Re: Twitter

Subject: Re: Twitter
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 2009 08:49:20 +0200

I believe the primary difficulty this thread has been dealing with is
that the means by which we are informed are changing rapidly. The
mainstream media has been showing itself to be incredibly biased in
many ways, and more people today believe they are unable to rely upon
traditional journalism for either balance or accuracy, let alone for
the myriad interests we may have.

However, if we are actually interested enough in trying to keep up
with the incredible flow of information out there, it takes a
substantial commitment of time and effort.

For example, I do have a wide variety of interests--so in addition to
various news sites I read each day, I subscribe to RSS updates from
many sources--most days, I skim well over a thousand messages to
narrow down to those I want to read in detail...and, quite often, to
explore the most tantalizing ones much more thoroughly.

In addition, I am subscribed to about twenty email newsgroups, some of
which I follow regularly, some more sporadically, depending upon the
interest area involved...and I moderate two such groups (one involving
diabetic neuropathy, as it happens--if you, a friend or loved one has
neuropathy, feel free to contact me off list).

With any new resource such as Twitter, we must determine for ourselves
the "signal to noise ratio" involved, and whether it seems worth our
while to add the time and effort of getting fully up to speed with it.
Will the effort likely be rewarded either to usefully supplement what
we have been doing, or will that time and effort take away from other
expenditures that may in fact be more valuable?

There is also a serious argument to be made that we can often profit
from reducing our distractions. There is a fairly sizable movement to
more voluntary simplicity in many aspects of our lives, allowing us to
have increased time for contemplation and sufficient energy for
creativity. One minor example-- I use a rather minimalist interface to
Gmail called "Helvetimail"--and the companion "Helvetireader" for
Google Reader. I find the simplicity and lack of visual clutter to be
helpful with both of them.

Now, if I had less time on my hands, I could not keep up with this
volume of information each day. Clearly, I would have to cut back, again, what would Twitter add to this scenario to
make it worth the time and effort?

All of that said, today I will establish a new account and begin
examining it...and in a month or so, I will be happy to give the
results as I discover whether or not it seems to be a useful addition.


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