The debate on the usefulness of Twitter is ongoing and whether it could serve communication and promotion efforts at big research institutions in one way or another. I am still befuddled what Twitter could offer that email and text messaging are not doing already.
I came across the post “Nine Ways to Use Twitter” by John C. Dvorak who explains why he thinks Twitter is a valuable service. Some of his arguments may be interesting to some of you. Surprisingly, he concludes that there may be nothing to get from Twitter, unless one invents a use, which – I guess – leaves all options open for further discussions.
Some of Dvorak’s use cases:
- Tweeting about an event: something solitary is turned into an interactive, shared experience.
- Spread of breaking news updates/announcements/ public address system: “when a major event happens, often a Twitterer will be there tweeting about it on the spot”.
- Contact multiple people who work within an organization using the mobile service feature to easily broadcast a quick message to all of them.
- Easy feedback mechanism for writings etc.
- Asking and answering questions is easier than with e-mail, almost instantaneous
- Poll people/crowd-sourcing information/audience voting
2 thoughts on “Twitter – a powerful platform?”
I can imagine one use of twitter that may be useful to researchers. At a conference (like the society for neuroscience conf) it’s really helpful to tweet sessions so people at the conference can switch sesssions, or people at the conference and those who didn’t attend, feel a bit more like they were at the event. From VH’s perspective, were researchers tweeting (perhaps grad students and postdocs are…) we could create a feed on the portal for these major conferences. Totally hypothetical thoughts btw, there are many assumptions embedded in the scenario mentioned above!
Interesting blog re advantage of Twitter compared to symmetric ‘friending’ platforms such as Facebook: http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/05/goodreads-vs-twitter-asymmetric-follow.html
Asymmetric follow is why I use Twitter regularly and Facebook much less often. With Twitter’s model, I can find people I’m interested in, whether or not they know me, and learn about them and their lives and thoughts. Others can include me in their lists. You become “friends” with complete strangers over time, by communicating with them (responding with @messages for example), perhaps by mutual following. In fact, Twitter’s wonderful system of @ messages means that anyone can address me – and so I find myself having conversations with complete strangers as well. I actually follow my @ messages more faithfully than I do my planned Follow list.
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