Let’s get one thing clear right away, I am no fan of Twitter. It has a lot of usefulness, yes, but I don’t think the garbage on it is worth the usefulness in a net benefit kind of way. However, I recently saw two uses for it related to my work which I decided to capitalize upon, without engaging in the rest. I consider it anti-social media, if you will… using social media in a public, but non-engaging way.
So what am I using Twitter for then?
One is to keep up to date with what some entities and personalities relevant to my work deem worthy of talking about publicly. I could get that information at basically at the same time they shared it, with the timeliness being critical in some cases, and without other means to get it easily. There are news aggregators that could do the same thing, but not without other clutter like on Feedly, so that was one reason why I went with Twitter. I could also get my choice of gentle notification from selection tweeters only, for my preferred prioritization.
The second purpose was to “collect” some online content about innovation that I need to monitor for some of my work, and as a general interest in life outside of work. Like a public archive, I could tweet articles of interest to me from a variety of sources, with a short note limited by a tweet length, to isolate them on a short list from the rest of the infinite newsfeed I’d have to dig through to find. My tweets would ultimately be for me, but might be of valuable to people interested in innovation and learning every now and then. They are also a collection of items from which I will draw for some weekly work content. I’d also be able to do this easily and have public access to it so I am not limited to access like logging in through a device, or one I might not trust as being secure. As part of creating this archive and focusing it, though, I cleared out some 400 tweets I mostly had from almost a decade ago (Dec 31 2008), when I first tried out Twitter as I tend to try out various software for a limited time to know and understand new experiences. For anyone interested in doing this, I used Twitwipe via advice from this WikiHow page.
Aside from that, with my Digitalcitizen Twitter account, I will generally minimize:
- Time reading. I am not trying to read most of the content, just the occasional article of interest to me.
- Engaging in social media dialogue. I’m not going to be completely anti-social, but I’ll probably only respond shortly to questions or provide gratitude for compliments.
- Following anyone I know personally in life because this is about work and content useful to me at work, nothing more. I’ve got Facebook and other media for the personal stuff.
I think this is generally a good plan, but only time will tell. I won’t be hesitant to change if it doesn’t work out, but for now, I’ll give Twitter another chance… with a very nice and clean handle consistent with my online “brand”, which I had registered in the relatively early days of Twitter. 🙂