Do You Twitter?


As part of my work being the Digital Media Evangelist for O'Reilly, I'm always on the lookout for new ways to communicate. We've recently been discussing Twitter, and its potential usefulness in community building.

I had initially resisted adding another technology "tool" to my list of networks. I seem to stay busy enough maintaining this blog, writing for O'Reilly, keeping an eye on our Flickr Public Group, answering email, and staying available on IM. But at the same time, I didn't want to be close-minded about a potentially effective networking tool just because I was busy. So I just added a Twitter account (Derrick Story) and will monitor it on my iPhone.

But I'm curious about what you think. The members of this virtual camera club are such a good reality check for me. You are obviously techno saavy, but as a group, don't seem obsessed with technology for its own sake. So what's your take on Twitter? Is it something we could use? Or should it be left to the cutting-edge technologists?

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In my opinion Twitter is just a lot of noise, no substance. Especially with a group of people focused on photography, where an image can say more than a thousand words, the limit of a tweet is way too limiting. I don't like 'em. But I never understood SMS either, except for the "Honey, I'm late" type messages, so maybe I'm really out of the loop.

By the way, I don't think this message is particularly long, but with 466 characters, it is already about 4 tweets.

Twitter is a great resource, so long as you do not follow people who post blather. I follow TWIP and other photography podcasters on Twitter, and like seeing what photographers are reading, thinking, etc...

Again, it depends on who you follow. I quickly "unfollow" people who post nothing but what they ate 5 minutes ago.

ha! I knew it was a matter of time until you found Twitter, Derrick! i happen to LOVE Twitter, and am a self confessed Twitterhollic. I think that its so great, and will be quick to follow you ASAP. :) (i'm @Macluvaosx, jsyn)

I also have to dissagree with you fully, Maarten. First of all, i don't know how you can see Twitter not having any substance. And for a sole photographer, Twitter may seem usless, but it is certainly not. You have to learn to use your tools, and Twitter is a wonderful one. I guess this is all opinion, but let me tell you my friend, you are missing out on a lot.

I'm a semi-habitual Twitter user and have recently discovered snap tweet (, a nice intersection of Twitter and Flickr that allows photographers to conveniently tweet about and send followers to their pics.

What is with this "connectivity" obsession?

I have e-mail, a telephone and time to work without distractions.

I think Twitter is a great tool to get thoughts and ideas out quickly. It takes very little time to quickly send out information that your followers might find of interest.

I have a Twitter client running all the time on my desktop and it pops up when something new comes in, and I can quickly read the Tweet. So much faster than checking and reading email.

I think Twitter is another flash in the pan that'll be immensely popular for the next 18 months or so, then burn itself out as people get bored with it (similar to what's starting to happen with Facebook and MySpace now). It's basically just the equivalent of a blog having an RSS feed - nothing really new.

However it's not like there are any negatives to it, as long as you don't mind losing even more of your free time to making updates, Derrick.

I adore twitter... it's a far more personal communications tool, it facilitates relationships and community in ways nothing else has for me.

Its stupid simplicity is at the heart of its value... it encourages sharing life and links and conversation at a manageable speed. But part of its value is in its users... twitter folk tend to care about twitter folk, and invest time in making it work, which is where the value is.

So the technology itself isn't what's interesting, it's the community that has happened uniquely on twitter.

I'm @jeremey (yes, three e's).

Is it true that people pay you after you have so many followers on Twitter?

I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.