Tuesday, February 3, 2009

To “Tweet” Or Not To “Tweet”, That Is The Question

With my apologies to William Shakespeare, I have to ask that question.

It seems like you can’t turn on a newscast or pick up a newspaper without someone telling you that Twitter – and Twitter messages called “tweets” - are all the rage. In fact, I almost feel like Twitter is being forced on people by the news media. (If you don’t know what Twitter is, you have probably been living under a rock or are over the age of 70. In that case, here’s a quick explanation from the Wall Street Journal.)

For me, it isn’t the rage. In fact, even though I know a lot of people of varying ages, no one is even remotely interested in Twitter. And I include the under 30 crowd here, because frankly even they seem to be too busy trying to work rather than to Twitter.

It’s a simple case of time, and information overload. I thought briefly about it. And I passed on it for now. Why? It’s hard work keeping up with the 7 blogs I already have, and I don’t think I have the time to keep up a Twitter account for each one. It seems to me that Twitter is more of a marketing tool that companies are now using to drive people to their web sites. They say it’s a quick way to get news, but for me there already is a quick way to get news – on the Internet with sites like CNN.com which is a staple for me when I want to get up to date news. In fact, the CNN home page gives about the best, quickest snapshot for me of all the important news going on right at the moment.

And as far as having friends or family who would happen to have Twitter so they can keep everyone up on what they are doing whenever they feel it’s important to tell me, sorry, but I am just not that into you.

As I use Blogger for all my blogs, and it has the ability for me to put a section on each blog showing the headlines from my other blogs, I think that anyone visiting my blogs on a regular basis can see what I’ve got going on the other blogs, and they can check those things out if they are interested. That’s about the extent of “forcing” information on my readers that I’d like to take.

Part of my issue with Twitter may also be a little silly – I can’t help associate the name with the word “twit” and Monty Python’s “Upper Class Twit” sketch (below) from year past. Now, I’m not saying that people that use Twitter are twits, but I have to admit that I thought exactly that when I first heard about it.

And while I am on the subject, I also don’t have time for a gazillion Facebook accounts or having a gazillion Facebook friends. I do have a personal Facebook account, and I only set it up in order for family or very close friends to use. Interestingly enough, most don’t use Facebook, either. But I have also gotten invitations to join MySpace and some other social networking site whose name I can’t recall. I just don’t have time for all of it, really. I also don’t think what I am doing on a regular basis is all that compelling that I need to broadcast it to the world. And, after working for nearly 30 years in a career where a phone was almost attached to my head all day, I’m not interested in leaving my cell phone on so everyone can call me. There is something to be said for tuning out a little bit and just shutting out the rest of the world for a while.

So right now, for me, Twitter seems a little too much like work. I could be wrong. But if Twitter really is the hot thing they say it is, then someone will come along with a better concept built upon a similar theme, hopefully one that will be easier or involve less effort than Twitter. I would love it if Blogger would develop a service like Twitter that would just send the headlines of my blogs to followers who want to keep up with the latest news on my blogs. I just can’t help thinking there has to be a more efficient way of getting information out to people than my having to create another account so I can post shorter messages of what is already on my blog. I love technology and I love staying on top of information, but even I have limits. And Twitter may be that limit for me. To to answer my own question “To tweet or not to tweet”, my answer right now is no.

UPDATE March 15, 2009 - I succumbed to pressure from some of the readers of my blogs. You can now find me on Twitter - the link is on this page. I am now an official "twit."

Monty Python’s Upper Class Twits

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1 comment:

samfan said...

Well I have a twitter account, but I am a web designer, and photographer, so I use it for business. You are right it is a pain to update it a bunch everyday, I only update mine once or twice. I think you do enough with 6 blogs! And really if you wanted to keep it touch with your loyal readers you could get their emails for a newsletter or something. But I think you do enough.