A response to danah’s Twitter curiosity.
First, the practical question. Can i quote you?
[x] Yes, and you *must* use my real name.
1. Why do you use Twitter? What do you like/dislike about it?
I use Twitter extremely infrequently to jot down my thoughts and occasionally describe what I’m doing or about to be doing. I like the immediacy of being able to send texts that are then archived elsewhere.
2. Who do you think is reading your Tweets? Is this the audience you want? Why/why not? Tell me anything you think of relating to the audience for your Tweets.
About 14 friends and 4 randoms. The audience I want is vast, terribly interesting and extremely global, but they just don’t seem to want to read my tweets. Why? Probably because the volume and subject matter of the Tweets I produce is insignificant to derive any real value from unless you’re a closeish friend. Or more realistically, not even if you’re close friend. Related to my audience – I’m uncertain why some of my “audience” (SusanBratton, Paul Terry Walhus) subscribed.
3. How do you read others’ Tweets? Do you read all of them? Who do you read/not read and why? Do you know them all?
I used to read others’ Tweets back in the glory days when Twitter was populated by 2000 geeks and a pet pooch. I definitely do not read them all and part of the reason for that is sheer signal to noise ratio. There are some people I follow that publish far too much for me to ever keep up with them on a regular basis.
4. What content do you think is appropriate for a Tweet? What is inappropriate? Have you ever found yourself wanting to Tweet and then deciding against it? Why?
What is considered Tweet-safe content varies tremendously from person to person. In my own experience, friends that keep their tweets private publish the most risque / inappropriate Tweets. I find most things are safe for broadcasting, but I draw the line at bodily functions, regular food updates and questions about coffee. I’ve found myself wanting to Tweet a few times, composed the message, then left it unsent in my drafts folder. Once or twice I’ve composed a Tweet, thrown it into the drafts folder and then published it a day or two later. What that says about my issues with immediacy and self-censorship… I’m not quite sure yet.
5. Are your Tweets public? Why/why not? How do you feel about people you don’t know coming across them? What about people you do know?
My Tweets are public. I find that since I use it more as an immediate blogging tool rather than an unmoderated stream of consciousness log, I have no problem with people I don’t know coming across it. Since I’ve been publishing Tweets and blog posts with approximately the same frequency and subject matter, I don’t feel like this is a problem personally. I would worry about this more if I was looking for a job and my Tweets contained more personal subject matter, but honestly, it’s the same issues I would have to deal with if I started publishing more personal blog posts.
6. What do i need to know about why Twitter is/is not working for you or your friends?
Twitter is vaguely working for my friends. The dynamics seem to be like that of a group mailing list – a handful of people account for most of the traffic with vastly lower frequency from everyone else. It’s definitely improved a hell of a lot in the last few months, and by improved, I mean I had to switch to Twitterific-only mode because my phone was getting too many txts.