Monday, February 07, 2011

Me & Twitter

In a post the other day about blogging I said I couldn't get my head around Twitter and I should do a post on it so that, maybe, you can tell me where I'm going wrong.

Today Sarah has an excellent post about Twitter at Dubai-ified, which prompted me to write my post on it.


I understand the concept of instant, brief messages. I understand, as Sarah says, that Twitter is connectivity to the rest of the world. But there's much I can't get my head around.

Blogging I understand, it makes sense, it doesn't need you on it 24/7, it's clear and concise, easy to read.

Twitter is the opposite.

The first bit I struggle with is knowing what to follow. How the hell do you decide when there's so much of interest going on. And new, unpredicted things of interest regularly popping up out of nowhere, such as the Benihana Kuwait blogger-bashing story. I'd end up following so many subjects that my computer would go into meltdown.

And that leads me on to the other thing I don't understand - the time you need.

Twitter by its very nature provides instant and constant updates on all sorts of stuff.  But if you're not monitoring it all the time you miss huge wads of the stuff and when you get back to it it's like missing the middle section of a movie.

And if you have your own Twitter page, how do you find the time to keep posting (or is that tweeting?). With this blog I can post something every day, sometimes longer like this and sometimes just a photo. I can check back for comments, I can reply to them...but I don't need to be on it all the time.

Then there's the content.

For example, I followed the link from a visitor tracked by my Statcounter:

alimustafaok: Queensland baby born in cyclone Yasi shelter {exclusive video of baby...must watch} - http://tinyurl.com/69q54rr
KrystleJondahl1: All our thoughts with Queensland as they brace themselves for Cyclone Yasi TishaMcmain5429: All our thoughts with Queensland as they brace themselves for Cyclone Yasi rosethistleart: RT @CBSnews: End of Cyclone Yasi Brings Australia More Woes http://bit.ly/eZi18N
YuetteFinley968: All our thoughts with Queensland as they brace themselves for Cyclone Yasi
CBS News: End of Cyclone Yasi Brings Australia More Woes http://feedzil.la/g8juoy
AdamColeman25: End of Cyclone Yasi Brings Australia More Woes (CBS News): Share With Friends: World news - Top Stories News, KiyokoWires3264: All our thoughts with Queensland as they brace themselves for Cyclone Yasi
MonicaRingstaff: The energy from Cyclone Yasi could power the world for a year
 LaurenLandolt74: The energy from Cyclone Yasi could power the world for a year
teetee65: RT @CBSnews: End of Cyclone Yasi Brings Australia More Woes http://bit.ly/eZi18N
AllineYerhot194: The energy from Cyclone Yasi could power the world for a year
ThomasGoracke92: All our thoughts with Queensland as they brace themselves for Cyclone Yasi
WanitaRied3601: All our thoughts with Queensland as they brace themselves for Cyclone Yasi
Levi_Fourie: @JackieEatsBabys search up cyclone yasi!! :D and be amazed we got lucky :L other owns didn't :(
MiriamMazzoni59: All our thoughts with Queensland as they brace themselves for Cyclone Yasi
RT @CBSnews: End of Cyclone Yasi Brings Australia More Woes http://bit.ly/eZi18N
ElenoreBueche60: All our thoughts with Queensland as they brace themselves for Cyclone Yasi
KiaraCiarletta3: The energy from Cyclone Yasi could power the world for a year
Louth: Tail end of Cyclone Yasi in Werribee. Pictures: http://bit.ly/fh5ocd Video: http://youtu.be/IiHCvNmRE2w [Not mine!] - More rain to come too.
Louth: Tail end of Cyclone Yasi in Werribee. Pictures: http://bit.ly/fh5ocd Video: http://youtu.be/IiHCvNmRE2w [Not mine!] - More rain to come too.
AliseCumpston27: All our thoughts with Queensland as they brace themselves for Cyclone Yasi

It goes on ad nauseum like that. Page after page with messages being repeated by dozens of people. Most of it is just quotes from the mainstream media and people re-tweeting what others have already tweeted, so it's page after page endlessly repeating exactly the same thing. In reality there are only five or six things being said, which you read over and over again.
 
I've just had a look at Alexander McNabb's Twitter page and that highlights another problem I have. Dozens of conversations are going on at the same time. It's like being in one of those business meetings where the chairman loses control and everyone starts talking amongst themselves. So much is going on at the same time you have no idea what's going on.
 
