I signed up for a twitter account last year, and so far have tweeted about 471 times. After taking some time to make up my mind and find my twitter voice, I will explain why I like twitter.
- Most of the time, I don’t have much to say. 140 characters is about right.
- Most of the time, I don’t want to read more than 140 characters.
- I follow a much more diverse group of people on twitter than I do on the blogosphere. As a result, I read a more diverse set of news articles than I used to.
- A diverse group of people follows my tweets. This is a great opportunity to evangelize about OR.
- I digress from OR more with twitter. Twitter is more casual, so I have fewer posting inhibitions.
- There are fewer commitments/obligations with twitter (as there is with email or blogging). Tweeting does not take up much of my time. When I get very busy, I stop tweeting and no one complains.
- Twitter now allows users to make lists. As a result, there are a number of good OR lists, which makes following OR news much easier.
- On two occasions, I asked about specific software questions (for Windows versions of “grep” and “diff”) and received excellent responses within minutes. Twitter is handy for things that would take awhile to investigate with google.
I like twitter, but I’m not in love with twitter. There are a few downsides.
- twitter.com is not ideal for following twitter feeds, although you can download better alternatives.
- I have an ancient cell phone and can’t update my twitter status via texting (I have a pay-as-you-go plan that I am loathe to give up for a monthly commitment), so I haven’t had the true twitter experience.
- The trending topics are rarely interesting, unless you’re interested in keeping up with the most recent Kanye West death hoax. Once, Alan Turing was a trending topic, which was cool.
- I read fewer blog posts now that I follow twitter.
- I have yet to see conferences effectively use twitter. It’s hard to attend talks and network while twittering, particularly with an ancient cell phone.
What are the pros and cons of twitter?