I suspect that some people might struggle with me calling Twitter a tool, but that’s what it is. For me it certainly fits into the category of “anything used as a means of accomplishing a task or purpose”.
What purpose does Twitter help me accomplish?
The main purpose it help me accomplish is the massively important one of social connections and network building. The people that Twitter allows me to interact with are between 10 and 1000 miles away from where I am sitting. I’m not working on a project with these people so I have no need to be in regular contact. But there is real value in interacting.
There are real gems in the information that people share. My organisation, like many others, has a very string informal structure made up of many loosely coupled networks of people all interacting to get things achieved. Twitter is absolutely fabulous for this. I know who is connecting with who, I see who is interacting with who, I get to interact.
Twitter has become my virtual coffee machine, or my virtual office foyer. It’s the place where I catch-up with people.
The problem I have with Twitter is explaining this to other people. This video has helped some people get their head around it, but to be honest, it’s one of these things that you have to see.
I’m not sure I would use Twitter if it wasn’t for a client tool keeping me interested. My current tool is twhirl.
Not really sure how I settled upon twhirl, but I’m very pleased that I did. It has a few foibles but does what I need it to do.
A browser based interface is OK, but it requires you to go there, it requires you to go and to see. If something is expecting me to go and look then it will be disappointed, it doesn’t really matter what it is. A client based tool goes and does the looking for me and tells me when there is something worth looking at. It also means that I can write my own tweets in a micro-blog manner with the minimum of disruption.