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To tweet or not to tweet

October 9, 2011

One week into the experimenting with Twitter, it ‘s time to sum up how things have been going on. The funny thing is that I had a Twitter account for a while, a year or so, and I was not really using it (well, I was using it more that I used the FaceBook account). I followed a few people, mostly not linked to education: a couple of newspapers and people that looked like good sources of general information. With the start of the masters, a few additions had to do with education, by direct effect. But my use was passive, just reading what was going on and picking up a few links that looked interesting.

The difference I see, now, is that the presence of a small community begs for participation. That means giving something back, not just taking it from the “stream”. That means also the enlargement of the net of people followed outside the group, as sources of other views and approaches.

The enlargement is a problem, as the stream of tweets to check is increased. But there are good things coming from it. As it has to be manageable, it has forced me to choose the followed, to judge if it is really worth to follow someone that tweets a lot and says very little. It is an utilitarian view, as the judgement is made as a function of my interests at the moment. But it shakes inertia, or tradition, keeping things as is instead of questioning them and deciding. That’s a bonus, definitely.

One of the advantages that I see now is that, in some way, we are all acting as information filters for each other. We have different sources (or at least, we should) and we filter, in fact, what strikes us. That’s something that I was not into before. I retweeted sparsely, caring too much about not adding extra noise to the stream. And, of course, I couldn’t see the mechanism of passing information along from small network to small network. So, I have some home work to do on the use of the available mechanisms of Twitter and their use, both in the general ideas behind them, and, something important, my own interpretation of them.

There are several roles one can take in Twitter. And that comes back to the question that is hanging now in our small space: What is Twitter, a SocialNetwork or a NewsMedia? That will wait for a next take on the subject.

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