And yes, now’s the time to do something crazy like this, although the order seems to be randomized each time you view the Page.

UPDATE: Just confirmed from one of our Facebook reps: “At the moment the photostrip of images at the top of the Page are completely randomized and there’s no way for Page admins to edit this setting.”

9. Pick your “Featured Likes.”

Featured Likes
You’ve long been able to add “Favorite Pages” to your Page, but it hasn’t really meant much. Now the system is moving to “Featured Likes,” which showcase other Pages that your Page has “Liked.” The gallery of Featured Likes has to first be activated in the “Featured” tab of your Page settings.

This ability to Like as a Page fixes one longtime problem for Facebook Page admins: You had to personally Like a Page before you could tag it in a status update. Now, your Page can do the Liking, so that you won’t personally have clutter up your personal news feed.

10. Want some credit? Add “Featured Page Owners.”

Featured AdminsFacebook’s Page changes include an interesting addition that many will find appealing (and many others won’t): a public list of admins. The good news is that admins get to pick which of their team members (if any) are listed.

Personally, I have a pretty firm wall between my personal Facebook account and pages I administer, even my blogs. But for those who want to gain more Facebook connections for themselves through Pages they run, this will be a welcome change.

Have you been playing around with the new Page design and functionality? We’d love it if you would share what you’ve learned in the comments.

David Griner is a social media strategist for Luckie and Company and contributing editor for Adweek’s blog, AdFreak.com. You can reach him by e-mail or on Twitter.

The Greatest Composers - A Top 10 List - NYTimes.com

HERE goes. This article completes my two-week project to select the top 10 classical music composers in history, not including those still with us. The argument, laid out in a series of articles, online videos and blog posts, was enlivened by the more than 1,500 informed, challenging, passionate and inspiring comments from readers of The New York Times. As often as I could, I answered direct questions online and jumped into the discussion.

Left, 1. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). From top left, 2. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), 3. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 — 91). 4. Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828). From middle left, 5. Claude Achille Debussy (1862 — 1918), 6. Igor Stravinsky (1882 — 1971), 7. Johannes Brahms (1833 — 97). From bottom left, 8. Giuseppe Verdi (1813 — 1901), 9. Richard Wagner (1813 — 83), 10. Bela Bartok (1881 — 1945).

I am about to reveal my list, though as those who have been with me on this quest already know, I’ve dropped hints along the way. And the winner, the all-time great, is … Bach!

To step back for a moment, I began this project with bravado, partly as an intellectual game but also as a real attempt to clarify — for myself, as much as for anyone else — what exactly about the master composers makes them so astonishing. However preposterous the exercise may seem, when I found myself debating whether to push Brahms or Haydn off the list to make a place for Bartok or Monteverdi, it made me think hard about their achievements and greatness.

Ah, greatness. Early on I received a friendly challenge from a reader (“Scott”) who questioned the whole notion of greatness in music. He cited the title essay in “Listen to This,” a collection of astute, lively writings by Alex Ross, the music critic for The New Yorker and my good friend, which was published last year (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). In this essay he argues that the very term “classical music” makes this vibrant art form seem dead. Indeed, as he writes, “greatness” and “seriousness” are not classical music’s defining characteristics; it can also “be stupid, vulgar and insane.”

All true. Yet what came through in the comments from readers and, I hope, my articles and videos is that for most of us these composers are not monumental idols but living, compelling presences. Just as we organize our lives by keeping those we love in a network of support, we do something similar with the composers we rely on.

I was moved by how many readers could not wait to share their lists of favorite composers, whom, naturally, they also considered the greats. Even many of those who dismissed the exercise jumped right in: “This is absurd, of course. But here’s my list. And don’t you dare leave out Mahler.” OrBerg. Or Ligeti. Or, from one Baroque music enthusiast, Albinoni!

As a longtime champion of contemporary music, I was gratified to receive so many objections to my decision to eliminate living composers from consideration. Still, for me there was no other way. We are too close to living composers to have perspective. Besides, assessing greatness is the last thing on your mind when you are listening to an involving, exciting or baffling new piece.

So humbled by the discerning music lovers who wrote in, I now offer my own list. And remember: my editors gave the go-ahead for this project on condition that I go all the way and rank my 10 in order.

My top spot goes to Bach, for his matchless combination of masterly musical engineering (as one reader put it) and profound expressivity. Since writing about Bach in the first article of this series I have been thinking more about the perception that he was considered old-fashioned in his day. Haydn was 18 when Bach died, in 1750, and Classicism was stirring. Bach was surely aware of the new trends. Yet he reacted by digging deeper into his way of doing things. In his austerely beautiful “Art of Fugue,” left incomplete at his death, Bach reduced complex counterpoint to its bare essentials, not even indicating the instrument (or instruments) for which these works were composed.

On his own terms he could be plenty modern. Though Bach never wrote an opera, he demonstrated visceral flair for drama in his sacred choral works, as in the crowd scenes in the Passions where people cry out with chilling vehemence for Jesus to be crucified. In keyboard works like the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, Bach anticipated the rhapsodic Romantic fervor of Liszt, even Rachmaninoff. And as I tried to show in the first video for this project, through his chorales alone Bach explored the far reaches of tonal harmony.

The obvious candidates for the second and third slots are Mozart and Beethoven. If you were to compare just Mozart’s orchestral and instrumental music to Beethoven’s, that would be a pretty even match. But Mozart had a whole second career as a path-breaking opera composer. Such incredible range should give him the edge.

Still, I’m going with Beethoven for the second slot. Beethoven’s technique was not as facile as Mozart’s. He struggled to compose, and you can sometimes hear that struggle in the music. But however hard wrought, Beethoven’s works are so audacious and indestructible that they survive even poor performances.

