Monday, 16 February 2009

I'm all a-Twitter!

If you've come here in the last week or so, you've noticed that things have changed a bit in the sidebar. I've added quite a bit of contents there in the last weeks, like the blog roll, but the most important thing here is just under my profile: yes, I'm on Twitter!

For a long time, looking from the sidelines, I felt Twitter was a waste of time. So what made me change my mind? Well, I discovered lately that a lot of people I respect were already on Twitter, and they've been praising the micro-blogging platform. Since there was just no way all those people could be wrong (most of them aren't known for falling for the latest Internet fad), I decided to look into the phenomenon more closely. Doing so, I discovered not only that there seems to be something to this Twitter craze other than hype, but also that it may even be of use for me! Indeed, I know that my Internet presence (basically this blog) suffers from two issues:

  • I don't update nearly often enough to achieve a sustainable readership. Unfortunately, I'm a slow writer, and I don't often find a subject I feel comfortable writing about. I have quite a few posts lined up, but none is anywhere ready for release. And that brings me to the second point.
  • My posts are generally too long-winded. I lose myself in the details, can't seem to be able to write a paragraph less than 20 lines long, and my style lacks punch.

Twitter's format seems particularly fit to help me tackle these problems:

  • It embraces short, frequent updates, and feels more informal than a fully fledged weblog. It encourages updating even when you haven't got much to say, and since I have to confine my updates to 140 characters I don't suffer from the fear of not knowing what to write about.
  • By strictly enforcing the 140 characters rule, Twitter forces me to concentrate my thoughts and use less words to express them. This can only be good for my writing style.

So I've decided to give Twitter a try, and so far I like it. And to make it official, there's nothing better than blogging about it!

So what can you expect from my tweeting?

  • Expect it to be more personal than my blog articles are. I blog only about things I find important, but I still try to keep my personal life out of it. Twitter is more of an immediate reaction kind of medium, so expect to see glimpses of my personal life in there, once in a while.
  • Twitter's motto is What are you doing? I'll personally try and focus more on What are you thinking about? Do expect some tweets to be simply about what I'm doing at the moment though, if I feel it is exemplary and/or interesting.
  • I'll try and send links to sites, articles, videos, and other things I find around that I find interesting, as often as possible. I've never really been able to do so with the blog because of the time it takes me to write an article. By the time I'm finished, the issue/article/blog post has been debated to death, has become out-of-date, or has simply been forgotten, and whatever I had to say has become meaningless. The Internet is a bit too fast for me at times. However, with Twitter I can quickly send a link with a few words of my own, five minutes after I've discovered the site.
  • Expect my tweets to be even more random than my posts, although the same themes will probably recur. I have a wide range of interests, and the Twitter format is even better than the blog format to let me talk about it all.
  • If you follow me, I'll make sure to follow you back. It's the least I can do.

Besides what you can expect of me on Twitter, here's what you cannot expect of me:

  • Don't expect me to update my status 50 times a day. I'm no Stephen Fry!
  • Don't expect me to tweet much during the weekends or holidays. I don't have a smartphone, and I only have a company-owned mobile phone. So currently I can only tweet when in front of the computer, and that's mostly at work or in the evening.
  • I'll try to use the social features of Twitter as well, rather than only soliloquying, but don't expect me to be a champion replier from the get go. I still need to dip my toe in to check how hot the water is.
  • Don't expect me to suddenly show up on Facebook, Myspace, Hyves, or any other social network. It's nice and all, but a Twitter account, a blog and a website are about all that I can manage (given that my website still hasn't been updated after all this time, this shows you how well I can manage).

So, here I am, all a-Twitter! You can follow my tweets here, or via the RSS feed. And if you're on Twitter yourself, don't hesitate to follow me and/or give me a shout! Happy tweeting!

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