2.12.2009

Tweedle Me Dum (Thing 27)

Until Thing 27, I had successfully avoided the grasp of Twitter. I already send status updates to friends via Facebook, and even that is a pretty limited group of people - I have no desire to tell the entire world what I'm doing (yes, one can make Twitter updates private, but then that wouldn't have been any different than Facebook).  Several times a day my reader is full of blog posts about the wonders of Twitter; those in the design community are particularly worshipful of the networking power of Twitter.  Still, the thought of Twitter made this introvert's skin crawl and I told myself I really didn't need another thing to keep me in front of the computer.  My books are already feeling neglected as is, not to mention the art supplies that are gathering dust.

I joined Twitter anyway and I have to admit, I see a lot of potential for Twitter.  I decided that Twitter would not just be another way for me to share "status updates" with friends & family; instead, I decided I would use is as originally intended: microblogging.  Twitter will be my tool for publishing those thoughts that are important enough to share but not substantial enough for a blog post; for sharing interesting links with others; and for the occasional (work-related) status update.  Hopefully, it will one day also be a way for me to collaborate with others, but I think I need a few more followers before I can crowdsource.

Twitter @ OMS?

Twitter now has a place in my life (the permanence of which is still undecided), but will it have a place at my school?  Maybe.  Probably not.  At most, I could see Twitter being used as a collaboration tool among a few staff members.  Twitter is like having the directness of an email conversation, with the ease of instant messaging, and the added ability to receive public feedback and support.  The social nature and inherent conciseness (Tweets are limited to 140 characters) of Twitter are conducive to brainstorming and collaboration. 

My experience with Twitter accounts as mini-news feeds has not been very good (I'm looking at you HCLIB & CNET); I do not think that Twitter is the best tool for organizations wishing to publish information.  Blogs with RSS feeds are much better tools for this purpose.  News-feed type twitter accounts are more akin to the websites that fills your inbox with too many emails that should have been combined into one, with information your don't really care about anyway, but from which you can't figure out how to unsubscribe.  Yeah, those.  As such, I don't foresee using Twitter to share information with students.  To be honest, I don't think middle school students would use Twitter very well, if at all.

Details, Details

I'm still finding my way around twitter, particularly I'm struggling to find people I actually care to follow, but I'm going to stick with it...at least until my fellow More Things bloggers give a try too.   Currently, I primarily use Tweet Deck, an Adobe Air Desktop App, to tweet & follow my fellow twits.  I especially like the feature where I can group those whom I follow, which allows me to pull more interesting tweets into separate columns, preventing them from becoming lost in The Conversation.  I also have the Gmail TwitterGadget installed, as well as the TwitterBar add-on for Firefox, which enables me to send tweets directly from The Awesome Bar (a.k.a. URL or Location bar, for those not fluent in Mozilla).  Also, my Twitter username is CCahillMN, and my five most recent tweets can be found in the Twitter widget located in my sidebar.

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