 
Here's part of Alex' page:

  Now. THAT is awesome. #Jan25
.@bilalhouri I do not somehow feel a deep sense of loss.. @tfehh @jarofjuice @mark248am @MaliZomg
.@bilalhouri Now the only voice on Facebook is the boycott page... LOL indeed... @mark248am @MaliZomg @naseemfaqihi
.@bilalhouri Yes, I rather think they did! Yet more great 'how to' lessons in social media! :) @mark248am @MaliZomg #BenihanaKUW
.RT @allawati: People are now forming to make the word "Leave" for the helicopters to see http://twitpic.com/3wbys0
.RT @Andrew_Bone: Last call for Jeddah. Would all passengers board immediately. Come on, Mr Mubarak #Jan25
.Fast Company on BenihanaGate. Hey, Benihana Tokyo? WAKE UP! http://bit.ly/faxZE2 #BenihanaKUW (Via @okassim)
.@okassim Yes, it was a despicable swipe against an alienated sibling. And quite fun...
."Reporters Without Borders is horrified... an all-out witch-hunt against news media... in Egypt" http://bit.ly/gjBXy7
.@okassim Yeah, but search 'Benihana' and you catch the growing global outcry. And it's actually scary. #benihanakuw
.@Beirutspring @krmaher Well, some ISPs are capable of anythingng... ;)
.@Beirutspring @krmaher Saudi IPs - IP addresses. See the post on the host's site: http://bit.ly/hsKEnv
.Hmm. The Slashdot effect? #BenihanaKUW http://bit.ly/hodSAS
.@bilalhouri @noornet @Beirutspring @MaliZomg Post is mirrored here: http://bit.ly/hsKEnv
.@Beirutspring According to the hosting provider, traffic spike plus attacks from Saudi-based IPs!
.@money1963 Benihana Kuwait! You might find this informative: http://bit.ly/gr0414
.@noornet @Beirutspring Guys, the blog is offline temporarily as the host is having traffic issues. http://bit.ly/hsKEnv #jan25
.RT @GKnieschot: Vodaphone #Egypt statement on Government abusing phone networl: http://bit.ly/gnVesi #Jan25



And I have a problem with the way it's presented.
 
There's all the link stuff, more than half the message, to wade through:
 
pippalovespink: RT @smh_news: RT @smhenvironment: 41 degrees: Sydney's sixth day of sizzling: http://bit.ly/gjYhnN #weather #environment #sydneyheat
 
Ninety-four characters of links to wade through to read forty-one characters of message. 

And making it even harder to read what's there, the platform can't accept apostrophies so you get:

marielviray: @meteoritecrater also, Sydney's in a heat wave and Melbourne's flooding. Australia's weather is so bipolar.

User friendly it ain't.

Assuming that with practice I could work out how to cut through the dozens of  simultaneous conversations and how to read through all the 'ses I still have two problems.

How to follow all the many, many subjects I'd want to follow and how to find the time to do it.
 
How to find a way through the endlessly repeated clutter and just read a message once.
 
 


11 comments:

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

Sit down and have a coffee with Alexander or Sarah on your return to see how they utilise twitter.

Your post reminded me of my wariness, as I listened to McNabb extolling the virtues of Twitter on the Dubai Eye Business programme. (Admittedly not the best vehicle for any dissemination, as they only have one script!)

Keefieboy said...

Hear, hear! I succumbed to Twitter about 6 months ago. I spent the first few weeks figuring it out, and had a few very late nights actively following a couple of stories. Now I hardly ever look at it - it really does have very little value.

susanthecoach said...

I agree - for me being on twitter is a bit like being in a huge mall with 2000 people all shouting "buy me" and the occasional person saying something really interesting if you happen to catch it at the right moment

Grumpy Goat said...

Thank you Seabee. I suspected as much, and have avoided Twitter for the reasons that you describe.

Perhaps it works better for those who are permanently attached to the interwebz by their iBerrys than caprine Luddites with their billy-basic mobile handsets.

At this stage I think I'll stick to blogging and Faceache.

Sarah Walton said...

You're all getting OLD! The non-desire to use twitter suggests your inability to develop your newspeak, get your brain to do several things at once, and wade through the garbage while picking out the diamonds. Social Media is taking over - it's here for good - time to jump on the wagon.

And all of you guys above, I know your work - you're no geriatrics. C'mon - step it up!

mezba said...

Despite all touted benefits I still don't get twitter. I personally don't feel encouraged to 'tweet' as I get the urge to blog, and most of my feeds are now so cluttered it's useless.

Seabee said...

Sahara, it's not a non desire to use Twitter it's the practical problems with it, as I said in the post.

Sarah Walton said...

by the way - does anyone know the emoticon for tongue-in-cheek?

alexander... said...

I didn't realise my Twitter account was being stalked by the illustriati!

1) It is a LOT of stuff to follow. use Tweetdeck, which has tools to help you organise stuff - for instance, setting up search columns for certain words or phrases that interest you, say Aviation or Philately. That way, anyone mentions your search topics, you see what they've said in real time.

2) Only follow people that interest you, for instance those that share common goals or consistently share good links: journalists, activists and thinkers tend to tweet interesting stuff and not 'Had Special K for breakfast'.

3) It needs a little discipline. Dip in and out a few times a day and you'll usually pick up the stuff you need/that's important.

4) Twitter's great for pimping blogs. Share a few good content links with people every day and they'll be pleased to come over to the blog when you've got something to say - and it's a different readership.

There. Hope that helps! :)

Seabee said...

Thanks Alex, I'll try what you suggest.

susanthecoach said...

Sarah - how about :-@ for tongue in cheek?