A while back I took a dump on Twitter, the service that answers “What are you doing?” as often as you want to update it. I stand by those comments because it can easily spiral into exactly what I said, and I’m sure there’s a lot of navel-gazing and jerk-off posts on there. For example, I just clicked through and found a Tweet that said “Watching news.”
Wow. How compelling.
But there were two things that made me rethink Twitter and its usefulness to me.
First, I discovered Twitter Tools, a plugin that ties a WordPress blog (like this one) into a Twitter account. It works in both directions, so if I post a Tweet it could appear in my blog’s sidebar and when I post a blog entry a Tweet goes out with a TinyURL link to the post. I’ll get to the first part of that in a moment, but I do like the auto-Tweet because it’s essentially just extending my RSS presence into the Twitter realm. (In English that means Twitter users see I’ve got a blog post and make with the clicky.)
Second, I read a brief article in Wired about Twitter, and while it did say critics have the same concerns about it as I do, it talked about the social aspect of Twitter. The gist was Twitter allows small, core groups to develop a sort of sixth sense about one another. If, for example, four friends and I all sent out Tweets, we’d have a better idea of what one another are up to and who’s free to grab a beer with.
Again, I’m not sure I want to be that connected, but I do see the utility. It may also be fun to send out a few from a convention floor to tell folks what they’re missing. But I also thought it may be a way to track my writing habits, as well as encourage readers to hold me accountable. If I posted a Tweet saying I was writing a scene for “To Rise from the Ashes”, readers would know not to disturb me and know that the novella may actually see the light of day sometime. Similarly, I could post a tease about what the characters are up to (sans spoilers, of course). That might make it a little more fun.
Then it dawned on me Twitter is just microblogging. If there’s a simple link I want to share, say something really odd or that made me laugh, a Tweet might be more appropriate than a blog post.
Which led to one more potential use I realized, but I’m going to sit on that one until I can develop it a little further. It’s tricky given the Twitter word limit, but I may be able to pull it off.
Until then, let me know if you give a rat’s ass about Twitter. I’m curious to see what everyone else thinks of it. In the meantime, if you want to see all my Tweets, you can find me here.