Effectiveness of Twitter

Recently on a locally focused .NET developer mailing list a participant (Greg Keogh) posted an item about his recent experiments with twitter and how he is now deleting his user account. This spawned a little bit of discussion on the mailing list both for and against twitter.

To give you some context Greg started using Twitter at Code Camp Oz when many of the other attendees were participating in a background conversation about the content of the presentations as well have having a bit of fun.

One of the criticisms often levelled at any mass communication format (blogs, twitter, forums, newsgroups) is that the signal to noise ratio is so more that it is ineffective. I can see a point to a degree, if I added up the total amount of data flowing towards me out of something like Twitter vs. what I actually find useful then that number would rapidly approach zero. But maybe that is the wrong equation?

Personally, I don’t use twitter every day, and in the rare occasions that I do use it I usually have one of the following agendas:

  1. I just want to vent.
  2. I want to ask a question of people I know watch Twitter.
  3. Watch for the response from #2.
  4. I’m bored, entertain me.

It is really #2 which is the most important. I’m not on Twitter because I want to tell the world whether my coffee is good or not, I’m on it because it is the appropriate medium to reach some people with low priority broadcast messages.

The reality is that if you use Twitter like I do, the signal to noise ratio is pretty good. I’m using it on my terms and I’m not letting it run my life.


2 thoughts on “Effectiveness of Twitter

  1. Darren Neimke

    Yeah, I’m using it pretty much the same way as you these days Mitch… although to be honest, I’m probably moving towards not finding it useful at all. I mean, when you use it that irregularly, you might as well just email (or phone) people to ask them questions.

  2. Mitch Denny

    Hi Darren,

    Not sure about that. I don’t use it regularly, but I randomly looked at it whilst on holiday and a customer wanted to know where a document was and contacted me via Twitter .. but they couldn’t get me via my mobile because of reception problems.

    So its just another communication channel really.

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