Thursday, April 30, 2009

If I tweet does that mean I'm a twit?

In my other life I am called upon to teach Twitter to unbelievers. I am constantly asked "what is the point? I just don't get why anyone would be interested?" I struggle to answer this with anything nearly as succinct as the questions. My eyes roll towards the heavens, hoping to catch a glimpse of a good idea somewhere up there in my frontal lobe. My words begin before my brain is ready and the consequence is I look like Ray Charles and I sound like Ronnie Barker as Arkwright in Open All Hours. It's not pretty (especially as I'm a white female!) I'm thinking I'll just show you why I am liking it so much. Mind you, it took me 6 months before I stopped asking myself those same questions!

Firstly, I use Tweetdeck to view the tweets from my peeps, or more correctly, my tweeple. (No, I don't know why we need all these new terms.)
This is a screenshot of my Tweetdeck which I have organised into columns for my various interests. This is a much faster and more effective way of viewing a lot of tweets than looking at the standard Twitter screen which is just one long list in reverse chronological order. I find that with Tweetdeck I can quickly scan 25 tweets and easily pick something that truly interests me, or scroll on until I do.

I can hear the sceptic in you saying "truly interests me!!!???" right now. OK, here is a smattering of stuff I've learned, laughed at and been happy to find via my Twitter friends.
22 interesting ways to use Twitter in the classroom via mashable
Slideshow of Turner Prize shortlist via ArtNet
Items for sale on Etsy tagged with Swine Flu via Etsy
Vindication for my innability to come up with a pat answer to the twitter question via notebookco
Boo is a good thing via Stephen Fry
In the US there are as many people earning a living as bloggers as there are lawyers via decor8
I wish I was going to Melbourne and the NGV via ngv
Up to the minute info on Australian artisan-made goodies and bargins via AusEtsyTeamDUST
My local paper tweets
There is only one town in NSW without a Twitter user - Gilgandra via OurPatch
Lots of gorgeous sketchbook drawings via Michael Nobbs

Ok, yes, much of what is on Twitter is innane, some is interesting, a few things are fascinating and occasionally they are big impact items. I think it is worth it. I feel more connected to my global art community, my Etsy friends, my Australian friends who I don't live near, and in a strange way, even my local community. It is not a high level feeling of connectedness. It is an everyday kind of connectedness, the kind we used to have with others before our lives and theirs became too time poor, too important, too busy. I frequently use the analogy of the school playground when describing what it's like to be on Twitter. In the playground there were 600 other kids and yet you knew what everyone was doing without talking to each one directly, someone would tell you something, you would over hear something else, you would bump into someone you didn't usually talk to, some how you just knew about everyone with no effort and little time input. For me Twitter is like that.

Follow me on Twitter! I'd like to follow you!


chunkychooky (Cath) said...

I just don't get Twitter at all I really don't think I can be convinced - although your arguments were very good! But to me ... it just seems a little bit to narcisstic??? Is that harsh?? I juts don't get it. I want to ...but I can't!!!

carina said...

i think i am enlightened ?????????????
but i am not.....quite.....sure......?
thanks :)

Jan Allsopp said...

Hmmm, thanks carina and Cath, I see I need to work on this a bit more!!! Narcissistic? Yes and no. Yes because it is possible to tweet every little piece of yourself, but no because it involves the narcissist looking at lots of other people for the privilege which, of course, narcissists almost never will do. Also, from my experience, people do try to be interesting or informative or sharing or funny or... Of course there will always be twits who go and give twitter a bad name....

chunkychooky (Cath) said...

true! i guess I just bthought of it as me telling everyeon everythign I do all day... how boring for them...

Jan Allsopp said...

Cath I SURE you could never be boring!!!