Saturday, March 14, 2009

Twitter is the new Black

This is the age of Twitter. In the last couple of weeks, both Doonesbury and Jon Stewart have made fun of it. Members of the technorati who have been using Twitter for some time and have built up a solid following have suddenly found their lead in the number of followers eviscerated as Twitter goes mainstream and people we have all heard of become the most popular. As might be expected, the loudest complaints have come from Dave Whiner.

I have written about Twitter in the past and how it relates to various feed technologies. However I must confess that I do not use the service for the simple reason that I have no use it. We live in a very noisy world. I want to keep the noise level down, and Twitter seems to just increases the noise.

For example, when I first started using RSS to follow stuff, I subscribed to feeds from all the places that I regularly follow. Then I realized that there is no point in using RSS to follow a site that publishes several times a day. If I want to see what they have to say, I can just go to the site at any time and see their latest stuff. So I cut my RSS subscriptions back to the sites that publish infrequently. That way a quick daily look at my RSS feeds allows me to catch up with all sorts things without being overloaded.

That is not to say that I do not see a value in Twitter, it is just that I do not see a use case for my using Twitter now. Twitter is of most use for people whose job is about communications. My job is to get things done, and to do that, I often need to switch off the outside world to reduce the noise.

This attitude to Twitter could easily change. Many years ago, a friend suggested that I use Instant Messaging (IM). At the time I had no use for it and did not subscribe. A couple of years later, my manager asked that all reports be available through IM whenever they were working, so that, for example the manager could ask a question of anyone from a meeting. Ever since then I have been online in IM whenever I have been at work. At a minimum, it shows my colleagues in a distributed organization that I am at work and available. Just as I found a use for IM, I could find a use for Twitter.

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