Ajarn Mark Caldwell Blog

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Twitter Follow-Up

A few months ago, I announced that I was going to do a test-run with Twitter.  So now I thought I'd share a few thoughts.  Probably the most telling bit of evidence that shows how my test of Twitter went, is that I haven't posted anything to my Twitter account since December 5th, a whopping 3 weeks after I started, and two and a half months ago.  It was at that time also that I stopped reading tweets with any degree of regularity.

It's not that I think Twitter is evil or utterly banal (although some of the users may be) it's just that I couldn't seem to make it fit into my life very well.  Maybe I'm just getting old, I am now in the "over 40" crowd, but I had a helluva time keeping up on reading posts, and I was only following about 25 people.  I don't know how anyone follows hundreds of people and actually gets anything else done, like holding down a full-time job and a family.  Granted, I mostly was using my cell phone, and I know there are a lot of little apps out there that I could use to do my twittering on my PC, but frankly, the last thing I want while I'm in the middle of work, focusing on a programming or management task is to keep getting distracted by tweets popping up on my PC screen.  Heck, it's bad enough all the distractions that email from coworkers causes.

It was fun to tweet from the PASS Community Summit and read some others' tweets while I was there, but looking back, I can see that a lot of the tweets were duplicates of others, especially during the Keynote addresses each morning.  And since I was sitting there watching the keynote (as well as adding to the redundant rebroadcast) it wasn't very valuable.

Now, maybe if I was a professional journalist, I would find Twitter to be a valuable source of leads or commentary.  Or maybe if I was trying to market my company, it would be a good way to get the word out and let people know what we were doing.  But for where I am in life right now, not so much.  The one Twitter account that got my attention recently, was the SQLTeam one where Graz has posted several tips, and maybe I'll get hooked again some day with a differently targeted group to follow, and, well, I'll keep my Twitter account in case I want to get back into it, but for now I don't plan to update it very often.

Legacy Comments

Adam Machanic
re: Twitter Follow-Up
Finally, a voice of reason with regard to this thing! Thanks for sharing...

K. Brian Kelley
re: Twitter Follow-Up
I'm one of those Twitter fanboys because I have found it useful for me. To be honest, though, I don't try and keep up with every post. I usually treat it as sort of like the ESPN scores updates... I look at the past few tweets whenever I have a short break or so. The difference is when I have a question or am trying to help someone else out. I traded a couple of DMs today, in fact, that hopefully gave one of my twitter friends an example he can use in trying to explain a concept. But I definitely don't try and keep up with every post. Most of the folks I interact with don't, either.

And if you were keeping up with in primarily on a mobile device, Twitter is okay, but there's just not enough screen real estate to make it really useful. For instance, I use TweetDeck and I have the ability to have one column for all the folks I'm following, another column for those I've marked priority (usually SQL Server people, but there are some others), one for replies to me, one for direct messages to me, and then I run two columns for searches: one for SQL Server and one for security. As you might guess, I paid the most attention to DMs, the replies, and to my priority column when I did go back through and scan.

I'm not trying to convince you that Twitter is the be all and end all, but I have found it useful. Hopefully, I've done a bit of a good job explaining how I use it. It took me a bit of time to find a way to best get at Twitter so that it adds to my efforts rather than detracts, but now I'm glad I have it as another tool.

re: Twitter Follow-Up
Adam - You're welcome. Glad to know there are some others of a like mind.

KBK - Glad you found a way that works for you.

I look forward to reading about other people's experiences.

Brian Tkatch
re: Twitter Follow-Up
I agree with the post. It takes much too much time. Though, KBK's approach. of only looking at the time is interesting.

Instead of micro-blogging, but all should be read, it is time based blogging, being read by people who happen to have time just then.

I was thinking of another approach. That is, of having the tweeter flip an "important" flag. That way, people could choose to be notified only when the tweeter thinks it is important, instead of all tweets. And, if someone abuses it, ignore him.

Twitter has its place. It is just isn't perfect yet.