Thursday, August 6, 2009

How and why I Twitter.

It's stunning how much press Twitter gets. Seriously. Salem Monthly's cover story is about the top Tweeters in Salem. What's interesting, is that I didn't have hardly any of these on my radar. Who knew?

Admittedly, I was a nay-sayer some time ago; for quite some time I resisted the call to Tweet, thinking, and I quote, "That's the dumbest fucking thing ever."

Yeah, well... I was wrong. Back then, what Twitter was used for, at least when I dipped my foot in during the very early stage, was shallow and self absorbed updates about life's minutiae that no one would really care about. When I came to Twitter again a few months ago... perhaps I was different, perhaps the zeitgeist had matured, whatever: I got it, and it got me.

Now and then I do post something stupid, personal and of no use whatsoever -- one of those things that lets friends keep a finger on your pulse, so to speak. But mostly... I want nuggets. To give and receive nuggets. Nuggets of information. Suggestions. Pointers. Insights.

I prefer them to be authentic, so I decry the rampant sales hawking that is going on, increasingly, but whatchagonnado? Our brand of capitalism runs roughshod over everything in the pursuit of a buck. For god's sake there's not even a holiday that is sacred any longer.

I follow those who, aside from being simply amusing, share information. It might be about #SalemOR, or #glass, or... insert any keyword you can think of here. I follow a fairly small number of people, because with the likes of Tweet Deck, software available for the Mac, iPhone and other platforms, I can see all those users in my usual feed, but I can search the entire Twitterverse any time I want, and even keep running mini-feeds based on keywords.

(I swore I was not going to use the word "Twitterverse." But I couldn't resist.)

I'd rather be able to read the vast majority of Tweets by people I give a rats patootie about (and thus follow) and then be able to gleen the rest through well crafted searches.

At work, I'm often pointed to in meetings and someone will say, "I bet you Twitter!" because I openly describe myself as a geek. I admit that yes, I do, and some people look at me in awe, others scoff and imagine me sitting at home alone with nothing else to do, a can of Red Bull in one hand and a 2 liter of Mountain Dew Game Fuel in the other, and others quietly say, "I've been thinking of Twittering, but I'm not sure how..."

But it's useful. Really. Now, if you're the type that will still spend five minutes in search of a print phone book instead of using your smart phone to look up a phone number, you will not understand this. But I encourage you to read on, nonetheless.

This pocket of connections that are with me anywhere my iPhone gets service is useful. I've known some of my contacts for years. While we may be miles or continents apart, their little bursts keep me in touch with at least a thread of their lives, making keeping up easier. I've never met a lot of others. And some, I just haven't met... yet. But they all have a diverse background of knowledge, and, at any given time, know things or have access to resources that I may not.

All I have to do is ask and... voila... they answer. I've been in a new area and given a Tweet asking for dining recommendations. Or asked if anyone knew what was the cause of a traffic hold up when I couldn't discern the cause using my usual news sources. Not only do I find the answer at my fingertips, but I learn about a new resource or tool in the process.

That's score x 2, my friend!

Here's some useful linkage:

Find your first Tweet:
TweetDeck, my fav Twit app :
Track who owes you a beer/coffee/lunch:

And there are two blue billion other apps; they are coming so fast Mashable can't even keep up with them.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! I still remember the first article I read about Twitter in Newsweek. I don't know if it was because of that article or a following one, but I gave it a looksie during an election (brain is suffering a "denial of service"!) to see one of the possible applications. It was interesting to see real time comments from around the world concerning how the election was going.