It’s time to stop using Twitter, even if you haven’t started. That’s what Mark McKinnon says, and he says it in Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast, so you know this wouldn’t just be someone hopping onto a meta-media bandwagon.
I’ve had contractors living with me for nearly two months, so I’m an expert on recognizing tools, even if I don’t always know how to use them.
That’s all Twitter is: a tool. If you’re not doing any framing, a framing nailer’s still a tool; it’s just not one you have much use for.
I’m still finding good ways to have Twitter work for me. I’m distractable, so leaving it open all the time isn’t the best idea.
Lately, though, I begin the day by opening Twitter, email, and my blog. The first two update themselves while I deal with any comment that’s poured in.
I scan the email to see if something needs early attention. Then I browse Twitter.
Probably because of my years in corporate life, Twitter feels like a walk down the hallway or through the cafeteria. You get quick updates from people you know, and you overhear snatches of things. (Clay Shirky says “they’re not talking to you,” but sometimes there’s stuff worth hearing.)
Today, for example, I picked up the following:
- A post on Andrew Lightheart’s blog (he focuses on presentation), with ways to invite questions.
- Alan Levine’s technical but detailed description of how to create RSS feeds at Cogdogblog.
- A tip from @shantarohse that I could back up my delicious bookmarks to Evernote (which I’ve downloaded but haven’t played with much).
What about my own part in this? I just scanned my last dozen or so tweets.
- Public comments to individuals (e.g., thanking Mark Moehlert because his tweet told me you can put audio into Evernote)
- Sharing a link (e.g., to Head First HTML)
- The occasional wisecrack
- An enjoyable, semi-asynch, three-way conversation about real-world potential for virtual worlds
Those are all individual-level meanings. Tools like Twitter have potential for group and organizational work, too. Will Twitter be here a year from now? Who knows? But I’m still going to need certain kinds of meaning, so I’ll keep browsing the tool aisle.