Trying new things: those that make sense and those that don’t.

That subject line was the content of my first Twitter post, a month ago on January 2nd. Not exactly a resolution, just what it says — trying new things, alongside running and baking bread and trying out cooking Indian. (I’ve done the running, gearing up for the other two.)

I am well aware of my comments on Twitter in the past, however, I also don’t like dismissing things out of simply not getting it. I want to know damned well what I’m mocking! πŸ™‚

So anyway, I tried it again. (I created an account at the behest of someone else many moons ago, but it was short-lived.) And I have learned a few things. To wit:

  • Sherry and I, and, to a lesser degree, Andrew, have essentially been twittering for, oh… eight years or so. Names of the day, Belgish sayings, links of awesomeness — you name it. We just haven’t shoved these interactions into a character-limited web-based format.
  • I do understand now how it could be a valuable connecting and keeping in touch tool for friends and acquaintances. However, I also know it’s not a necessary tool for myself and my friends and acquaintances. We have email and IM and (rarely) the phone and whatnot, and that works just fine. Someone told me to “lead the charge” (in getting my friends on board), to which my response was, basically, “Why?” There really isn’t a compelling event. And that’s fine.
  • If I want to attempt to take advantage of the interpersonal connections opportunity, I have to make new connections. This is something that will be slow going for me, if I choose to try it.
  • I never bothered mentioning my use to Sherry or Andrew or WNET, et al, partially because I wasn’t planning to evangelize, partially because I didn’t think they’d particularly care, and I wanted the experiment to be “clean”. I.e. if I was someone else trying this, I wouldn’t have wanted someone like me — especially someone who didn’t even use it — commenting. (I realize that makes me something of a hypocrite for past commentary. So be it.)
  • I like receiving the news headlines that way, especially since they have links to the full stories if I choose to follow them.
  • I can see how Twitter can be really valuable to marketers and the like. That includes bloggers. Not just the interpersonal connections, but announcing new posts, using it as a musing outlet and notepad of sorts, getting feedback, doing informal polls, sharing links to other great content, etc. I think Hugh MacLeod has so far been my favourite to observe from that angle. (Within the rather limited set of people that I follow.)
  • Twitter can make you lazy. As beneficial as it can be from a communications and creative standpoint, it can also feel like “enough” to post a short thought or blurb there, when, in the past, you would have kept thinking about it and likely fleshed it out into a blog post. I have already experienced a bit of guilt from that, and have double-posted (Twitter and my blog) a few items that I wanted my friends to know about, too, since they don’t use Twitter.
  • Double-posting does feel lame.
  • Given that I can’t access my Gmail from work, but can indirectly access Twitter (shh!), it allows me to feel at least marginally connected to Life while in the office.
  • Twitter can make you observationally vain. You will judge thoughts’ Twitter-worthiness or find yourself trying to think of bon mots that would make good tweets. That’s fairly lame. Fortunately, it seems to go away after a couple of weeks.
  • I’m glad that I get it now.

So there you go. My experiences so far. Whether my involvement will develop and become more valuable to me, I’ve no idea. Same goes for whether I’ll get bored of its currently limited value and drift away from it (like the people who took both the “melle” and “sockmonkey” handles, posted one tweet, then never went back). πŸ™‚ As noted, though, I feel better having the understanding. And for understanding the medium’s limitations, too.

I thought about adding a widget to my blog sidebar to display my tweets, but for now I don’t feel like doing that. Not sure why. However, if you can to see what my mini brain farts look like, I’m right here.

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