Friday, 20 March 2009

The art and dangers of twittering

Shortly after finally joining Twitter myself, I read this Time article by Lev Grossman. It made me increasingly concerned about how I would find the time to keep updating and take part in yet another online forum. Would I also soon be totally addicted and unable to kick the habit, which in my present, busy as it is, lifestyle is far from wise?

No need for concern, though, at least so far. I still haven't got the slightest clue what I'm supposed to do there. I'm following two people and one group of people, and my first attempts of tweets have probably made me come across just as the ugly duckling in the Disney animation. You remember the scene where the ducklings hatch, and after the genuine cute yellow ducklings have made there presence heard by quacking after one another - beautifully, in exactly the same proper-duck style, out comes the white ugly one proudly letting out his first sound to become part of the brood, but poor thing only manages to produce a low out-of-tune caw that startles and puts off the rest of the duck family. I expect my first tweets have had this same effect on the 'genuine tweeting in-crowd' - if they even have been noticed. Oh well, just as with any online environment, it does take some time to get initiated in the appropriate culture.

Come to think of it, I experienced the same process with the new feature of Facebook, where people were first able to comment on their friends' status updates. When I received the first ever of those comments, I was rather surprised at first, but somehow pleased at the same time - somebody had reacted to me revealing my mood or some (rather trivial!) occurrence of my daily existence. Now I truly enjoy the 'X many people like this' thumbs-up signs after my status updates - so much so that it has made me update my Facebook status more frequently than I used to, and also made me type my instant reactions to my friends' statuses.

Oh, but this process has just reminded me of a Finnish tweet I did see the other day, which led me to this website, where the guy has visualised the different stages of adopting social media. A rough translation in English would be (from bottom up): fear/apprehension, trial, motivation, active use, understanding, love. Well put, I think, although the English comment underneath sounds a bit like me at this stage! I seem to have an inherent, initial scepticism about any new net application, but some of them do manage to gradually to grow on me and reveal their usefulness in unexpected ways. Let's see if the meaning of Twitter will soon crystallise for me! Probably my next step should be to find many more interesting people to 'follow'.

Photo: Twitter Pack by carrotcreative on Flickr

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