Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Tweet Therefore I Am

Apologies to Descartes for the title of this post but I was chastised by a colleague for not Tweeting the other day despite having set up an account last June. My trouble with Twitter is that I have been unable to see the benefit of it. It strikes me as narcissistic (an interesting post on the Guido Fawkes political blog on the subject made reference to a Times article, which underlined my feelings). I explained this to my critic and suggested that he might be better off doing his job than having a pop at me for my lack of tweets. His response was that Tweeting is very narcissistic (implying that there might be little wrong with narcissism) but a lot of companies, celebrities and politicians found it a marvellous tool.

But Narcissus starved to death while looking at his own reflection...

Can Twitter be a tool which enhances productivity as opposed to a distraction which destroys it? I'm not sure.

By restricting tweets to 140 characters or less, Twitter encourages brevity, and probably clarity. It also appears to generate fast and constructive discussions in communities that form around certain threads. So I feel that it should be a great learning tool I just can't see it yet.

There can only be one way to find out and that is to try it. So we have set up a Reed Learning Twitter Account and I have set up a personal one. From the Reed Learning one we will try to produce learning tweets on how to improve aspects of your life at work. From my own account I will try and distill some of the things that we are thinking about.


Jane Hart said...

Hugh - good to hear you're going to give Tweeting a real go! I'm going to be following you to see how you get on! Jane

Harold Jarche said...

It took me a long time to understand Twitter. Follow ~ 20-30 people that you know or are in fields that interest you. You'll find some by seeing who others refer to. At about 30 you'll start seeing some patterns. Surf the flow for a while and you'll begin to see the value for your own learning.

Sean Whetstone said...

Hugh, Glad you have decided to persevere with twitter rather than cast it off as another social networking fad. It is interesting that twitter has recently over taken google news as the preferred method users get news updates in handy 140 character bite sized chunks. Google have recently joined the tweeting set with their own twitter account. An interesting article on the potential tug of war between Google CEO Eric Schmidt and twitter can be found here.