Saturday, July 11, 2009

My (Short So Far) Experience with Twitter

As a computer professional I try to keep myself curious about new technology, even technology that I don't at first appreciate or understand. A perfect case in point is Twitter. I read about how microblogging was changing media paradigms and how everyone was integrating Twitter into their communications arsenal, from journalists to celebrities to special-interest websites.

To an extent, I understood the advantages of broadcasting short pieces of information; for example I think it's great fun to see what your friends are doing on Facebook. But I never quite got why there was so much hype, nor was I convinced that Twitter was much more than a fad. It seemed to be a lazy way to exacerbate our society's already epidemic attention deficit disorder, as well as an unnecessary tool for further increasing the noise-to-information ratio on the Internet.

But like a good curiousity seeker, I decided to bite the bullet and give Twitter a try. I signed up for an account a few weeks ago and have been tweeting pretty moderately since. Not on my phone - that would drive me crazy - but just in quiet moments in front of the computer. I found that Twitter is a great medium for broadcasting rhetorical questions and observations, as well as posting interesting links and special interest news, that you might never feel was appropriate for an entire blog post or for sharing with all your friends and family on Facebook. It's kind of a low-barrier outlet in which to throw your musings and stream of consciousness thoughts.

Most people who don't like Twitter, including myself just months ago, argue that they have no interest in reading inanities, such as what someone "had for breakfast" this morning. I think that may be a misconception - what I have found is that good Twitterers don't usually post mundane breakfast menus (although I am not proud that I once tweeted on flossing my teeth, which promptly led to my wife dropping me from her follow list). When you tweet, you tend to post your thoughts on things of interest to you - and presumably to your followers.

To that end I decided to start focusing more on The Remonstrance in my tweets, which you are welcome to follow, though I will continue to post whatever of my interests (music, computer programming, politics, sports) comes into my head. It may be that I will eventually lose interest and decide that Twitter is not for me. Or maybe something better will come along and leave Twitter in that same shadowy and moribund realm shared by MySpace and (shudder) Friendster. But for now I like that I found something positive about a technology that I used to think epitomized frivolous technological douchebaggery. Remember: cynism is fun, but an open mind will ultimately make you much happier and wiser.

UPDATE 8/16/2009: I have since created a separate feed for The Remonstrance, to allow for a tighter focus on things related to the comic. You can follow it at

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