Sunday, April 12, 2009

What Are You Doing?

I’ve been playing around with Twitter lately, and for me, the jury is still out as to its usefulness.

I really love the whole concept of it. In theory, it’s a great way to stay informed, meet people, and to receive and pump out updates on anything you may be interested in.

In reality, once you start following a few people, there’s so many updates flowing that it becomes hard to follow anyone without a third party app like Tweetdeck. Unless you’re famous, you have to follow to be followed, and I’ve been playing nice, but you reach a point where you’re so inundated by updates from Internet marketers and motivational speakers that it becomes untenable.

I still haven’t decided yet if the whole experiment is worth loading another processor munching, profile saving app on any of my machines, so for now I’ve taken a few baby steps towards streamlining the experience of trying to use Twitter in its plain vanilla form.

First things first: I’ve now seen enough updates from everyone I follow to start weeding them out. If all you do is post about business opportunities, or how I can gain a gazillion followers overnight, you’re gone. If your profile starts with “My mission is to empower and educate you”, gone.

You get the picture. I’ll probably lose a few followers myself, but it will be worth it. Now, what to do with the rest?

This was actually pretty simple. I added a “Twitter Feeds” folder to Google Reader and populated it with the RSS feeds from the Twitter profile page of the people I’m most interested in. I already have the Reader gadget on my iGoogle page, so the ten most recent posts from this small subset of people are always right there. Not as functional or elegant a solution as adding Tweetdeck or Twhirl, but it gets the job done.

If I decide to stick with it, I’ll bite the bullet and download something, but not until I’ve done a little more research. Twitter itself seems a bit unstable, running slow and sometimes disappearing completely. I know these problems are caused by the incredible load on the service at times, but there are other painful little glitches that can’t be blamed on traffic. Sometimes I don’t see updates from people that I follow, unless I drop them and re add them, and sometimes the tabs and the search box work, and sometimes they don’t.

The biggest problem I have with Twitter though, is the question above the update box.

Every time I see that “What are you doing?” caption, I hear the voices of Brad and Chad in my head, and I don’t know if I can deal with that in a long term relationship…

You be the judge:

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