It’s now almost a year since I decided to try using Twitter, specifically to post about Ogre development work I’m doing and other Ogre-related things (well, most of the time anyway). Seeing as I totally deride the concept that it’s a good thing to share the inconsequential, tedious minutae of your life with the internet and view it as the absolute pinnacle of sad, narcissistic behaviour, joining Twitter was a hard sell. After all, at least on a blog you have to write enough in a post to naturally filter out anything that’s not worth saying (in theory), while Twitter seemingly encouraged you to share whatever crossed your mind during the day. In the end my reason for joining was that there tended to be things large and small that happened in and around Ogre that many people might like to know about, and these things didn’t always warrant a blog post, a news article on ogre3d.org or even a forum post. Provided I stuck to that raison d’etre, perhaps it could have value.
And in fact, it’s actually been very useful. I’ve almost stopped blogging about Ogre work unless there’s a significant event or something I feel needs greater analysis, because my Twitter feed is a better way to get the word out about things. It’s also been useful to get feedback on certain technical issues and to keep up to date with what other people are doing. Specifically, I tend to only follow people who post about things I’m interested in, rather than just because I know them.
And this tends to work well - I’ve found that Twitter users, or at least the ones I follow, in general tend to automatically filter their content to things that are actually interesting. This is in contrast to Facebook, which is so chock full of the utterly banal that I lose the will to live every time I try to catch up with the feed - there are usually some things in there I’d genuinely be interested in, but it’s so full of crap I can hardly face spending the time to find it. Much of that is due to its insistence that I’m somehow interested in the events of all the Facebook games people are playing, when in fact I couldn’t give a flying toss what new fish someone has just unlocked in some ridiculous mini-game. I’m close to just deleting my account and forgetting all about it - if you want to be social, grab a coffee / drink with me sometime or something - at least then you’re unlikely to keep interrupting to tell me what your level is in FarmVille.
Computer systems are tools, and can be used for good or ill. I’ve come across lots of people that use Twitter in a genuinely useful and non-intrusive way, and I try to do the same, and as such it’s made a firm place for itself in my day - something I would not have taken for granted when I started using it.