I had an epiphany about Beethoven during the early 1980s when I heard the composer Leon Kirchner conduct the Harvard Chamber Orchestra. He began with a Piston symphony, a fresh, inventive Neo-Classical piece from the 1950s. “La Mer” by Debussy came next, and Kirchner, who had studied with Schoenberg and had a Germanic orientation, brought weighty, Wagnerian intensity to this landmark score, completed in 1905. The Debussy came across as more modern than the Piston.

After intermission Peter Serkin joined Kirchner for a performance of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto that brought out the mysticism, poetic reverie and wildness of the music. The Beethoven sounded like the most radical work in the program by far: unfathomable and amazing. I’m giving Beethoven the second slot, and Mozart No. 3.

Four? Schubert. You have to love the guy, who died at 31, ill, impoverished and neglected except by a circle of friends who were in awe of his genius. For his hundreds of songs alone — including the haunting cycle “Winterreise,” which will never release its tenacious hold on singers and audiences — Schubert is central to our concert life. The baritone Sanford Sylvan once told me that hearing the superb pianist Stephen Drury give searching accounts of the three late Schubert sonatas on a single program was one of the most transcendent musical experiences of his life. Schubert’s first few symphonies may be works in progress. But the “Unfinished” and especially the Ninth Symphony are astonishing. The Ninth paves the way for Bruckner and prefigures Mahler.

Debussy, who after hundreds of years of pulsating Germanic music proved that there could be tension in timelessness, is my No. 5. With his pioneering harmonic language, the sensual beauty of his sound and his uncanny, Freudian instincts for tapping the unconscious, Debussy was the bridge over which music passed into the tumultuous 20th century.

One who later walked that bridge was Stravinsky, my No. 6. During the years when “The Firebird” and “The Rite of Spring” were shaking up Paris, Stravinsky was swapping ideas with his friend Debussy, who was 20 years older. Yet Stravinsky was still around in the 1960s, writing serial works that set the field of contemporary music abuzz. One morning in 1971 I arrived at the door of the music building at Yale, on which someone had posted an index card with this simple news: “Igor Stravinsky died today.” It felt as if the floor had dropped out from under the musical world I inhabited. Stravinsky had been like a Beethoven among us.

I’m running out of slots. In some ways, as I wrote to one reader, either a list of 5 or a list of 20 would have been much easier. By keeping it to 10, you are forced to look for reasons to push out, say, Handel or Shostakovich to make a place for someone else.

Some musicians I respect have no trouble finding shortcomings in Brahms. He did sometimes become entangled in an attempt to extend the Classical heritage while simultaneously taking progressive strides into new territory. But at his best (the symphonies, the piano concertos, the violin concerto, the chamber works with piano, the solo piano pieces, especially the late intermezzos and capriccios that point the way to Schoenberg) Brahms has the thrilling grandeur and strangeness of Beethoven. Brahms is my No. 7.

In an earlier installment of this series I tried to weasel out of picking Romantic composers other than Brahms by arguing that the era fostered originality and personal expression above all. To a genius like Chopin, having a distinctive voice and giving vent to his inspirations were more important than achieving some level of quantifiable greatness.

But the dynamic duo of 19th-century opera, Verdi and Wagner, aimed high. As I already let slip, they both make my list. That a new production of a Verdi opera, like Willy Decker’s spare, boldlyreimagined staging of “La Traviata” at the Metropolitan Opera, can provoke such heated passions among audiences is testimony to the enduring richness of Verdi’s works. A production of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle has become the entry card for any opera company that wants to be considered big time. The last 20 minutes of “Die Walküre” may be the most sadly beautiful music ever written.

But who ranks higher? They may be tied as composers but not as people. Though Verdi had an ornery side, he was a decent man, an Italian patriot and the founder of a retirement home for musicians still in operation in Milan. Wagner was an anti-Semitic, egomaniacal jerk who transcended himself in his art. So Verdi is No. 8 and Wagner No. 9.

One slot left. May Haydn forgive me, but one of the Vienna Four just had to go, and Haydn’s great legacy was carried out by his friend Mozart, his student Beethoven and the entire Classical movement. My apologies to Mahler devotees, so impressively committed to this visionary composer. Would that I could include my beloved Puccini.

I was heartened by the hundreds of readers who championed 20th-century composers like Ligeti, Messiaen, Shostakovich, Ives, Schoenberg, Prokofiev and Copland, all of whom are central to my musical life. Then there is Berg, who wrote arguably the two greatest operas of the 20th century. His Violin Concerto, as I explained in my first video, would make my list of top 10 pieces. I was disappointed that an insignificant number of readers made a case for Britten. I have some advocacy work to do.

I received the most forceful challenges from readers who thought that pre-Bach composers simply had to be included, especially Monteverdi. Though Monteverdi did not invent opera, he took one look at what was going in Florence around 1600 and figured out how this opera thing should really be done. In 1607 he wrote “Orfeo,” the first great opera. His books of madrigals brought the art of combining words and music to new heights. The Monteverdi contingent is probably right.

But forced to pick only one more composer, I’m going with Bartok. In an earlier piece I made my case for Bartok, as an ethnomusicologist whose work has empowered generations of subsequent composers to incorporate folk music and classical traditions from whatever culture into their works, and as a formidable modernist who in the face of Schoenberg’s breathtaking formulations showed another way, forging a language that was an amalgam of tonality, unorthodox scales and atonal wanderings.

So that’s my list.

And now, in an act of contrition, I am beginning a personal project to listen nonstop to recordings of Britten, Haydn, Chopin, Monteverdi, Ligeti and those composers whom I could not squeeze in but whose music carries me through my days.