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The Thing About Twitter

Pursuant to my post from the other day, there’s an important difference between Twitter and blogging that isn’t immediately apparent until you’ve been at it a little bit. Blogs are like lectures with q&a afterwards … you tack up a message and it may or may not generate discussion.

Twitter, on the other hand, is like a cocktail party, where you get to choose who the other attendees are (and you get to invite as many celebrities as you want). Twitter is something you jump into, swim around in while you’re there, and jump back out again.

This is why the utilities that dump out your day’s worth of tweets to your journal fall flat on their face — there’s no context. It’s like listening to half of a phone conversation, and if you’ve ever been subjected to that, you know just how much fun it really is. (I grew up with it, and believe me, it’s slightly less fun than trying to sleep with a chirping cricket in the room.)

It’s also why, although I’m a pretty prolific twit, I don’t do the “Here are my collected tweets!” posts. I do have a small feed on my homepage as a teaser, and also to let people know my feed is there if they’re interested. But I don’t expect people to actually want to read through all of my previous tweets any more than I’d expect people to want to listen to MP3s of random sentences I say to people around me all day. Twitter’s a conversational medium, not a literary one.

-The Gneech

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Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 16th, 2010 12:24 pm (UTC)
This is why the utilities that dump out your day’s worth of tweets to your journal fall flat on their face — there’s no context.

This is especially true with tweets that start with @somebody.

11:55 @Somebody_you_do_not_know LOL!!

I've got a couple of people on my friends list who have posted nothing but tweet dumps for the past few months. I am always reluctant to trim friends from my journal, but it is pretty obvious at this point that they have abandoned LJ. Their posts do nothing but clutter my friends page, pushing legitimate posts off the main page before I can read them.

Then again, at this point I doubt they'd notice if I pruned them from my friends list anyway.
Apr. 16th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
yeah, that's pretty much nail on the head. With LJ, you get the whole conversation. With twitterdump, it's something like 90% out of context inanity, which pokes some deep part of the human brain that wants to be included. One of two things generally happens: There's either an urge to dive into more and more twitterfeeds so one will always get the joke, the reference, the other side of the story, and be included... or to say "f this, it's not worth my time, and if it's important, i'll hear about it elsewhere."

I think we're solidly in the latter.
Apr. 16th, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC)
I am one of those that auot dumps my tweets during the day over th my LJ. But I also place the tweets behind a cut tag so those that don't care to read them don't have to. I will say this, while I can make Lj posts from the cell phone, I have a Palm Pre, so I can use a LJ client or the web page, both suck very much. The twitter client I have for the phone is much better and much easier to use. Most if all of my tweets most days are things I would normally save up during the day and post in my LJ anyway. once I got home. So in my case, the dump of my tweets basically look like what one of my LJ posts would look like anyway. and I am still making more meaningful long form posts as time permits.
Apr. 17th, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)
Hear here! This is why I don't get a twitter account.

Apr. 17th, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
Nicely summarized, sir!
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:03 am (UTC)
I run a self-hosted Wordpress blog and have a plugin that pulls in my non-reply twitters weekly.

These consist of poignant(!) thoughts I had, links I found interesting, or other tweets I found interesting enough to RT to my followers. These show up on Saturday on my blog. Mostly I do that because Twitter's search is pitiful.. and I usually want to be able to find a link 2-3 months later when I need to refer to it again.

Because I'm not including replies it misses some of the more interesting twitter conversations.. but as a whole twitter conversations are fragmentary. By leaving out the replies I think the "archive of tweets" does stand on its own and is interesting.

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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