We talked a bit at work tonight about Twitter. It have a release to push out in an hour, so I’m basically killing time. (Waking up after a 90 minute nap is murder.) So be warned that this post may be a bit rambling. This post is really just a collection of disparate thoughts relating to Twitter.
Immediately after the meeting discussing Twitter, we all went back to our desks and added everyone as friends. It was kind of neat, in that I found one person, looked through their followers, found some more, and pretty quickly had everyone in our office who’s on Twitter. (And not just peers, but our CEO and CTO.) Others presumably had the same idea. My follow counts doubled in about 10 minutes. (I seriously worry that Twitter is going to flag us as spammers.)
A few people mentioned that they still don’t get Twitter. And it occurred to me that it’s kind of like blogging: I’ve been doing it for a long time, and yet I’m still at a loss for what, precisely, the point is. I think of a Twitter as sort of SMS meets blogs: really short status updates. But not, “I’m folding laundry now” status updates: things that your friends might conceivably care about.
I never liked the term “followers,” nor was I too keen on “tweet” or any of its conjugates. Tweeting sounds ridiculous, and makes the action sound even more frivilous than it is. “Followers” are people who blindly immitate you. Kim Jong-Il has followers (albeit mostly coerced). I want to have friends, not followers. I can’t bring myself to say, “I have 24 followers.”
I find Twitter way too complex. For something that’s just 140-character blobs of text, what is the deal with TweetDeck? There are 14 icons across the top, three panes, and it’s practically filling one of my monitors. Plus, whenever anyone posts, it makes the type of sound I would expect to hear if I was being beamed up into a UFO, which startles me every single time it happens. (The TweetDeck noise, that is.)
They have a simple web API, so I’m giving serious thought to writing a little script (Ruby!) that will just pull in new data once a minute and display it in a terminal window. That’s all I want. A simple little interface. TweetDeck is way too intense. I used Syrinx previously on the Mac, but it was really wide. Another program (Twitterific maybe?) gave no option but to always sit on top of your other windows, which doesn’t work well when you have a job and are expected to occasionally do some work there.
People use Twitter in various ways. Most of the people I follow are friends, and they post little notes. It’s neat having coworkers doing it, because it sort of gives me a sense of what people I don’t interact with everyday are up to. There are also a lot of ‘power users’ I follow. The problem is that I’m interested in maybe 10% of what they post. I don’t want to stop following them and miss out on the good 10%, but I don’t want to have to deal with the 90%, either. I do think I should stop following a few, like news companies (cool for a while, but posting way too frequently) and snoopdogg. (Hilarious for a day, then really tiresome.)
The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of a little Ruby script. It’d be a good way to learn the API, and an even better way to master Ruby. Plus, when I eventually had the free time, I could play with XCode and build a slick GUI around it, keeping it a minimalistic tool. It kind of ties into my long-standing desire to just have a little textbox (think IRC) that would just scroll various “events” that I might care about. I think I’d put in e-mails to my personal mailboxes, too.