Twitter Observations

I feel like this is a Saturday afternoon confession before the vigil mass at my local church. My name is Francis and I am now on Twitter. My handle is @FranDiClem.

I signed up recently because I work in the communications/media industry and I need to keep up to date with new technology and communication methods. Being that I’m well into my fourth decade of existence, I guess I’m a little concerned about becoming a professional dinosaur. So I want to learn as much as I can about practices that apply to my fields of endeavor.

I am still learning the lexicon of Twitter and the process for tweeting and retweeting. I understand the concept of hashtags but I haven’t started one yet.

RT, DM, @, # . . . are these 21st century hieroglyphics?

As a general observation of Twitter, I must admit that when I log into my account I feel like I am bombarded with the digital equivalent of thousands of Kerouac-esque, stream-of-consciousness manuscripts—all being sent to me at the same time. The sheer quantity of news items is overwhelming as the buckshot of information continues to fly across the computer screen.

And I wonder if I am better served by spending 20 minutes reading one long-form story from the New York TimesThe New YorkerThe Atlantic, etc. or reading snippets of articles from ten different sources. Does Twitter really make us more informed?

For me it seems I can get a better grasp of what’s going on in the world, quickly, in a few keystrokes, by going to the landing page for Google or Yahoo! News.

I realize the social element of Twitter attracts people, and I am exploring this benefit of the site. I have enjoyed making connections with people I have never met as well as reestablishing ties with former colleagues who still work in the news business.

I guess the key to Twitter is just having fun with it, not taking it too seriously and just using it to stay informed and engaged. I also recognize that it offers great potential as a distribution outlet for those who create content.

So I will be keeping an open mind as I observe how other people—namely the experts or thought leaders in the Twitter space—write incisive messages, make connections and generate followers.

But I wouldn’t suggest following me anytime soon. I still need to pass the intro. course.


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