I’ve been checking Twitter regularly for the last week. Honestly, not that much has happened. I did find a great blog post about libraries as software that I would highly recommend. Since not that much was happening, I talked to other people about Twitter and whether they used it and in what capacity. Nearly everyone I know has an account, but they don’t actually tweet. They just follow other people. Often it’s not even people that they follow but other organizations. I guess I’m just not following the right people, because my feed has mostly been a wash.
I definitely see how Twitter can be important for organizations, especially considering the number of people who seem to use their account only for following people. Having a Twitter feed is definitely a consideration for libraries, especially since it is so easy to set up and you can cross-post to Facebook.
Personally, Twitter has a number of features that annoy me. The 140 character limit means that links have to be shortened, and I dislike the uncertainty of where those links are pointing. They feel like advertisements instead of information. In addition the links are generally not accompanied by more than the title of the article or blog post. Rarely is any information provided about why the tweeter thinks the post is worth reading, so generally I don’t click. Knowing where a link is pointing or having a preview of the link helps me decide if it’s worth my time, especially when I don’t know the person who is tweeting. When I don’t have that information, I generally choose not to follow through, which limits its usefulness for my professional development.
Unlike some people in class, I really don’t care what people I don’t know are eating for lunch or where their cat is at that exact moment. In fact, even if you are my friend in real life I probably don’t care, but I am much more tolerant of this kind of thing when I feel that it connects me to people I know face-to-face. I am not a “personal life junkie.” (See related, “I don’t watch reality TV either.”) I also don’t like how retweets appear in my feed as the person who originally tweeted them, not the person who retweeted (who is someone that I follow). Once again, I only care what you tweet in so far as you are a person that I know and trust.
So people I don’t know are advertising links to me and not even telling me why they think the links are important. There is no particular thought happening on the feeds that I can see, although I understand how what happens there might spark thought. I’d just much rather read your blog than your tweets.
I’ll probably keep my feed to follow conferences if nothing else but it won’t be the bulk of my PLN. The relationship I have with my RSS reader, however, is deep and abiding. Blogs 4ever!