Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Twitter Experiment

About two and a half years ago I started to experiment with Twitter. I was doubtful. It seemed to be a place for people to broadcast all sorts of life minutia into the World Wide Web that, frankly, I had no interest in reading and couldn’t imagine people wanting to read from me. I was pretty cynical about it really.

However, I was advised that it could be a good place to promote things that I wanted people to be aware of and, even better, a place to meet people in my area of the real world. So I jumped in.

How has it turned out?

Well, Twitter does have its uses. It is the best place to find out about news and current events currently. It does make one aware of interesting and worthwhile information on any subject. However, it is far too cluttered. It is a sales pitch hell. Most people don’t have the time to do it right, and really if more people realized that it might be an even better place to go for what it provides.

Personally, it has not turned out to be that helpful. I am among the top 20 most followed people in my area of the “real world” yet I have yet to actually meet anyone in my city face-to-face as a result of it. And of the thousands of page hits I generate for my blog each month, less than 200 have been generated by twitter in 30 months.

Most mind boggling to me is the Twitter etiquette. I know that following and unfollowing people on Twitter is something done at the drop of a hat, and should not be a source of affront. However, I would assume that people one really knows—real relationships—carried over to Twitter are a different matter. Following people you really know does not clog things up too badly, and to unfollow someone you really know without notification or explanation seems to be bad form. Maybe not. I don’t know how that works.

I’m not dropping my account or doing anything drastic, but Twitter is not what I had hoped it would be. I will continue to check in, but rarely. Most of my Twitter activity is automated and will continue. I will not devote more time to it—unless a helicopter strike happens to occur in my neighborhood anytime soon.

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