I am a relatively recent convert to Twitter and am hooked on a number of levels. These are primarily business-driven, in the hard-nosed sense that I acquire information from others and disseminate things of my own – the publication of a new article, for example – in seconds.
As a source of information, it is unbeatable for the pithy summaries which the medium enforces and which, in the hands of a good summariser, can keep you up to date even if you do not read the majority of the articles linked from the tweets. I depend (in no particular order) on Rob Robinson http://twitter.com/complexd, Charles Christian http://twitter.com/ChristianUncut, Integreon http://twitter.com/IntegreonEDD, Ron Friedmann http://twitter.com/ronfriedmann, The PosseList http://twitter.com/PosseList and Craig Carpenter http://twitter.com/craigrcarpenter amongst others to pull in interesting stuff about and beyond their own immediate areas of special interest.
As a means of distributing information, it is quicker and easier than any other medium (c.f. the production and distribution of press releases with all the baggage of corporate style and conventional verbiage which they have). I started using Twitter at the beginning of September, and page views on my blog were up in September, October and November, attributable at least in part to the fact that I can notify people about them instantly with the addition of 60 seconds’ extra work.
Twitter brings too a sense of community – that is a much-abused word which has been hi-jacked by the touchy-feely, focus-grouped, big-tented garbage-mongers, but I use it in its proper sense of a group (or strictly groups since Twitter accommodates disparate but overlapping circles) with one or more common interests. Most of those mentioned above are people whom I have actually met only once or twice but with whom I have what feels like a close connection through the daily inter-action on Twitter.
It is not all solemn exchange of worthy references – there is banter and pseudo-chat (“pseudo” in the sense that hours may elapse between exchanges) either sprung from a tweet or appearing from the air and disappearing as quickly. The spirit is similar to that of radio hams, truckers or fighter pilots, who did not need formal introductions and an agenda to start up a snatch of conversation.
The enforced compression and the lightweight medium can generate quick repartee, some of which may be useful as well as amusing. The Posse List put up a tweet yesterday about a new invention consisting of weighing scales which broadcast your weight to all your followers (it is the technology we admire here, not the purpose, which in this case is quite beyond me). The Posse List tweet read “French company launches scales that tweet your weight”. Ron Friedmann of Integreon was back almost at once with “Rather than scale that tweets weight, we need scale that weighs tweets 🙂 Tweet weights – scores – could help with info deluge?” which is not only quite clever in terms of its verbal dexterity but actually might become a requirement as Twitter volumes grow. Suppose you follow someone for his valuable insights into ediscovery but could do without his regular ruminations on his football team, mistress or recurring illnesses. A cross-over between Twitter and the search technology common in ediscovery or spam filtering could allow you to weed out the dross – the “scale which weighs tweets” as Ron Friedmann put it. I feel rather remorseful about my contribution to this discussion, which was to give Ron an approval weighting of only 5 out of 10 for his bright idea.
A search in Twitter for “e-Discovery”, “ediscovery” or “#ediscovery” inevitably produces many new tweets daily. Only a handful of us include the word “e-disclosure” and its variants. Those who decided, eleven years ago, to give the concept a new name in the UK presumably hoped that a new label would somehow improve the process. They failed to spot a number of things, globalisation and Twitter among them. We are stuck with it, as with so much analogous crap from the last decade, and it would be good to get more people to tweet about #edisclosure and flag it as such – more useful than tweeting weights anyway.