Chuck's Q Blog

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Just another ICM blog

Long time, no Twitter

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I knew it had been a long time between “tweets” for me, but I didn’t realize it had been more than a year. When I logged into my Twitter account (http://twitter.com/chucknelson) the other day to complete our #501dc assignment, I found that the last time I’d entered anything was May 21, 2008, when I’d noted I using Handbrake to rip a movie. Not a momentous event, but I do remember it, now that I see the note.

Looking down the screen, I saw entries for a couple of concerts, entries talking about which video games I was playing and a few assorted other notes. But the trip down memory lane ended on the second screen where I found the first tweet on March 24. Apparently, it took me just short of two months to tire of my own tweets, probably because I didn’t think I was saying that much. I know I’m supposed to be answering the question “What are you doing?” but I’m usually trying to answer the question “What’s on your mind?”

As I recall, I initially signed up for Twitter to experiment and see if I could find a way to use it for the newspaper. I was able to do that, though our account (http://twitter.com/DispatchAlerts) runs on automatic pilot via twitterfeed. It gets the job done without requiring much human intervention. The account, which is linked off our homepage, continues to gain followers and, more importantly, continues to generate clicks for stories on our site. Even so, I have to agree with one of our summer interns who tagged it as being lame because there wasn’t much interaction. “It’s just an RSS feed,” he told another intern, not realizing the guy who set it up was within earshot. While they seemed to appreciate that we had an account, their interest disappeared when they found out it there was little activity. They’re right; we aren’t very dedicated to it, but it was really approached as another way to distribute stories, not interact with the public.

Around the same time I started to use Twitter, I also signed up for Facebook. This was also another experiment in a platform other media outlets were beginning to use. Given my lack of tweets, Facebook has clearly won my attention, probably because when I update my FB status, I frequently get feedback. Not to mention, there’s a lot more to do on Facebook (no Mafia Wars or Yoville requests, please).

That said, Twitter probably deserves another shot. If I could just figure out how to switch accounts in Tweetdeck, I might be more interested.

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4 Responses

  1. Pat Daddona says:

    Twitter has been hard for me to get used to, too. Maybe because the trail of thoughts it leaves are disjointed, coming at different points in time. I hope to experiment more with it.

  2. Chuck says:

    Yeah, I had the same problem at first. When people would respond to other people, it would throw me because it was like getting just the punchline to a joke. I guess I’ve learned to let those tweets go by, but they really bugged me in the beginning because it felt like I was missing something.

  3. Alex H. says:

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with just using twitter to feed. I think the major issue is that it can come off as tone deaf. QU has been doing some tweeting and I was mean enough to publicly make fun of them (not knowing exactly who in QU online was doing it).

    A feed alone just treats Twitter as another distribution platform–as RSS. Nothing inherently wrong with that, it just misses the fact that it should be a conversation. That is the important (and scary) piece of Twitter. Most universities are just feeding their news through their Twitter account, and then wondering why they are doing it :) . A few have really engaged, and are using it to its potential.

  4. e-mickann says:

    I agree Twitter is just not easy. We also use it at work on sort of auto pilot without much interaction. I just think Twitter is the self centered social platform. It is constant chatter about what “you” are doing. I think with Facebook there is more interaction between people. Like you said you can get feedback from others and are not as limited. I like being able to leave comments and talk back and forth like the way you are able to on Facebook.