It’s fun. It’s more useful than I thought. It’s not for everyone. It can be a timesink. It can feel like a popularity contest (par for the course with social networking sites). You can still get spammed.
twitter asks “What are you doing?” and people use 140 characters or less to answer, callled a “tweet”. All day. With their friends. It’s microliveblogging.
You can tweet from your mobile phone, or your IM client or via RSS or directly on the web site. From my homepage on twitter, other people can see all the tweets from the people I am following in a huge stream-of-conciousness yawp.
I fiddled with twitter a while back, but like Fiona, I didn’t find it very useful. About a month ago, as twitter began tipping toward mainstream, a mob of bibliobloggers started experimenting with it. I tried again.
I “friended” some of the names I recognised from the biblioblogosphere. Not all of them friended me back, so they don’t see my tweets. This gets frustrating when I want to tweet back to something interesting. Reminds me that we are rethinking privacy and boundaries as sites get more social and immediate. Why should they friend back someone who they never met in another country? Why does it bug me when they don’t? (Because it reminds me of being excluded from the big kids’ games as a kid? I think it’s time to get over that. )
It is exciting to be peeking into other people’s lives. Even hearing about them making udon noodles is interesting. I almost stopped twittering because there are only so many ways you can say “Avoiding housework”, but felt that the price I paid for their trivia was sharing mine.
Then it began being used in other ways.
- I watched CW‘s progress as she took an overnight trip to a regional campus.
- Steven Cohen is sending interesting links to twitter, via RSS as he Tumbls them.
- Rochelle Hartman asked for feedback about her plans for a staff retreat and some of us checked it over and emailed her back
- Meredith Farkas was twittering about a problem she was having with Elsevier and Michelle Boule, who was in a meeting with an Elsevier rep was able to ask a tricky question about it.
- I mentioned a really interesting place I’d found in Second Life and one of my Twitter friends (who I’d never met in RL or SL) popped in to SL and we rode some kangaroos around Cybrary City II.
- Simone posted a request from our state newspaper to interview twitterers
- The Virginia Tech shootings were reported almost as soon as they happened
- Currently the twitterati are at the Computers in Libraries Conference 2007, and twitter is being used for liveblogging, to find each other in crowds and people arranging to meet for drinks/meals afterward. There is a separate Twitter user called “cil07″ who has been friended by twitterers at the conference so you can subscribe to the feed and see what everyone is doing.
The key to this working is a critical mass of people with a joint interest twittering constantly. I don’t know whether this is sustainable, but it’s fun watching it evolve. If you want to experiment, feel free to friend me.