I’ve been on Twitter for a few weeks now, so I should give some sort of account of it, especially as I said I would.
I have remained very wary about “following” too many people — with good cause. So far I’ve only added 24, but already when I logon in the morning there are pages and pages of back messages, mainly by a handful of scribes who tell me what they had for breakfast, how many cups of coffee they imbibed yesterday, and then list all the meetings they’ve got throughout the day, before embarking on a marathon to ‘n’ fro with obscure individuals with names like Plodoff, CrankyAss and LowFalutin’ (I made those up to avoid embarrassing real people).
I’ve taken to skimming deftly through those Tweetaramas now, allowing around 5 seconds per page.
The most valuable facility is the “Replies” folder which holds all messages aimed directly at you (@Syntagma) which are very much fewer than the general river of Tweets. I could easily get by with a few Tweets a day, plus references to the Replies cache.
However, I’ve also enabled my cellphone/mobile to receive mobile Tweets. I’ve no idea what they are, but suspect they are “direct messages” which are sent as texts. I seem to have a limit of 250. Maybe after that they will charge my account. Who knows? I’ll be sure to turn it off when they do.
I do have some rather prestigious “Web 2.0” people following me. Check the list. Some of them are quite interesting in a Web 2.0 sort of way. So far no Web 3.0 followers — maybe they’re too busy semanticizing about the future.
The real problem with Twitter, as with all social networks, is its addictive qualities. It’s so easy to drown in the stuff. If you work for a living online, as I do, it’s vital to rein in your expressive tendencies. Tweets pay no bills (pun not intended).
Indeed, Tweeting will undermine your ability to post content on your sites as it can drain away your creative juices before you’ve even begun the day’s work. Faced with a long, detailed piece to write, the ease of a <140 character post spoils you for the harder task. Better to Twitter in 5-minute spurts two or three times a day. If, as many do, you attempt to document your entire day as it passes, you are a gonna. As in "gone with the birds" -- no pun intended. I'll stick with it for now, highlighting the occasional post, like this one -- using tinyurl.com to reduce the character count of the link -- and see where it takes me. As the numbers of my followers mount, I see dimly the name of Alfred Hitchcock materializing in my mind's eye.