Web 2.0: July 2008 Archives

Ah the Twitter Debate

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My colleague Mary Janzen has an interesing blog post about her trepidation to use Twitter, and I have to say that she's not the only one... I do follow some Tweets periodically (especially now that they are easy to read on the hall monitor), but thus far I have not joined in.

I have to agree with Mary that the word "tweeting" does not sound like a serious activity, so I'll replace it with the more academic "microblogging." And yet, I still won't microblog in public. What is my problem anyway?

It's a dual problem for me. One is that the microblogging is very micro, specifically 140 characters. It doesn't allow me the space to elaborate on whatever profound point I plan to make. Abraham Lincoln (or maybe someone else) is supposed to have apologized for not having a chance to shorten his first draft, and I knew exactly what the speaker meant. The short haiku like elegance required for a classic Tweet may take longer for me than a rambling blog post.

I could be a little more spontaneous (like in the ANGEL Doc meeting), but, seriously, I do not know who at Penn State is watching. I'm still a little unnerved (sorry). I really believe the adage that anything with an http:// protocol is potentially in public view even if it is "password protected"

The other issue is reading time. Unlike blogs, you have to follow Tweets fairly frequently to get the full sense. It's kind of like being on AIM and the cell phone...and when was the last time you saw me on AIM or a cell phone? It's a personal style issue. I do confess I like Twitter as an announcement platform (like PSU Txt), but again how many Tweets are announcements that are critical to me?

FYI - If there was an ETS Announcement Tweet channel, I would definitely follow the RSS

And finally there's the time taken to WRITE the 140 character messages. I did two days worth of recording my potential Tweets in a text file (see next blog post), and the output was what you might expect (which was a little punchy). For me they were written at pauses in my day when I was a little punchy, so yes there if is a goofy element.

After the two Tweeter production days, I went back to my old ways, and found I was less distracted (blissful silence broken by an occasional blog post).

That's not to say that I will never get a Twitter account or that I don't unerstand the appeal to so many others. But I will say I have new sympathies for the those who say blogging doesn't work for them.