Guilted Back to Twitter
I had lunch yesterday with Steve Weiss, one of my new O'Reilly colleagues, and he totally guilted me into giving Twitter another shot. A year or so ago I complained that Twitter's signal-to-noise ratio was awful, and while I suspect that's still the case, I figure I can help myself a bit there by only following a few key people to start.
One of the next steps is to add my Twitter feed to my blogs (since Twitter widget functionality is offered for both Typepad and Blogger) and we'll see how it goes... If you care to follow my tweets, you'll find me here.
I rather like Twitter. Most of it is garbage, but Occassionally you get some real gems. The New York Times headlines on Twitter are good, So are some of the news services like LISnews (Library Information Sceince News) has an occassional useful article. Also if you focus carefully on who you add, it can be useful. I focus on adding publishers, Fantagraphics, DC, Bantam Spectra, and others. There are a lot of publishers making announcements on Twitter. I find it works better if you focus on a niche audience somewhat.
Posted by: Book Calendar | October 16, 2008 at 03:14 PM
Uggghhhh... I absolutely hate Twitter but I can't seem to look away for fear I'll miss something important. It is a nuisance and rarely helpful in any meaningful way.
Posted by: Tracy Coenen | October 16, 2008 at 06:11 PM
It's great that you are giving Twitter another chance. It's a great tool. You should have received a message awhile back from me noting that I often tweet links to your blog on Twitter. I have been doing so for the past few months. I look forward to following you and I hope that you will find use in Twitter.
Posted by: james3neal | October 16, 2008 at 08:10 PM
Twitter's not about content. Twitter's about people.
I talk to certain people on a far more regular basis now who I don't normally talk to on a regular basis.
If you think of people as noise, Twitter's probably not right for you.
Posted by: Morgan Ramsay | October 16, 2008 at 08:46 PM
The signal-to-noise ratio is very poor, and always will be. Just about everyone follows only a few of what they consider key people. It's all you can do. I often wonder if this is something people do simply because it's possible, with the hope it will mean something.
I notice that Linked-In has had its "Right now I'm--" feature for a while. Was that in place before twitter?
Posted by: Michael A. Banks | October 16, 2008 at 08:51 PM
Morgan, I don't think of people as noise, unless those people are simply tweeting things like, "I just had a blueberry muffin" or "it's raining."
Posted by: Joe Wikert | October 16, 2008 at 09:50 PM
Er, that would be called small talk were you in the physical presence of hose people at your home, at a club, or whatever.
What do you say when someone exclaims that they just had the sort of blueberry muffin that dreams are made of? You might say, "I don't like blueberry muffins. I like banana nut." You probably wouldn't, and definitely shouldn't, say, "Shaddap! You're bothering me with that nonsense. I'm leaving!"
Living is about the small stuff, from moment to moment. Twitter provides us easy access to that stuff. Twitter is also flexible enough to allow us to broadcast big stuff, too, but the real value of Twitter is the relative ease at which users are able to connect with each other.
The whole "signal-to-noise ratio" thing is the wrong attitude.
Posted by: Morgan Ramsay | October 16, 2008 at 10:04 PM
Morgan, I figure you also have to consider the medium you're talking about. Sure, when I'm sitting around with someone there's always going to be a bit of smalltalk. While we're all used to that during in-person dialog, perhaps I'm in the minority but I don't find it at all useful in an online dialog.
In short, I feel pretty strongly that certain types of conversation are more effective in one model (e.g., in person) than others (e.g., online). Part of this probably has to do with synchronous vs. asynchronous communication. If we're sitting together at Panera and you rave about the muffin I'm right there, engaged and ready for a reply. I don't get that same feeling with Twitter, at least not so far, since most of my tweet reading feels very asynchronous.
Posted by: Joe Wikert | October 16, 2008 at 11:07 PM
Okay ... Doug pulled me back to twitter with an invitation. Mikebanks.
--Mike (is not very active)
Posted by: Michael A. Banks | October 18, 2008 at 07:36 PM