Twitter and Me

This is a bit of a follow-up to my post about FriendFeed. I registered for Twitter at the same time as FriendFeed, and while I immediately saw the value of FF for a long time I only saw Twitter as a tool to broadcast work-related ideas and thoughts to FriendFeed. I saw it as having little utility in it’s own right.

My follower/following count slowly increased, driven by FF, I tended to reciprocally follow people, and the few people who were following me found me there. Then, early this year, David Bradley posted his list of 100+ Scientwists, and I thought: ‘hey, I’m a scientist, and on Twitter… maybe I should be on that list”. So I got included, and then got a sudden upsurge in followers.

Twitter Counter

Not all these followers were on FF anymore, so I couldn’t follow my Twitter traffic on FF (without creating a whole bunch of imaginary friends, which I didn’t want to do). So I had to start following Twitter properly.

This has led to a more interesting conversation developing. I post more @replies, and am receiving a few more in return (though often from the desk next to me in the office), and though I don’t have any specific examples like I did for FF, I feel I am gaining more value from Twitter as a tool in its own right.

I have tried a number of apps to monitor Twitter traffic, but none of them quite fit into my workflow properly (though TweetDeck comes closest, and is much better than Twhirl). However, I got a 3G iPhone yesterday, the Twitterific App seems great, and in the future I suspect most of my Tweeting will be done on that platform.

Finally, there has been a lot written about Twitter in the last couple of weeks, and in particular about the number of ‘celebrities’ tweeting, both real and fake. For my part, I do follow a few, and get most value from @stephenfry (bonus linky), who really seems to ‘get it’ (as he does most things, though how he keeps track following over 30k people, I’ll never know), and @dave_gorman (bonus linky), who, like me, is just learning the value of the platform. But the real value of Twitter is again, like FF, in the quality of the science conversation on there, and how it makes me feel connected to a worldwide community of like-minded people.

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