I received the following comment to my last post about #lrnchat. I’ve decided to display it here, rather than with the other comments on that post.
Personally I think that #lrnchat, in twitter, is more akin to spam. I don’t follow #lrnchat and my twitter stream is spammed.
I get twitter – but using twitter for chatting – no. There are chat rooms, chat programs, and established methods of having real time chat that people have been using for a long time (IRC anyone?)
#lrnchat to me seems like using what’s new and shiny for something that it just doesn’t do well and annoys people NOT part of the conversation.
I’m doubtful Dr. Pepper is the commenter’s real name, and the email address provided is of limited value in learning otherwise. Dr. Pepper nevertheless remains covered by my blog’s guarantee of satisfaction.)
I don’t agree with the implication that an extended conversation on Twitter is ipso facto spam, any more than Twitter’s trending topics are. “Unwanted” doesn’t equate to “spam.”
Clay Shirky makes a related point in Here Comes Everybody: people over, say, 40 are in general unaccustomed to publicly-available messages not being addressed to them. You now hear all kinds of conversations, but for the most part, as Shirky says, “they’re not talking to you.”
I agree there are many ways to have virtual conversations. $100 against an 8-track tape, however, says that the average age of an IRC user in the U.S. is closer to my dad’s than to my daughter’s. IRC has its virtues and its charms, but in terms of its audience appeal, it’s ham radio with a keyboard.
The notion of “established” methods being preferable — which is what I think is being argued — is peculiar; it appears on a blog powered by WordPress (not yet seven years old). More important, the notion ignores ample evidence that dozens of people–many of them technologically sophisticated–choose to chat via Twitter.
In other words, they’ve made their preference known.
As for annoyance, I’m sure Dr. Pepper is annoyed. (Maybe even at me, since I willingly participate in #lrnchat and will likely strike again.) What could trigger the annoyance?
- You follow #lrnchat, so you see #lrnchat.
- You follow people using #lrnchat, so their #lrnchat tweets show up.
- Someone you follow retweeted #lrnchat.
I see those in descending order of annoy-itude.
- If you follow #lrnchat and don’t like it, then you get several hundred action potentials a week (mainly on Thursday nights).
- If you follow #lrnchatters, well, that’s a thing they tweet about.
- If you only see #lrnchat in retweets, then the yoke is hardly bitter and the burden hardly harsh.
I can’t do anything about any of that for you, though you ought to be able to see possibilities to diminish the impact of the first two.
Well, if I knew who you were, I could block you, and *I* at least would disappear from your Twitter screen. You could block me with the same result. But that’s just me.
Many Twitter clients like Tweetdeck include features to filter for or filter out by individual, by topic, or by string. That last could include a hashtag.
Otherwise, #lrnchat and Twitter conversations in general are like the tongue-in-cheek “endorsement” in a newspaper ad for 19th century humorist Artemus Ward:
I have never heard any of your lectures, but from what I can learn I should say that for people who like the kind of lectures you deliver, they are just the kind of lectures such people like.
Jam on biscuits, jam on toast,
Jam is the thing that I like the most.
Jam is sticky, jam is sweet,
Jam is tasty, jam’s a treat–
Raspberry, strawberry, gooseberry, I’m very
FOND… OF… JAM!