After 10 days on Twitter I have 31 followers, am following 19, and have posted 74 updates. As one of his 100 conversations, Tony Karrer is interested to know how I use twitter for personal learning. I’m not sure I’m to the point where I’m doing any real learning through twitter yet, but here are some preliminary thoughts on my brief experience with twitter so far.
Most of the people I am following are people I already know and had only occasional contact with. By using twitter, I am able to keep in “contact” with them even if I don’t respond to every update they make. Just knowing what is going on with them is often enough. I expect that this goes both ways, as I will get almost instant responses from these folks to some of my tweets (there, I said it) and nothing from others. It is especially nice to be able to link my twitter updates to my Facebook status; I hardly ever updated my Facebook status because I’m not in Facebook very often.
I was a bit less successful in using twitter as a way to engage in an ongoing conversation, specifically Autism Twitter Day. A bit ironic considering that event is what prompted me to join twitter in the first place. I’ve never been one for online chat sessions among a bunch of people I don’t know, and that is essentially what that event was, or what it seemed like to me. Not quite as synchronous as an actual chat, but then again not as asynchronous as an e-mail listserv (on which I typically lurk, with very little participation). Perhaps twitter is one of the social media tools that Dave Snowden sees replacing tools like listserves, but not for me. (Not yet anyway.)
I’ve also been playing around with exactly how to use twitter. I’ve used the web interface, and have twhirl running as a client, but I know there are many other options and possibilities. Not sure where that will end up.
Perhaps the best thing about twitter, in my mind anyway, is the 140 character limit. It forces me to keep things short, sweet and to the point. (You may have noticed on this blog that I tend to have recurring bouts of what my HS English teacher would likely call diarrhea of the keyboard.)
In his post What is Twitter, Shawn over at Anecdote has a very good description of how I’ve been using twitter in these first few days (not that he wrote the description specifically about my use of twitter):
It’s a mistake to think Twitter is only for reporting the minute detail of one’s life, which by the way is an important activity because it helps up create stronger social bonds. Twitter is also effective for asking questions and getting answers, sharing useful links on the web and getting those frustrations out when things are driving you nuts.
For now I think I’ll just keep on using twitter in this way, and see where it takes me.