Rethinking Twitter

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.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

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  1. Roscoe says:

    I joined Twitter back in January, but left after a few months. I had become increasingly disgusted by the 1.) unacceptable “signal-to-noise” ratio of the twits, 2.) the all too frequent Twitter system downtimes, and 3.) the spam that would sometimes appear in my twitter “badges” that seemed to come from the Twitter system itself.

    After canceling my Twitter account, I found jaiku, a system similar to Twitter but older, more stable, European based, and catering to a more mature, tech savvy user base. For the last several months I’ve been much happier with Jaiku than I ever was with Twitter.

  2. Mike says:

    I figure on a certain amount of spam, but that’s a subject for another blog post.

    I just took a look at Jaiku, and at first glance I can already see it’s cleaner and more professional. I also found a Jaiku WordPress plugin here. It may be time for a test drive.

    Thanks for the tip, Roscoe!