Friday, August 10, 2012

To Tweet or not to Tweet. That’s the question.

In this post I’d like to give an explanation of why I decided to start using Twitter and how it has worked out so far.

“Why on earth do you think you need to write a post explaining why you started using Twitter?”, you might ask.

I don’t like social networks

Well, people who now me, may have learned that I’m not a great fan of social media. I tried using several and most of them still don’t seem to add value for me.

Especially a network like Facebook appears like a serious waste of my, and others, time. I do have a Facebook profile, but I mostly use it to promote my blog posts.

The main reason I don’t like social networks is because I think most of us don’t have such an interesting live that you need to post updates about it every five minutes. Does anyone really care that I get up in the morning, go to work, when I drink coffee and when I go back home? Another question is, do I want others to know when I go to work and when I get home? To me it’s all a lot of noise and I don’t feel like spending time creating that noise for others to listen to.

Why Twitter might be different

So why go and use Twitter then? It seems like a lot of noise. Two things occurred to me. First of all, not a lot of people in my personal network actually use Twitter, so I don’t feel obligated to actually follow tweets by people that are close to me. The other thing is, and that applies to all Twitter users, Twitter is unique in the sense that it’s not automatically two way traffic. I can follow someone, but that doesn’t mean that someone will follow me.

This means that I can follow people who I think might have something interesting to say without me worrying about being intrusive and it also allows me to not follow a follower who I think is unlikely to tell me something interesting.

Besides the advantages of the platform I saw, I was looking for a platform to get some more interesting information about what others are doing in the field of software engineering.

I was also looking for a platform to promote this blog a bit better and a platform that allows me to post short updates appeared to me as a good way to do that and a challenge in the process. As some of you may know, I’m not blogging at a preset frequency. This does mean you may not hear anything from me for months. The reason for that can vary from being to busy to write something worth reading up to just not having a topic worth writing an entire post about (then again, maybe writing a post about why I joined Twitter might not qualify as a topic worth writing a post about Smile). With Twitter I can just write a one liner, share a link or a thought and it’s done.

Experience so far

So what has been my experience up to now? Well, I don’t have any real followers, so I don’t know about noise to others. I did tweet about ten times now of which two were retweets. I did find several Twitter accounts to follow that provided me with interesting Tweets. I got to some information I wouldn’t have got if I wasn’t on Twitter. I also stopped following some accounts as they provided me with to much noise. All in all that makes it meet my expectations.

This is another thing that struck me on Twitter. It seems more natural that people stop following other people. I had a follower and she stopped following me after about a day. I don’t know why and to be honest it doesn’t really matter. I see it more as a long running conversation. Once it stops being interesting for one of the parties involved, they leave the conversation. It makes sense to me.


So I have joined Twitter and up to now it has been a reasonable experience. I will continue to use Twitter for the upcoming months. If you think I might tweet something interesting, or if you want a tweeted update whenever I post something here, please join me on Twitter: @jvandeveen.

Feel free to share your experience with Twitter or other social media in the comments section below.

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