Twitter is a service that’s getting a fair bit of traction in Brum right now. Like most of these things it’s as useful as you find it to be so don’t feel you’re “doing it wrong” if you don’t get it, but I’m finding it rather invaluable so you might too.
It’s a combination of things really. The format is limited to 140 characters so it meshes well with SMS texting meaning you can use it from your phone but it also works on the website and via instant messaging along with a bunch of 3rd party applications (I like Twhirl myself). At it’s core it works along the same lines as Facebook status updates and you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s not much difference, but the magic comes from the way it manages conversations and the fine tuning you can do.
Above all it’s an example of what I’m calling an “ambient stream”. Nothing on Twitter is actually that important, unless it is. You can just check in every so often and get a feel of what your community/ies are up to. If there’s anything of relevance that’s great but if not then it’s no great loss. You can spend hours communicating with people or just ignore the service for a day – it doesn’t matter.
I find it useful for random meetups. If someone “tweets” (as it’s known) that they’re in a certain cafe or pub then I might pop in if I’m in the area. Or I might not. Or if I’m looking for help or advice with something I can send out a quick message and see if anyone’s free with no obligation.
(Oh, here’s a handy video which might help. Or not.)
Anyway, if you think it might be useful have a play and see what you think. But be aware it took me a good year to get my head around what I might use it for so it might not hit you at first.
So here’s a list of some of the Birmingham-types who are on Twitter that Created in Birmingham readers might want to follow. You might also want to scan through the list of people I’m following if it takes your fancy. I’ve tried to keep this list more arts/design than tech but there are, of course, overlaps.
In no particular order
John @ 383
Joanna Geary has two accounts
Craig of Friends of the Stars
and Pete Ashton.
I should probably stop there. The a good strategy would be to find some people you already know or are connected to and look at who they’re following. And if you fancy some really unfocused ambient Twitter-noise you could subscribe to this feed of Birmingham Twitterers.
Yes, it’s all kinda pointless. That’s kinda the point.
Okay, here’s a good case study. Immediately after writing this I’m thinking what I might do before going home today. A tweet from Kerry pops up on my computer that she’s “going to ikon to private view for ruth claxton exhibition”. Hmm. That sounds interesting. Didn’t know about that. I may well pop up there.