Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On twitter... and feeling slightly dirty about it

Peep dis: within the past year, we hired this young kid named Mike. I call him Facebook (because he's young, natch) and he calls me Gramps. It's great. Anyway, i bust his balls because he's on this twitter thing, and he "tweets", and i'll be damned if that's not the fairiest sounding word ever verbed. Every time I type it I want to kick my own ass.

So I'm at cfunited and I'm wondering, "is that little bastard doing any work today while I'm gone?" I sign up for twitter and try to follow him, seeing if he's tweeting away every 5 minutes instead of doing whatever it is he does at work. Well, he wasn't tweeting, so I assume he was on youtube or some other time drain.

Anyway, here's what I'm wondering, now that I'm on this thing: what's the value? What will it bring my life that I don't already have? In what ways are people using it that helps you out day to day? I'm not asking as a smartass. I'm asking because I really want to know.

i'm at twitter.com/marcesher

I don't know why yet. Maybe after every 10 tweets (dammit!) they'll send me a free dunkin donuts gift card or something.

15 Comments:

At June 25, 2008 9:25 AM , Blogger bill said...

man, now that i saw ron jeffries on twitter i can't use the to-old-to-twoot excuse ... twitter.com/virtix ...

 
At June 25, 2008 9:27 AM , Blogger Todd Sharp said...

Thanks for the laugh! I too have wondered what the allure is.

I compare these kind of things to television shows like 'Lost'. If you don't follow it from the beginning it can be damn near impossible to get into later on. Even still, I don't see how people get a lick of work done while they're 'tweeting' or following the next big 'time drain'... Still, I kick myself everytime something like this comes out that I didn't create :D

 
At June 25, 2008 9:35 AM , Blogger Ben Nadel said...

@Marc,

Good to meet you at CFUNITED. I signed up for twitter the day before CFUNITED and am feeling a bit the same way. I am not sure when to use it or how to best manage following other people. Half the time when I think of tweeting something, I think to myself, "Wouldn't this just be better as a blog post?"

Still getting my feet wet.

 
At June 25, 2008 9:37 AM , Blogger Marc Esher said...

maybe the thing is just to help you keep in touch, however briefly, with your relationships. social lube, so to speak.

i suspect that for oldtimers like me, twitter will have a much different value than it has for the young and hip (and jobless).

 
At June 25, 2008 10:00 AM , Blogger Todd Sharp said...

I don't see whats wrong with good old fashioned IM conversations....

 
At June 25, 2008 11:32 AM , Blogger TJ said...

Twitter reminds me of HTML-based chat apps I remember from 1996.... type your message, post it. Wait 5 minutes for a reply...

In any case, I see no value in Twitter, Pownce, or anything of the like. I've tried both of the aforementioned. Both were a waste of time and offered no productivity gains and did not enhance my communications experience.People I ask about Twitter have nothing to offer, except that they prefer it over IM.

 
At June 25, 2008 12:21 PM , Blogger Rachel said...

Here's my take on Twitter (which I knew about for over a year before I signed up). It's useful if you keep your follow list clean and only follow people who post things that interest you.

It's useful if the friends you want to interact with (whether business or personal) use it to talk about the same things. It's a good way to discover common interests, or to update lots of people at once. I use it to keep up with friends who aren't on IM all day but do use their phone.

Because you can twitter from your phone or the computer, you can be consistent about what you update. If all you ever use Facebook for is to update your status, use Twitter! I think of it as one-to-many IM and that's how I choose what to Twitter, what to IM, and what to blog.

As much as I kinda-sorta like Twitter, the number of social networking sites is out of hand and a bubble due for a big burst, until, at least, some type of open protocol allows for you to maintain a profile and status across multiple sites, at which point it will all be about providing the best user experience. Sounds like something I'd expect Google to build...GoogleProfile, anyone? :)

(sorry about the lengthy comment!)

 
At June 25, 2008 12:58 PM , Blogger senocular said...

Companies will also follow Twitter posts and trends. I can tell you right now Adobe pays attention to what happens on Twitter and checks for "tweets" containing certain Adobe-specific keywords. Have something important to say? Twitter could be a vehicle for getting some attention.

 
At June 25, 2008 8:20 PM , Anonymous Mike Benner said...

Having just moved from Raleigh, NC to Scottsdale, AZ Twitter has enabled me to meet several local people that share my interest in a very informal and unobtrusive way. It is not productive in the sense of IM speed ask and answer, but more meeting people to add to the IM list.

 
At June 26, 2008 5:00 AM , Blogger Anuj Gakhar said...

I was wondering as well what does Twitter actually do ? I signed up here twitter.com/anujgakhar and just checking it out..looks like micro blogging to me.

 
At June 26, 2008 8:19 AM , Blogger bill said...

i won't have to learn l33t tw33t (or should it be tw33t l33t) will i? ;-)

 
At June 26, 2008 11:35 AM , Blogger Marc Esher said...

thanks for all the good thoughts everyone. rachel, your point about being selective in whom you follow is well taken.

bill, if you type l33t tw33t on this blog again, i'm quitting mxunit and going to work at walmart. GAH.

 
At June 30, 2008 8:37 AM , Blogger Todd Sharp said...

@Rachel: I haven't followed or read much about it, but isn't OpenSocial supposed to do exactly what you refer to?

http://code.google.com/apis/opensocial/

 
At July 24, 2008 3:11 PM , Blogger Marc Esher said...

funny... i've been on twitter for a month now and I actually quite enjoy it. It's weird how it helps you feel connected to people that otherwise would be more peripheral.

weird thing happened to me though, and i'm wondering if anyone has seen this. Almost all of the few folks "following" me quit following me apparently on the same day, and i'm wondering if i might have accidentally done that myself when I tried installing twitterific on my iphone.

anyone have this sort of thing happen to you?

 
At July 24, 2008 3:29 PM , Blogger bill said...

marc, yeah ... i think they were doing some maintenance and something blew up. I no longer have any friends either :-(

Cool thing, I started following folks like Ward Cunningham, "Uncle" Bob Martin, Mike Feathers, Tim O'Reilly, Ron Jefferies, Dallas Taylor, and even a Texas politician … You can tell who's really cool, because they have like 10,000 followers, but they only follow like 20 people.

But then I also get these hot babes from the Ukraine following me - I guess they're attracted to insect-like avatars …

welcome back!

-bill

 

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