Thursday night, I had a productive Skype chat with Brent Schlenker and Paul Fender. We talked about our respective projects, blogging, educational theory and the like....
Inevitably, Twitter came up.
I'm writing this from my sketchy memory. I am certain that the order of the conversation is completely wrong. And I hope I'm properly attributing who said what.
Brent, Paul - I trust you to correct me. It was a blast talking to both of you.
Paul: I know you 2 have been experimenting with Twitter - I don't see it.
Wendy: There's a couple of things I want to investigate. Right now, I tend to agree with you. The only interesting thing worth reading I've posted so far is a play by play of my friends playing Tiger Woods 2006
Paul: That sounds kinda cool
Brent: You know - after playing with it, I'm not quite seeing it either. I can see maybe a close group of 10 - 20 people as a private circle contacting each other when they're out. Or a small group trying to get together at a conference or something. I'm hearing stories of people having huge text message bills because they are getting mobile feeds for lots of people.
Wendy: I've read that some groups are using Twitter as a project management tool. Sort of a semi-asynchronous IM.
Brent: Or an always open chat room.
(Grunts of agreement from Paul and Wendy)
Brent: I think of MicroBlogging when I see this.
Wendy: I'll admit - I much prefer long-form blogging. I can't imagine having anything interesting to say in this medium. Watching TV. Petting the cat. That sort of thing.
Paul: I doubt that I will find much use for Twitter
Brent: Yeah, I wonder if it's just a fad or if this is really gonna stick. There's so much technology change occurring, it's really hard to predict or seriously keep up.
(Paul and Brent had a lengthy interchange about technology adoption on an individual and social level. What they actually said was infinitely more intelligent than any paraphrase I could come up with 2 days after the fact.)
Wendy: You know - whether we find the technology individually useful or not, it helps to be somewhat aware of what that thing does. Because you KNOW that, with all of the press Twitter is getting right now, someone is going to come up to you and say "Hey, we should use that Twitter thing in our organization." It helps to know what they are talking about and tell them why it would or wouldn't work for whatever issue they have.
At this point - the conversation turned to encouraging people to play with new social technologies - blogging, Twitter, Skype and all that. That was a whole 'nother productive line of thinking that I would have even less success recreating than I did the above.
Brent has managed to get more out of Twitter than I have so far. Which probably isn't saying much.
I'm still trying to figure out how to follow people without spamming my friends. I need to dig through the help pages more carefully. Maybe I'm dense, but unless I'm sending e-mail invites - adding other Twitter users is not intuitive.
I did attempt to put a hyperlink into Twitter - thinking it would be cool to be able to point to a shared Google doc or cool links. I don't think it's designed to do that. If someone knows how to put a hyperlink into a Twitter post - please comment.
The biggest issue I am having with Twitter as a personal tool is that it does not solve a problem I have. Or didn't know I had.
The other issue I am having with Twitter is that it is one more thing for me to keep up with. I don't have individual interesting thoughts that often. Or none that I particularly want to share in public. And I have enough other stuff on my plate that keeping up with a microblog is a low priority. I am having a hard enough time keeping up with my regular blog!
I'm going to experiment with this a bit longer - just to make sure I'm truly not missing something.
I have a feeling I will be putting this toy down.