In December I signed up for Twitter. I’d
been meaning to do it for a while, but hadn’t, because a) I’m not really an
early adopter and b) I wasn’t sure where another social network fit into my
schedule, which already has Facebook,
Flickr and mediaPRO.

But I believe in Rex Hammock’s philosophy of experimenting in
new forms of media
, so it had been on my list of things I needed to do. And
I get all the potential value, from both the marketing and journalistic
perspectives, among others.

The catalyst was a lunch I had with
Michael Biggerstaff and Marcus Grimm at Nxtbook
Media
. They were really into Twitter at the time, and said it was a quicker
form of communication than blogging, and that you’re more likely to update
because the "tweets" have to be quick hits.

So I signed up and built a network.

Some of the people I follow are really
good. Dan McCarthy (@danielmccarthy), Jeff Klein (@jeffreysklein), Kurt Andersen
(@kbandersen), who does a great job of adding personal but business-relevant
touches), Rachel Sklar (@rachelsklar), and Rex (@r) himself come to mind.  So do Ted Bahr (@tedbahr), Eric Gervase
(@egervase) and Red 7’s own Loree Stark (@loreestark). Harry McCracken (@harrymccracken),
Scott Karp (@scottkarp) and Dylan Stableford (@stableford) are good. Gawker
(@gawker) does a great job.

FOLIO: (twitter.com/foliomag) and Audience
Development (twitter.com/auddevmag) both signed up recently.

Someone asked me last week why I
Twitter, and why FOLIO: and Audience Development Twitter, and I said I thought
the value was thought leadership, not traffic. If you build a network of
influential people, and put out brief and thoughtful tweets (not always linking
to something), there’s real value.

I have just under 100 followers and I
follow about the same amount of people.

And here’s the way I feel about Twitter
right now:

  • The noise level is out of
    control. It’s not a conversation, it’s a cacophony. It’s like a cocktail party
    from hell, where everyone is shouting at the same time, and someone also jacked
    up Led Zeppelin in the other room.
  • If social media is a
    conversation, it’s barely there on Twitter. People overwhelmingly tweet at each
    other. Apparently, conversation is rarely needed or desired. Twitter is,
    ironically, a one-way communication vehicle in a medium that is supposed to be
    social.
  • People who put up five, six, 10
    tweets in a few minutes, all with links to the event they’re at, or worse, to
    their promotional stuff, are annoying. I probably couldn’t say what exactly
    Twitter is supposed to do, but I can tell you, from my perspective, that’s not
    it.
  • Twitter does a spotty job
    technically. Every few days, a bunch of people report they lost all the tweets
    they posted that day.
  • Twitter does a poor job
    controlling spamming and bogus accounts. If you’re active at all, you get hit
    with "follow" requests that are spurious, completely unrelated, sketchy, and
    you have to check out the profile to tell what the hell they are.

All these
complaints aside, I check Twitter several times a day and tweet every day, and
as I mentioned, some of the people in my network really get it and bring
insight, perspective and inspiration.