July 29, 2014

Twitterpated No More

A while back I wrote a post about how I was playing around with Twitter.com. At the time (around the end of May), I was curious but non-committal. I had some very good experiences with it at a conference, and I was wondering if it would serve a useful purpose in my daily life also.

Well, the jury is in and the verdict is "no". Lately I’ve been on it very little, and have given "what are you doing?" updates only eight times in the entire month of August. Sure, there was a vacation in there too, but I didn’t miss it in the least. I even had a computer with me, and while I found the time to delete tons of spam email,  I couldn’t be bothered to provide a Twitter update (even when I had cool things to say like "visiting the Canadian Parliament" and "sightseeing in one of the oldest cities in North America").

When I came back from vacation I’d even go to Twitter.com, look at the updates of the people I was following, and still could not think of anything worth saying. Yes, Twitterites, I know that you’re not supposed to think about it, you’re just supposed to write about whatever you are doing at that moment. But even so, I had Twitter writer’s block (is Twitterblock a word?), if you can imagine such a thing. Nothing I could write seemed worthwhile to me.

And the interaction with others, although certainly interesting at times, was in the end not as fruitful for me as other types of interactions. For example, I find it very difficult to converse in Twitter. Compared to a chatroom it’s quite awkward. So since I hang out in a chatroom I get a lot of my social "fix" there, where it’s easy to follow along with what folks are saying, but also jump in and say something yourself when you want.

One place where I think Twitter stands out is at conferences. It’s great for keeping tabs on where your friends are and what they think of a particular program. Also, no more getting lost at the hotel while your peeps are socializing in real life out on the town. Twitter can keep you up to date like nothing else can. So I’ll likely pop back into Twitter mode when I’m at a conference.

But for now I must apologize to my faithful Twitter followers, all 127 of them. I’m just not updating much anymore. Rest assured, though, it wasn’t anything you said.

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Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.

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